Exploring Elizabeth Siddal

An affectionate study of Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862),
Pre-Raphaelite model, painter, and poet.

Drawing of Elizabeth Siddal by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Drawn in Hastings; June 2, 1854.
Elizabeth Siddal, drawn by Dante Gabriel Rossetti in 1855.

Elizabeth Siddal began her career as a model for members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, an artistic group that secretly formed in 1848. The fact that she was determined to become an artist herself is testament to her bold spirit and determination. For twenty years I have studied her, read about her, and endeavored to excavate successive layers of concrete knowledge to discover who she truly was.

Left, Elizabeth Siddal appears in Sir John Everett Millais’ preliminary study for Ophelia. Right, Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia (detail). For more on Millais’ painting, please see Exploring Ophelia.

I founded this site sixteen years ago as a labor of love, curiosity, and passion. My goals remain the same: to pursue the verifiable facts behind the legend and to chronicle that information in an unbiased away. Over time, my interests have expanded, and you can find me posting more often at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood. But the dedication, gratitude, and pride in this Elizabeth Siddal project is as unwavering as it is true.