The youngest of 4 children, Christina was born in London on Dec. 5, 1830. Homeschooled, she was fluent in Italian and English and could read French, Latin and German. She is said to have been abused by her father, Gabriele Rossetti, who was an Italian poet and a political asylum seeker from Naples. At 14 Rossetti suffered a nervous breakdown which was followed by depression. She became interested in in the Anglo-Catholic movement with her mother and sister, that was part of the Church of England. In her late teens, Rossetti became engaged to painter James Collinson, but didn't marry because he reverted to Catholicism.