Celebrating Shakespeare

Happy Birthday to William Shakespeare, born on this day in 1564.  Today is also the anniversary of the Bard’s death.  Dare I say it?  Dying on your birthday is a dramatically Shakespearean thing to do. When a young group of artists founded the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848 they drew up a list of ‘Immortals’, made…
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Celebrating Elizabeth Siddal

On this day in 1829, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall was born (she dropped a letter L from her name when she became an artist).  I write about her frequently on this site; she’s a woman I admire immensely.  You can visit my other site, LizzieSiddal.com to see a timeline of her life, view her paintings, and…
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Lizzie Siddal: Love and Hate

Many people hear about Elizabeth Siddal through dramatic anecdotes of her life, such as the serious illness she suffered as a result of  posing in a bathtub for Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia (above). In 1860 she married artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and died a mere two years later of a laudanum overdose.  The fact…
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What shapes our perception of Elizabeth Siddal?

 For those of us who admire Pre-Raphaelite art, Elizabeth Siddal is a familiar face.  Her story is repeated often and frequently embellished.  When beginning to research the life of Elizabeth Siddal, readers will invariably encounter this description of her written by poet William Allingham in his diary: “Short, sad, and strange her life; it must…
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Dim Phantoms

Elizabeth Siddal, drawb by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

On this day in 1862, Elizabeth Siddal died.  In many accounts of her, you will see her death described as suicide.  Whether intentional or not, she lost her life due to an overdose of Laudanum.   You can read a transcript of the inquest here. The hills grow darker to my sight And thoughts begin…
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Exploring Rossetti’s Home

“I was ushered into one of the prettiest and most curiously furnished old-fashioned parlours that I had ever seen. Mirrors and looking-glasses of all shapes, sizes and design lined the walls. Whichever way I looked I saw myself gazing at myself.”–Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his circle (Cheyne walk life), Henry Treffry Dunn. Henry…
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Regina Cordium (Queen of Hearts)

In 1859, Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Bocca Baciata and it was a radical change in style. Afterwards his work gravitated towards images of a single female, quite often depicted from the bust up and surrounded by flowers, jewelry and other symbolic objects. Why the change? In the late 1850’s Rossetti had definitely matured as an…
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The Worst Man in London

  Seven years after her death, the coffin of Elizabeth Siddal was exhumed so that her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, could publish the poetry he had buried with her. It happened in secret, yet eventually, the deed came to be known and has added a macabre tinge to the tale of Elizabeth Siddal.  Rossetti was…
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Tennyson’s ‘Lady Clare’

“He does not love me for my birth, Nor for my lands so broad and fair; He loves me for my own true worth, And that is well,” said Lady Clare. Published in 1842, Lady Clare is a romantic ballad by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  Exploring issues of class, marriage and honesty, Lady Clare is the…
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MUSE: A new poetry collection by Dawn Marie Kresan

Elizabeth Siddal still continues to inspire. Dawn Marie Kresan explores multiple aspects of Siddal’s life and legacy in a newly-published poetry collection, Muse. I was unprepared for the depth of emotion Kresan’s work creates. Her expertly crafted poems touch upon Lizzie’s discovery and role as muse to the Pre-Raphaelites.  Several poems include moments of Lizzie’s…
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Lizzie Siddal: A New Play by Jeremy Green

Copperhead Productions and Peter Huntley Productions present THE WORLD PREMIERE OF LIZZIE SIDDAL A NEW PLAY BY JEREMY GREEN AT THE ARCOLA THEATRE from Wednesday 20 November – Saturday 21 December 2013 The Victorian art world. ‘To yearn for something – doesn’t that make life more intense?’ Lizzie Siddal, a new play about the woman…
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Ophelia update at LizzieSiddal.com

I’ve just updated the Ophelia page at LizzieSiddal.com.  I’ve transcribed text relating to Ophelia from The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais.  I have more updates planned over the weekend, but for now, Ophelia has happily dominated my evening.

A discussion of Pre-Raphaelite women on BBC Radio 4

Women’s Hour visits the Pre-Raphaelite exhibit at the Tate to discuss the female Pre-Raphaelite artists.  I am pleased with the the attention paid to Elizabeth Siddal. In particular, her illustration of The Lady of Shalott is given a nice bit of attention.  They also talk about Rosa Brett, Jane Burden Morris and May Morris.  You can…
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Delightful! The Rossettis as cartoon characters

You know I love the Rossetti family, but I have never thought of them as adorable before.  Until I saw the illustrations of Chiara Moriconi, who captures the Rossetti clan delightfully. Here’s a link to the Rossetti album on Facebook, and a wonderful video that introduces members of Rossetti’s circle via chiaramoriconi.com.  

Pre-Raphaelite Marriages: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal

I’ve spent years reading about the relationship between Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal.  One thing I’ve noticed through comments and emails I receive at lizziesiddal.com is that there are a lot of people who are so sympathetic towards Lizzie that they passionately hate Rossetti.  When you learn about people, I think a story forms…
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