Christina loved the works of Keats, Scott, Ann Radcliffe, but also the influence of Dante, Petrarch and other Italian writers filled the Rossetti house and was to have a deep impact on her writing. Their house was frequented by Italian scholars, artists and revolutionaries and within walking distance from Madam Tussauds, London Zoo and Regent's Park, which she visited regularly as all children in London.
Around 1840 the family had major economic difficulties due to the physical and mental deterioration of her father, who had to leave his professorship at King's College; he lived another 11 years, but suffering from depression. The mother Frances began teaching to support the family, Maria Francesca went to work as a governess, and William worked for the Excise office, while Gabriel was at Art school. At that time Christina lived at home, in conditions of increasing isolation. During this period she, her mother and sister became interested in the Anglo-Catholic movement, which was part of the Anglican Church.
Religious devotion played a major role in Christina'a life: at just 18 she became engaged with the painter James Collinson, the first of her three suitors, but the relationship ended because the latter returned to being a Catholic. Then she was in a sentimental relation to the linguist Charles Cayley, but did not marry him, again for religious reasons. The third proposal came from painter John Brett, whom she also refused. Christina posed for many of the most famous paintings of her brother Dante Gabriel: in 1848 she was the model for The Girlhood of Mary Virgin, the next year again for Ecce Ancilla Domini.
Between 1859 and 1870 she was a volunteer at St. Mary Magdalene "house of charity" in Highgate, a refuge for former prostitutes and her famous "Goblin Market" may have been inspired by the "fallen women" who she had met there, a poem that shared the themes of temptation, sin and redemption through suffering with Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In 1872 Christina was diagnosed with Graves' disease, in. In 1893, she was struck by breast cancer, the tumor was removed, but returned in September 1894. She died in Bloomsbury on December 29, 1894 and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.