The Sexton’s Tales

Listen here or Download (32mb and is archived in zip file).  I am grateful to Emlyn Harris for allowing me to share this podcast with you. If  you use iTunes, it is available there as well. The Sexton’s Tales series were originally broadcast by the BBC between 1995 and 1997. This episode, narrated by the writer Emlyn Harris, features the tragic life and death of Elizabeth Siddal. Siddal’s body was exhumed from London’s Highgate Cemetery following a request from her husband Gabriel Dante Rossetti to retrieve a book of poems buried in the coffin.

The Sexton’s Tales – Episode 1 Elizabeth Siddal

All Rights Reserved © Emlyn Harris

Written by Emlyn Harris

Music by Emlyn Harris

Dead Interesting Productions

See Dead Interesting Production’s other project, the internet tv channel ( The channel is airing a number of history film documentaries.

Little Journeys

Little Journeys is a series of biographical essays written by Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) Each volume is thematic and contains several historical figures.  A few titles include Little Journeys to Homes of Great Lovers, Good Men and Great, Famous Women, English Authors, American Statesmen, and more.

From my personal collection, I have scanned portions of Little Journeys that are relevant to the Pre-Raphaelites.  All files are in PDF form.

Christina Rossetti

John Ruskin

William Morris

Great Lovers:  Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal

Handwriting Analysis

I have so much gratitude to my friend Jack Challem for sharing his in-depth analysis of DGR and Elizabeth Siddal’s handwriting.




 PDF File:  Handwriting Analysis of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal

5 thoughts on “ Resources

  1. While my partner was studying for her textile design HNC she looked at Ruskin/William Morris and the Linin Industry in the Lake District. Having read some of her books on Ruskin I came to the conclusion that he may have been a man of his time but certainly not one of mine. I hold no credence with cultural/artistic dictators. Your download on John Ruskin was very interesting and a very good read, only confirming my view that he was incapable of communicating with the working classes and lived on a different planet regarding his views on women. Having said all that I have still booked on a course at Brantwood “Paint like Ruskin” I do like his studies, sketching and painting technique.
    Again thanks for download

  2. I believe John Ruskin has a not wholly deserved reputation for being harsh. There is often little if any regard to his help toward the less fortunate. It was then as it is now, too many to be able to help all so like anyone else able to help, he chose who and when he could most effectively assist and simply didn’t shout about it as some did. That he could be intensely private when he chose does clearly come across.

    Also, let’s remember one example is how he helped Lizzie. Gabri (Rosetti) only taught her some basic painting techniques as he didn’t want her to learn to be as accomplished as he was, and thus potential competition. As a consequence her paintings were not only naive, but tended to be crude (basic) to the point of being almost childlike – which was why they were only really suitable as illustrations for childrens books.

    If John R hadn’t made what was at that time an overly generous offer of buying them at such a good sum, she would almost have certainly found it impossible to sell them, let alone to have them placed in books which brought her paintings some recognition.
    I’m sure she knew that and was grateful and touched by his friendship and kindness, even if illness must have made it not seem so at that time.

    Maybe it was his marriage that brought him the reputation of not being a good man, but by and large we only have the side of the story portrayed by his former wife and those who took her part and there are always two sides to a story. That isn’t to say he was faultless toward his wife, or that he was a perfect character. However, his better self is too rarely portrayed, which is a great pity.

  3. Not sure if you are aware but the sublime BBC series The Love School made in 1975 has finally been released on DVD and is available on Amazon. I’ve been waiting for 40 years to see this series again, it started me off on a love of all things Pre Raphaelite but especially Lizzie Siddal. It’s perfect in every way and urge you to see it if you haven’t done so already

  4. Saw it 1st time round ! Went to Highgate to Miss Siddals grave only now have I come to realise I was standing not 10 feet from her.

    How many people stare in wonderment at fabulous paintings in a gallerys not realising they are standing almost as the Artist did.

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