Thank you, Lizzie Siddal

Photograph of Elizabeth Siddal

Today marks the birth of the woman who has had a deep and lasting influence on my life. Despite never actually meeting her, I know her face as well as my own. Through her art, poetry, and the Pre-Raphaelite works she appears in, Elizabeth Siddal has the power to captivate. The story of her life … Read more

Women of the Pre-Raphaelite Circle

Christina Rossetti Sister of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti and critic William Michael Rossetti. A talented poet in her own right, Christina can be seen in several early works of her brother’s, namely The Girlhood of the Virgin Mary and Ecce Ancilla Domini. Read more. Elizabeth Siddal Lizzie helped shape the concept of a “Pre-Raphaelite … Read more

Elizabeth Siddal

Pre-Raphaelite painter and poet Elizabeth Siddal began her career as an artist’s model  In 1849, Elizabeth Siddal was working at Mrs. Tozer’s hat shop when she was introduced to the artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. One anecdote states she was discovered by Walter Deverell, who painted her as Viola/Cesario in his painting Twelfth Night. Another tale says … Read more

A Wondrous Pursuit

Today is  LizzieSiddal.com‘s 16th anniversary! February 1st is a happy memory for me; it’s a day that represents an idea, the beginning of a pursuit that has become something more fulfilling than I could have imagined.  Compiling information about Lizzie Siddal online led to the birth of the blog you’re reading right now. I am … Read more

A #WombatFriday for Lizzie

Wednesday was Lizzie Siddal’s birthday and my sidekick Thaddeus Fern Diogenes Wombat (T-Dub to his friends), has decided to learn more about her. When learning about Lizzie, there’s a lot of misinformation to wade through, so I thought it best for T-Dub to read a personal account from someone who actually knew her. Georgiana Burne-Jones, … Read more

Finding Fireflies Amidst the Fireworks

When Waterhouse’s exquisite Hylas and the Nymphs was controversially removed from exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery recently, I wrote that it would be far more beneficial to promote images that empower women instead of removing a masterpiece to provoke a reaction. The painting has since been returned to display at the Gallery, and it was … Read more

“The best thing for being sad is to learn something.”

I’ve spent my entire adult life pursuing Pre-Raphaelite art and in doing so, I find that what I actually discover is myself.  Art and literature are crucial to my well-being, it provides a framework to draw upon when I need to process heavy emotion.  If daily life intervenes and I allow my pursuit of art … Read more

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Siddal!

The hills grow darker to my sight And thoughts begin to swim. (from Elizabeth Siddal’s poem At Last) Lizzie was discovered in millinery shop, a simple girl who was tall for the time and had a mass of red-gold hair. Her first sitting was for Walter Deverell’s Twelfth Night. On this day in 1829, Elizabeth Eleanor … Read more

The Faces of Elizabeth Siddal

Elizabeth Siddal made great contributions to the Pre-Raphaelite movement; she appears in a number of important works.  After posing for Deverell, Holman Hunt, Millais, and Rossetti she bravely moved to the other side of the easel and became a Pre-Raphaelite artist in her own right.   She has fascinated me throughout my adulthood and today I’d … Read more

On Suicide

Friends sometimes say it’s strange that I can simultaneously be optimistic and bubbly while also being captivated by art filled with melancholy and death.  I’m not sure how to answer except to say that I consciously choose to embrace life to the fullest and believe that my positive mindset is one of my strengths.  But I’ve also encountered death, pain, and trials in my life that have helped me understand how fleeting it is.  I want to experience it … Read more

In a World of Her Own

I’ve seen Pre-Raphaelite paintings of women dismissed as ‘languid’ or ‘vapid’ and many critics view them as sensual images created solely for the male gaze. That’s a fair argument, but I feel it’s a point of view that barely scratches the surface. To me, Pre-Raphaelite women are not shallow objects of beauty, but women focused … Read more

Elizabeth Siddal and Sylvia Plath are not your Suicide Girls

Saturday was the anniversary of Elizabeth Siddal’s death in 1862 and Sylvia Plath’s suicide in 1963. Both poets garner a lot of attention when February eleventh rolls around, and rightly so, because their lives and their work are important and should never be forgotten. Both poets have touched my life and I find it heartwarming … Read more

Halloween, Pre-Raphaelites, and Keats

I think Sir John Everett Millais’ painting Speak! Speak! is a perfect Pre-Raphaelite image to share on Halloween.   The ghost of a bride appears to her love.  He reaches out to her, urging her to speak. It’s a haunting image and the concept had been on the artist’s mind for forty years before he … Read more

Victorian Murder

In 1857, a twenty-two-year-old woman stood trial in Glasgow for murdering her former lover. It was the cause célèbre of the day and artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti declared her too beautiful to be executed whether she was guilty or not, saying, “you wouldn’t hang a stunner!” (‘Letters of DG Rossetti’, Atlantic Monthly vol. 77) Rossetti … Read more

The Diaries of William Allingham

If you’re interested in studying the Victorian era seriously, then diaries and letters are important.  At times I feel like a 21st-century snoop, devouring personal journals and private correspondence whenever I get the chance.  Through contemporary accounts, the past may not always come alive but it shines through the mist more clearly.  The diaries of … Read more

Why write about Pre-Raphaelite women?

I receive many positive emails through this blog because, for the most part, people in the world are great. The negative ones stand out, though, and occasionally eat at me. In a recent message, someone (I assume not a regular reader of this blog) questioned my feminism because I am devoted to Pre-Raphaelite art. They … Read more

Lizzie Siddal: Love and Hate

Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais

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 … Read more