Pre-Raphaelites and Shakespeare: Twelfth Night

I am beginning a series of posts that focuses on Pre-Raphaelite representations of Shakespeare’s works.  I felt the perfect painting to start with is Walter Howell Deverell’s Twelfth Night, as it is one of the earliest Pre-Raphaelite pictures based upon a Shakespearian play and also happens to be the first painting that includes Elizabeth Siddal…
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On this day in 1862

On February 11, 1862, Elizabeth Siddal died of an overdose of Laudanum.   This was a tragic end to a very sad period of her life.   She and her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti,  had suffered the birth of a stillborn daughter and Lizzie was in the throes of grief and depression.  She was also in…
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William Michael Rossetti on Elizabeth Siddal

I’ve also posted this at LizzieSiddal.com, so if you are subscribed to both through RSS then I apologize for the repetition: William Michael Rossetti was the brother of Dante Gabriel and an original member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Read his contributions to the Pre-Raphaelite journal The Germ here. He was considered a “secretary of the…
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Pippa Passes

Elizabeth Siddal, discovered in a millinery shop, was not content to be merely an artist’s model.  She could have been satisfied with her role as the lofty muse to Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but instead chose to pursue inspirations and desires of her own. In an era where women were not encouraged to achieve anything other…
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Happy Birthday Elizabeth Siddal!

On July 25, 1829 Elizabeth Siddal was born! Lizzie is the original Pre-Raphaelite “Stunner”. Here’s a closer detail of Lizzie as Ophelia: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whom Lizzie later married, also painted Lizzie as Ophelia: What I found most interesting is Lizzie’s own self portrait.  She does not glamorize herself or enhance her beauty in any…
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St. George and the Princess Sabra

St. George and the Princess Sabra was painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1862.  This was the last work that his wife, Lizzie Siddal,  posed for before her death.  I find myself searching her face, as if it were a photograph, looking for signs of what was to occur days later:  her overdose of laudanum….
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Love and Hate

I chose this poem because I find it to be one of  the most expressive of Elizabeth Siddal’s poems. The bitterness is palpable. With all the force of “blasts of heaven to take thee down”, Siddal unleashes her rage. I have no doubt that this poem finds its roots in the relationship between Lizzie and…
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New image added to LizzieSiddal.com

Drawn by Elizabeth Siddal, At the Milliners is privately owned. For security reasons, the owner would prefer to remain anonymous. I am grateful that they have so graciously shared this image with LizzieSiddal.com. The owner did have this to say: The attributed title, “At the Milliner’s,” is most likely incorrect. That name was given because…
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Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus

Based on Shakespeare’s Two Gentleman of Verona, this was one of William Holman Hunt’s most successful paintings. Lizzie Siddal, one of my favorite Pre-Raphaelite models, modeled for Sylvia. We can not see her features in this image, though.  Hunt repainted them after criticism from John Ruskin. Hunt painted this piece outdoors in the Surrey countryside…
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Early Death

Since I’m celebrating the fifth anniversary of LizzieSiddal.com this week, I’ve chosen one of her poems as this week’s feature. Early Death is a particularly poignant title for a poem, given Lizzie’s own untimely death from an overdose of Laudanum. Early Death by Elizabeth Siddal Oh grieve not with thy bitter tears The life that…
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Five Years Ago Today

Five years ago today, I started LizzieSiddal.com. I never imagined that my interest in Elizabeth Siddal would lead to such a fun project. I’ve met some fascinating people and am so grateful to all of those who have helped shape the site into what it has become. The website means so much to me and…
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Ophelia/Millais Necklace

I recently purchased this necklace on etsy.com.  Handcrafted by Jess Contreras, it features Ophelia which was painted by John Everett Millais, modelled by Elizabeth Siddal.   The photos don’t do it justice.  This is a beautiful piece and arrived in an adorable little silver box.  Here’s a link to his etsy shop, but he also has…
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Beata Beatrix

Dante Gabriel Rossetti painted Beata Beatrix as a tribute after the death of his wife Elizabeth Siddal. DGR had always idolized Dante, the author of Vita Nuova. In Vita Nuova, Beatrice is Dante’s unrequited love. In Beata Beatrix, Rossetti painted Elizabeth Siddal as Beatrice, merging his love and Dante’s into one. Rossetti painted several versions…
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Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites

Ophelia is a captivating character, one that inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian artists. For those unfamiliar with Ophelia, she is Hamlet’s innocent  young love interest in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays (Hamlet). Hamlet loved Ophelia – but after his meeting with the ghost of his father (Act I) he feels compelled…
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New Poem Explores Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia

The tale of Lizzie Siddal posing as Ophelia in the famous Millais painting is legendary.  I wanted to share with you all a beautiful poem that is inspired by Lizzie’s experience posing for the painting.  It is a lovely poem, written by Carla Martin-Wood, aka “Angel” at The Well-Read Head (which I will be adding…
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Artist’s Model Sue Tilley

Sue Tilley appears in Lucian Freud’s painting Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (a painting that recently sold for $33.6 million). Obviously, this site is devoted to artist’s models who lived mainly in the Victorian era. But Tilley gives unique insight into the experience of modeling, having posed for long periods for many months. The Art & Architecture…
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True Love

True Love, by Elizabeth Siddal Farewell, Earl Richard, Tender and brave; Kneeling I kiss The dust from thy grave. Pray for me, Richard, Lying alone With hands pleading earnestly, All in white stone. Soon must I leave thee This sweet summer tide; That other is waiting To claim his pale bride. Soon I’ll return to…
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A Valentine

Written by Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Elizabeth Siddal A VALENTINE Yesterday was St. Valentine. Thought you at all, dear dove divine, Upon the beard in sorry trim And rueful countenance of him, That Orson who’s your valentine? He daubed, you know, as usual. The stick would slip, then brush would fall: Yet daubed he till…
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The Portrait

The Portrait, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (painting shown is Regina Cordium, painted by Rossetti in 1860. Model is Elizabeth Siddal – painted shortly after their marriage) This is her picture as she was: It seems a thing to wonder on, As though mine image in the glass Should tarry when myself am gone. I gaze…
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