On the 23rd of May in 1860, Elizabeth Siddal and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were wed. Their vows were exchanged in St Clement’s Church (there is a panoramic virtual tour here). I am so grateful to Lynda Smith for allowing me to share her photos of the church (originally posted to her twitter account, @mouse_11) All photos copyright Lynda Smith, used with permission.
Exterior of St Clement’s Church. Photo Copyright Lynda Smith.
Interior of St Clement’s Church. Photo Copyright Lynda Smith.
One of the places in Hastings that Lizzie stayed in, just up the hill from the church. Rossetti drew her there 1854. Photo Copyright Lynda Smith.
12 East Parade, Hastings.
Friday [13 April 1860].
My Dear Mother,
I write you this word to say that Lizzy and I are going to be married at last, in as few days as possible. I may be in town again first, but am not certain. If so, I shall be sure to see you; but write this as I should be sorry that new news should reach you first from any other quarter.
Like all the important things I ever meant to do—to fulfil duty or secure happiness—this one has been deferred almost beyond possibility. I have hardly deserved that Lizzy should still consent to it, but she has done so, and I trust I may still have time to prove my thankfulness to her. The constantly failing state of her health is a terrible anxiety indeed; but I must still hope for the best, and am at any rate at this moment in a better position to take the step, as regards money prospects, than I have ever been before. I shall either see you or write again soon, and meanwhile and ever am
Your most affectionate Son,
D. G. Rossetti.
William Bell Scott on Lizzie and Rossetti’s Marriage
Published in Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott (New York, Harper & Brothers 1892)
W. M. R. next asks me if I knew that Gabriel is about to marry or perhaps, is now married to Miss Siddal, whom you have heard about and possibly seen? The family had been a little taken by surprise at receiving from him at Hastings, about a month before, the definite announcement of the following event, then to be enacted as soon as possible. Still later he had determined that it might possibly be on last Saturday, his thirty-second birthday. She is in the opinion of every one a beautiful creature with fine powers and sweet character. If only her health should become firmer after marriage, William thinks it will be a happy match. At all events he is glad that Gabriel is settled upon it. He leaves Blackfriars, but I think has not yet managed to suit himself elsewhere. This sudden news was the first I heard of Gabriel’s marriage; nor did either I or his own family hear directly from him for some little time after. Instead of leaving Blackfriars he at last appeared there with his wife, where he fitted up another room or two and continued to live till her death.
1) W. M. R.: William Michael Rossetti, art critic and younger brother of Rossetti
LizzieSiddal.com recommends: Poems, by William Bell Scott