Further Reading


Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 4 volumes edited by O. Doughty and J. R. Wahl, 1965-7

Pre-Raphaelitism and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, 2 volumes by William Holman-Hunt

Pre-Raphaelite Portraits by Andrea Rose, 1981

Some Reminiscences by William Michael Rossetti

The Works of John Ruskin edited by E. T. Cooke and A. D. Wedderburn, 1909

The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti by Virginia Surtees

Three Rossettis: Unpublished Letters to and from Dante Gabriel, Christina, William, 1937

Dante Gabriel Rossetti: His Friends and Enemies by Helen Rossetti Angeli

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, Jan Marsh 1985, Quartet Books

The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal, Jan Marsh 1992, Quartet Books


  • Wendy Roche

    I can’t see here the first book I read about Lizzie, when I was 14 or so. It was a florid, excitable and fascinating biography by Violet Hunt, published I think, in the 1930s… Or 1940s? But the title escapes me now. There was a highly romantic sub-title to it. It had of course the cachet of being written by a Hunt, a close family member / descendant of Holman Hunt, so although there seemed to be flights of fancy, if I recall aright, there was insider tittle-tattle aplenty. Including the proposition that Lizzie on her last night had pinned her suicide note to her nightdress. I always remember that. According to Violet Hunt it was swiftly removed by Rossetti or Howell – a verdict of suicide would have consequences terrifying to the Victorian mind – and read… something like, “My life is so weary, I want no more of it.”
    ‘Wife of Rossetti’? Was that the title?
    There was a wealth of information in that book – but I suppose the modern biographers have discovered so much more.

    Poor addicted Lizzie. Poor guilt-ridden Rossetti.
    He kept her hair as a bell-rope. In Cheyne Walk. When small birds flew indoors he held them to be Lizzie, in visitation.
    Too much chloral.

    And the Beata Beatrix’s hands remain always open to receive the opium poppy.

  • Thomas Wayne Hoover

    I read Violet Hunt’s “The Wife of Rossetti” in 1993. She was not related to William Holman Hunt; instead, she was the daughter of another Victorian painter, Alfred William Hunt. In her book, she described once having seen some leaves of the poems of Rossetti which had been extracted from his wife’s grave and disinfected. She didn’t much like that experience.
    Holman Hunt did have a granddaughter, Diana Holman Hunt, who wrote “My Grandmothers and I” about her maternal and paternal grandmothers. Hunt married two sisters named Waugh, successively, which was not yet legal in England. They were sisters of Evelyn Waugh’s grandfather, and he reviewed Diana’s book.

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