True Painters of Light

William Holman Hunt painted The Light of The World in 1853, not too long after the founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in 1848.  He used model Elizabeth Siddal to paint Christ’s hair; Christina Rossetti was the model for the head.  It was at this point that we see that Siddal was no ordinary model, for … Read more

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 … Read more

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  

Special event at Highgate Cemetery for the 150th anniversary of Lizzie Siddal’s death.

February 11th is the 150th anniversary of Lizzie’s death. To commemorate this, Highgate Cemetery (Lizzie’s final resting place) is having a Talk at the cemetery on that day by Lucinda Hawksley, author of Lizzie Siddal: Face of the Pre-Raphaelites.  Being in the U.S., I will not be able to attend but my ever-faithful friend Kirsty … Read more

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 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 … Read more

A few notes

There are several things I’d like to share with you today: I’ve been reading some of Rossetti’s notes in The Collected Works of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and I like this insight on his opinion of color: Thinking in what order I love colours, found the following:– 1. Pure light warm green. 2. Deep gold-colour. 3. … Read more

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 … Read more

The Maids of Elfin-Mere

Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s first published illustration was The Maids of Elfen-Mere, drawn to illustrate a ballad by William Allingham titled “The Maids of Elphin-Mere”.  The Rossetti Archive includes it in their collection note: “DGR’s illustration was made for Allingham’s ballad “The Maids of Elfin-Mere”, which was published in The Music Master, A Love Story, and … Read more

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. The … Read more

New image added to

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 The owner did have this to say: The attributed title, “At the Milliner’s,” is most likely incorrect. That name was given because … Read more

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 … Read more

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 to … Read more

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 … Read more

Lucinda Hawksley Interview

I recently had the honor of interviewing author Lucinda Hawksley.  Hawksley has penned several books, most notably a biography of Elizabeth Siddal and one on Hawksley’s own relative Kate Perugini, daughter of Charles Dickens.  Lucinda Hawksley is the great-great-great-grandaughter of Charles Dickens.  Read the interview at