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Celebrating Elizabeth Siddal

This post was originally published by Stephanie Graham Pina  at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.

On this day in 1829, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall was born (she dropped a letter L from her name when she became an artist).  I write about her frequently on this site; she’s a woman I admire immensely.  You can visit my other site, LizzieSiddal.com to see a timeline of her life, view her paintings, and read her poems.  I recently wrote about her powerful yet bitter poem, Love and Hate.

She wasn’t famous in her own lifetime. Although she did sell a few pieces of art and secured the patronage of critic John Ruskin, she was unable to meet her full potential.  Her poems were never published while she was alive.  As a result, she is overshadowed both by the ghostly legend that surrounds her and by the reputation of her husband. What we know about her is only in relation to him. The picture is not a full one and the gaps only add to her mystery.

Pippa Passes drawn by Elizabeth Siddal

Pippa Passes, Elizabeth Siddal

She didn’t produce a large body of work and what survives shows a raw, unfinished talent.  Her paintings and drawing are simple in execution and, at times, they show a distinct Medieval influence.  As an artist, she is often dismissed and her work is assumed to be heavily influenced by her mentor and husband Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  Is this completely fair, though?  To be sure, they probably influenced each other a great deal.  As her tutor, Rossetti helped shape her artistic eye. Yet it doesn’t escape my notice that all too often with women artists, people can be quick to assume that their work was largely helped by some man in their life. When I see an image by, say, Joanna Boyce Wells  posted on Facebook,   I always see a comment asking “how much did her brother have to do with this?” Yet when work is posted by a male artist, no one seems to question that the work is not solely his own.

'Lady Clare', painted by Elizabeth Siddal

Lady Clare, Elizabeth Siddal

The Pre-Raphaelites are known for several depictions of the Lady of Shalott.  But did you know that one of the earliest Pre-Raphaelite depictions of the Lady of Shalott was a drawing by Elizabeth Siddal?

The Lady of Shalott, Elizabeth Siddal

The Lady of Shalott, Elizabeth Siddal

lizziebooksThe story of Elizabeth Siddal is a compelling and sad one that lends itself well to fictional retellings. In 1990 Mollie Hardwick wrote The Dreaming Damozel, a mystery that has main character Doran Fairweather, an antique dealer, drawn deeper and deeper into an obsession with both Rossetti and Siddal.  Fiona Mountain inventively used Siddal’s life as the catalyst for a modern day mystery in her 2002 book Pale as the Dead, featuring her protagonist Natasha Blake as a detective with a twist.  She’s a genealogist who can solve both the mysteries of your ancestors and any crime that crosses her path (I highly recommend both Pale as the Dead and the sequel Bloodlines).  Audrey Niffenegger gave Siddal a brief cameo appearance in Her Fearful Symmetry, a tale that revolves around Highgate Cemetery, Siddal’s final resting place.  Siddal and the entire Rossetti clan get the vampire treatment in Tim Powers’ book Hide Me Among the Graves.  Author Rita Cameron recently wrote Ophelia’s Muse, a novelized version of the relationship between Siddal and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Siddal has even received the comic book treatment thanks to a particularly well-done comic story by Neil Gaiman, How They Met Themselves. The title is drawn from the Rossetti painting of the same name (pun totally intended).  My friend Ben Perkins recently blogged about Gaiman’s comic at The Talking Oak’s Popular Victoriana Compendium. 

'How They Met Themselves', Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Known as his 'bogey' drawing, this illustration of doppelgangers was begun by DGR while on his honeymoon with Lizzie.

‘How They Met Themselves’, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Known as his ‘bogey’ drawing, this illustration of doppelgangers was begun by DGR while on his honeymoon with Lizzie. I’ve written about this before in Rossetti and the Supernatural and How They Met Themselves

Actress Judith Paris portrayed Siddal in Ken Russell's 'Dante's Inferno'.

Actress Judith Paris portrayed Siddal in Ken Russell’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’.

In 1967, director Ken Russell filmed Dante’s Inferno which featured Oliver Reed as Rossetti and Judith Paris as Siddal.  It’s a quirky depiction of the Pre-Raphaelite circle, very sixties and a delight to watch.

Amy Manson as Siddal in BBC's 2009 production 'Desperate Romantics'.

Amy Manson as Siddal in BBC’s 2009 production ‘Desperate Romantics’.

Amy Manson portrayed Elizabeth Siddal in Desperate Romantics, a wildly inaccurate romp of a series that has introduced the Pre-Raphaelites to a new audience.  There were many liberties taken in this production that I can not approve of, but I will say that Manson portrays Siddal with strength and spirit. And visually, the scenes of Siddal as Millais’ Ophelia are stunning.  While I have several friends that love it, I admit that I can’t help but cringe while watching it.  Perhaps I am too much of a purist.  You’ll have to watch it and decide for yourself. 

Emma West as Lizzie Siddal in Jeremy Green's play.

Emma West as Lizzie Siddal in Jeremy Green’s play.

In the theater world, playwright Jeremy Green brought Siddal to the stage in Lizzie Siddal (2013).  Author Dinah Roe has a great interview with Jeremy Green about his work on her site Pre-Raphaelites in the City.  And I’m proud to be friends with not one but two talented actresses who staged their own productions telling Siddal’s story:  Kris Lundberg brought Siddal to life in Muse.  Valerie Meachum staged Unvarnished, a one-woman show.

Fiction, movies, plays…Siddal may not have achieved recognition in her own lifetime, but she certainly has our attention now.  As Rossetti’s muse, we can see her influence on his early Pre-Raphaelite works.  She then boldly made the move from a muse to  artist and embarked on a career that was sadly short but showed great promise.  Unfortunately, many of the sad details of her life overshadow her artistic ambitions. Even so, I still think she inspires women and has become a symbol that can motivate us; she represents a woman strong enough to create her own work in a rigid, patriarchal world.

Drawing of Siddal by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Drawing of Siddal by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

In The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal, Jan Marsh said, “in writing about Elizabeth Siddal, women are painting collective self-portraits.” I believe that is unequivocally true.  For close to twenty years I have studied her, read about her, pondered her, attempted to excavate some sort of concrete knowledge of who she truly was.  In doing so, I have explored myself.  Perhaps Elizabeth Siddal has strangely become a conduit through which we explore our own meanings and desires.  No matter how much we learn about her and discuss her, she remains unreachable.  In that enigmatic state, I think we project our own needs onto her.  She becomes a symbol of ourselves, maybe.  The part we want to rescue.  I’ve often said that when I embrace images of Ophelia, I am reaching into the past and comforting my teenage self.  Perhaps when we champion Elizabeth Siddal, we as women are cheerleaders for our own work, our own creative endeavors. Fighting against the people that disappoint us in a way she couldn’t, fighting against addiction in a way she was ill-equipped to  do.

'Ophelia' (1852) John Everett Millais. Model: Elizabeth Siddal

‘Ophelia’ (1852) John Everett Millais. Model: Elizabeth Siddal

Whatever Elizabeth Siddal means to us individually and collectively, today is the anniversary of her birth.  On such a day, I see her mentioned widely on social media.  I wonder what she would think if she knew of her influence. How would she feel if she knew she has achieved an almost cult following?

Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal Rossetti.  Thank you. Requiescat in pace

You may also enjoy these posts:

Did Elizabeth Siddal inspire Bram Stoker’s Dracula? 

Regina Cordium (Queen of Hearts)

The Blessed Damozel

The Worst Man in London (hint: who orchestrated Lizzie Siddal’s exhumation?)

What is the Pre-Raphaelite Woman?

Elizabeth Siddal:  Laying the Ghost to Rest

What shapes our perception of Elizabeth Siddal?

The Faces of Elizabeth Siddal

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Show your support with this Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood T Shirt!

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What shapes our perception of Elizabeth Siddal

This post also appears at  Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.

 

 For those of us who admire Pre-Raphaelite art, Elizabeth Siddal is a familiar face.  Her story is repeated often and frequently embellished.  When beginning to research the life of Elizabeth Siddal, readers will invariably encounter this description of her, written by poet William Allingham in his diary: “Short, sad, and strange her life; it must have seemed to her like a troubled dream.” It’s a heartbreaking and poignant epitaph that contributes to our perception of Siddal as a dreamlike waif, flitting through a troubled life– a life filtered through a laudanum haze.  It is important to remember, though, that Allingham’s statement describes her life only in hindsight.  Is it a fair and accurate assessment? Or is it influenced by the tragic mode of her death?
When we think of Elizabeth Siddal, how much do we know about the real flesh-and-blood woman and how much are we influenced by mythologized accounts of her life?
Elizabet Siddal as Ophelia, painted by John Everett Millais. See Ophelia's Flowers

Elizabeth Siddal as Ophelia, painted by John Everett Millais. See Ophelia’s Flowers

Many see her as an Ophelia figure due to the story of how she fell ill while posing for Sir John Everett Millais’ painting.  While it is a famous anecdote now, it was not a widespread story at the time.   I can find no prior written accounts of it published before Millais’ death.  The tale seems to have originated with artist Arthur Hughes, who provided his account in The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais (transcription at LizzieSiddal.com). This means that while the story is definitely true, it was probably not known outside the Pre-Raphaelite circle within Lizzie’s lifetime.
Study of Elizabeth Siddal for the head of Ophelia by Millais.

Study of Elizabeth Siddal for the head of Ophelia by Millais.

In addition to the Ophelia mystique, a lot of focus on Siddal has nothing to do with her life at all, but the effect her death had on Rossetti.  He was said to be haunted by her.  Attempts were made to communicate with her through seances.  Much has been written about his mental struggles in his later years and often they are partly assumed to stem from Siddal’s death and exhumation.  These are things that contribute to the perception of Lizzie as a Victorian ghost story instead of a woman that once lived, laughed, and loved.  In her lifetime, Siddal may have made the transition from model to artist but in death, she was transfigured into an amalgamation of Ophelia and The Blessed Damozel.  The genuine Elizabeth Siddal is a figure we may never know. She is overshadowed by  the overdose, the exhumation, and the myth that her hair continued to grow after death.
siddal
Apart from perfunctory newspaper mentions at the time of her death, the first serious accounts of Elizabeth Siddal began to appear after the death of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  These early depictions of her were written from a male perspective, mainly  William Michael Rossetti, Hall Caine, and Theodore Watts-Dunton. When we consider their words about her,  we have to consider their intentions.  Writing about Rossetti’s life was their true aim and for them, Elizabeth Siddal existed only as Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s love interest.  When William Michael Rossetti wrote about her, he completely ignored the fact that during a romantic split from his brother, she attended an art school in Sheffield, an act that demonstrates that she attempted to pursue art independent of DGR. It seems that WMR was unaware of this fact and that he had no knowledge about any occurrences in her life apart from her interactions with Rossetti. When Joseph Knight wrote of  her death in his 1887 biography Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he stated that “Regina Cordium had passed forever from his life.”  It’s a creative way to write about her, but it makes her seem more of a prop than a person.
 Regina Cordium, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Regina Cordium, Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Theodore Watts-Dunton mentions Siddal, almost in passing, with a cursory description of their marriage.  Rossetti, however, is described in an extremely dramatic fashion when Watts-Dunton says that on Siddal’s death Rossetti “for a time ceased to write or take any interest in his own poetry .  Like Proserpero indeed he literally buried his wand…”  Likening Rossetti to Prospero, Watts-Dunton glosses over the inclusion of DGR’s poetry in Siddal’s coffin and shifts the focus from the deceased woman to the husband left behind.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti sitting to Elizabeth Siddal

Dante Gabriel Rossetti sitting to Elizabeth Siddal

I certainly don’t intend to lay the blame of the mythologized versions of Siddal solely at the feet of people like William Michael Rossetti or Theodore Watts-Dunton. It is almost impossible not to romanticize her.  The memory of poet Sylvia Plath endures a similar fascination (coincidentally, Plath committed suicide in 1963 on the anniversary of Siddal’s death). Nor do I judge anyone who relishes stories of Lizzie Siddal in a bathtub or her tresses filling her coffin.  These things are unavoidable and firmly embedded in Pre-Raphaelite lore. And it cannot escape our notice that there are not very many opportunities to balance these dramatic anecdotes with Siddal’s own account of her life. Since very few of her letters survived, it is not through her own voice that we  hear her story. This leaves us with gaping holes where a life should be.  So we can not help but continue to see her only in relation to Rossetti because without him, we would know nothing of her.  We can attempt to fill these holes, as many do, by reading her own poetry as autobiographical. Is this fair, though?  A great deal of Victorian poetry is just as melancholy yet we are often able to separate the poet from their subject.
gbj-memorials-lizzie
Among the male accounts of Elizabeth Siddal, the lone voice of Georgiana Burne-Jones shines through.  The wife of artist Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Georgiana wrote about Siddal several times in The Memorials of Edward Burne-Jones.  Here Siddal is remembered fondly and discussed not as Rossetti’s lofty muse, but as a dear friend that was greatly missed.  Where William Michael Rossetti may have been interested in writing about a carefully honed version of Siddal, Georgiana was only concerned with preserving the memories of a woman who had been a friend to her in the early days of her marriage.  While she certainly mentions Elizabeth Siddal’s ill health and melancholy, she also shares happy memories such as this account of Siddal and their friend Algernon Charles Swinburne:
“Dear Lizzie Rossetti laughed to find that she and Swinburne had such locks of the same coloured hair, and one night when we went in our thousands to see “Colleen Bawn”, she declared that as she sat at one end of the row we filled and he at another, a boy who was selling books of the play looked at Swinburne and took fright, and then, when he came round to where she was, started again with terror, muttering to himself “There’s another of ’em!”
Mrs. Burne-Jones also shares a treasured note received from Siddal:

“I never had but one note from Lizzie, and I kept it for love of her even then.  Let it stand here in its whole short length as a memento of the Blackfriars evenings, and in the hope that some one beside myself may feel the pathos of its tender playfulness:

“My Dear Little Georgie,

I hope you intend coming over with Ned tomorrow evening like a sweetmeat, it seems so long since I saw you dear.  Janey will be here I hope to meet you.

“With a willow-pattern dish full of love to you and Ned,

“Lizzie”

I certainly wish more letters such as this had survived.  The few that still exist give us a glimpse of an Elizabeth Siddal that is so much more than an Ophelia trope.

'The Lady of Shalott', Elizabeth Siddal

‘The Lady of Shalott’, Elizabeth Siddal

I will end this post with two of Lizzie’s letters to Rossetti. The first is a portion of a letter written while she was traveling in Nice.  In the second, she writes about her summer holiday in Clevedon, where donkey rides were an attraction. Note that she writes in satire and makes fun of the boy’s speech. Reading this, it is easy to picture the boy and his enthusiasm. In these accounts, we can see a version of Elizabeth Siddal that is not the ill, melancholy figure we often assume her to be.  I suggest that on this day, the anniversary of her death, we view these letters as an antidote to the fact that the laudanum-addicted version of Elizabeth Siddal is the version we hear the most about.  Sometimes we can take a break from telling the tales of her sadness and focus on the happy little tales, scant though they may be.  There were probably millions of happy moments in her life, forever forgotten.  But today, I leave you with these:

[NICE, Christmas-time 1855]On your leaving the boat, your passport is taken from you to the Police Station, and there taken charge of till you leave Nice. If a letter is sent to you containing money, the letter is detained at the Post Office, and another written to you by the postmaster ordering you to present yourself and passport for his inspection. You have then to go to the Police Station and beg the loan of your passport for half-an-hour, and are again looked upon as a felon of the first order before passport is returned to you. Looking very much like a transport, you make your way to the Post Office, and there present yourself before a grating, which makes the man behind it look like an overdone mutton-chop sticking to a gridiron. On asking for a letter containing money, Mutton-chop sees at once that you are a murderer, and makes up its mind not to let you off alive; and, treating you as Cain and Alice Gray in one, demands your passport. After glaring at this and your face (which by this time becomes scarlet, and is taken at once as a token of guilt), a book is pushed through the bars of gridiron, and you are expected to sign your death-warrant by writing something which does not answer to the writing on the passport. Meanwhile Mutton-chop has been looking as much like doom as overdone mutton can look, fizzing in French, not one word of which is understood by Alice Gray. But now comes the reward of merit. Mutton sees at once that no two people living and at large could write so badly as the writing on the passport and that in the book; so takes me for Alice, but gives me the money, and wonders whether I shall be let off from hard labour the next time I am taken, on account of my thinness. When you enter the Police Station to return the passport. You are glared at through wooden bars with marked surprise at not returning in company of two cocked-hats, and your fainting look is put down to your having been found out in something. They are forced, however, to content themselves by expecting to have a job in a day or so. This is really what one has to put up with, and its not at all comic when one is ill. I will write again when boil is better, or tell you about lodgings if we are able to get any.There was an English dinner here on Christmas Day, ending with plum-pudding, which was really very good indeed, and an honour to the country. I dined up in my room, where I have dined for the last three weeks on account of bores. First class, one can get to the end of the world; but one can never be let alone or left at rest.But believe me
Yours most affectionately,Lizzy

***

[1855]  The donkey-boy opened a conversation by asking if there was any lions in the parts she comed from. Hearing no, he seemed disappointed, and asked her if she had ever ridden on an elephant there. He had last year when the beastesses was here, and on mounting the elephant for a penny, he felt so joyful that he was obliged to give the man his other two-pence, so he couldn’t see the rest of the fair. He wished to know whether boys had to work for a living there, and said that a gentleman had told him that in his country the boys were so wicked that they had to be shut up in large prisons. He never knew hisself no boy what stole anything, but he supposed in that country there was nothing but fruit-trees. He pulled a little
blue flower growing out of a rock, and said he liked to let flowers grow in the fields, but he liked to catch one when it grew there and take it away, because it looked like such a poor little thing. He had a project for leading
donkeys without beating, which consisted of holding a grass within an inch of their noses, and inducing them to follow it. Being asked whether that would not be the crueler plan of the two, he said he had noticed that donkeys would always eat even when they were full, so he had only to fill the donkey first. All that could be got in an explanation of why he thought Lizzie some outlandish native was that he was sure that she comed very far, much farther than he could see.

Self portrait of Elizabeth Siddal

Self portrait of Elizabeth Siddal

You might also enjoy:
Pre-Raphaelite Marriages: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal
Elizabeth Siddal: Laying the Ghost to Rest
Did Elizabeth Siddal inspire Bram Stoker
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Elizabeth Siddal: Laying the ghost to rest

Previously posted at Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood.

It would have been a perfect plot for a 1960’s Hammer Horror film:  on the death of his wife, a poet places his manuscript of poems in her casket.  Years later he has a new muse and love, a woman who had been a friend to them both.  So he has his late wife exhumed to reclaim his final gift to her. Upon opening the casket, his wife is found to be in perfect condition, miraculously resisting decay for seven and a half years.  By some supernatural intervention, the hair that inspired him in life had continued to grow after death and has now become a huge, golden mass.  The poems are restored and published, yet the ghost of the wronged wife will now haunt him for the rest of his life.  I can just see Lizzie’s hair spilling out of the coffin in brilliant technicolor. It is the perfect ghost story.
Except it’s not a ghost story. It’s a (mostly) true tale that has been repeatedly told, each time adding more elements of the macabre until Lizzie has achieved all the makings of a Pre-Raphaelite phantom.

'Beata Beatrix' was painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti after his wife's death, as a tribute.

‘Beata Beatrix’ was painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti after his wife’s death, as a tribute.

 

A study for 'Beata Beatrix', circa 1854.  Elizabeth Siddal clearly posed for Beata Beatrix before her death, the project assumed a new meaning after her passing.

A study for ‘Beata Beatrix’, circa 1854. Elizabeth Siddal clearly posed for Beata Beatrix before her death, the project assumed a new meaning after her passing.

The morbid associations began early.  There were whispered rumors that Rossetti had started Beata Beatrix by sketching his dead wife as she lay in state.  Surgeon John Marshall, a friend of Rossetti’s,  claimed that “for two years he saw her ghost every night!”  It was the age of Spiritualism and surely Lizzie had something to say from beyond the grave.  Seances were held that included both Dante Gabriel Rossetti and his brother William Michael.  An unlikely medium, Rossetti’s model/mistress/housekeeper Fanny Cornforth served as a conduit for Lizzie’s messages.

After the exhumation, Rossetti wrote to Swinburne saying “Had it been possible to her, I should have found the book upon my pillow the night she was buried; and could she have opened the grave no other hand would have been needed.”  As if the exhumation had merely been the righting of a wrong and they had  appeased Lizzie’s spirit by doing what she was physically unable to do from the spiritual plane.

Everything about Lizzie is subject to exaggeration. Most people learn about her death and exhumation first and then have to work their way backwards.  They come to know her through her overdose, the speculations of a disappearing suicide note and her wraith-like appearance as she stared absentmindedly into a fire, rocking the ghost of her dead child. The exaggerations go back even further –her marriage is described as unhappy.  Gabriel is constantly adulterous, despite the fact that there is no evidence that he was unfaithful during marriage. Posing as Ophelia seems to foreshadow her death, when seen in hindsight.  Even her discovery has a fairy tale quality, thanks to Holman Hunt’s account where she is described breathlessly by Deverell as a queen. Lizzie has become a character, a trope.

Elizabeth Siddal wasn’t famous in her own lifetime. Although she did sell a few pieces of art and secured Ruskin’s patronage, she was unable to meet her full potential.  Her poems were never published while she was alive.  As a result, she is overshadowed both by the ghostly legend that surrounds her and by her husband. What we know about her is only in relation to him. The picture is not a full one and the gaps only add to her mystery.

Certainly, these gaps could have been filled had William Michael Rossetti bothered to talk to Lizzie’s mother and surviving siblings when he began to publish accounts of his brother’s life.  In fact, none of the authors who wrote about Rossetti soon after his death made an effort to talk to Lizzie’s family.  It seems that as the subject was mainly DGR, there was no reason to — Lizzie exists in these accounts as a prop. Her untimely death adds a certain romance, her exhumation shows the lengths he was prepared to travel for the sake of Poetry. I am reminded of the first line of Lizzie’s poem “The Lust of the Eyes”, ‘I care not for my Lady’s soul’.  We care not for Lizzie’s true self, she is seen as a Pre-Raphaelite figure of pathos. When Joseph Knight wrote of Lizzie’s death in his 1887 biography Life of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he stated that “Regina Cordium had passed forever from his life.” Again, more prop than person.

How do we lay the ghost to rest? How do we focus on Lizzie herself and set aside the macabre trappings?  Focusing on her work is a good start.  Her art, although unpolished, can be viewed as ahead of its time. Instead of viewing her as merely Rossetti’s pupil in a one-sided exchange of teacher to student, we can view their dedication to art as flowing freely between them, that they both influenced and inspired each other’s work. Indeed, her contribution to the Red House murals show that she as accepted as an artist on equal footing.

Her letters, too, offer small glimpses into the woman she was.  Funny, friendly–far from a hovering wraith of a woman. When she writes of “Mutton-chops” in her letter from Nice, we can see past Ophelia and Beatrice and see a normal woman with an entertaining sense of humor.

To pursue knowledge of her, that is the key to seeing past the myth.  The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood by Jan Marsh is the first book I recommend to those interested in the women of the Pre-Raphaelite circle.  Marsh explores Lizzie’s life and the lives of her contemporaries while highlighting issues of gender, work and love.  Lizzie Siddal: Face of the Pre-Raphaelites by Lucinda Hawksley is a captivating account of Lizzie’s life.  In The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal, Jan Marsh expands her work in Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood, focusing on the evolution of how we view Lizzie and how scholarship of her life has been approached in different eras.

Emma West as Lizzie Siddal

Emma West as the titular character Lizzie Siddal in the recent jeremy Green play

 

Amy Manson as Lizzie Siddal in Desperate Romantics

Amy Manson as Lizzie Siddal in Desperate Romantics

As I write this post, I realize that we have made progress. Lizzie has received renewed attention in the play Lizzie Siddal by Jeremy Green. And even though I was not completely impressed with the BBC series Desperate Romantics, I have to admit that Amy Manson portrayed Lizzie admirably. Lizzie Siddal emerges from the spectral fog and begins to shed her ghostly stigma.

We have image after image of Lizzie appearing languid and reclining.  but we also have images of her hard at work, sitting at easels and determined to hone her craft.  For the anniversary of her death tomorrow, I prefer to focus on these.

Sketch of Elizabeth Siddal at easel by  Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Sketch of Elizabeth Siddal at easel by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Elizabeth Siddal at easel, drawn by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Elizabeth Siddal at easel, drawn by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Elizabeth Siddal at easel, sketch by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Elizabeth Siddal at easel, sketch by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti sitting to Elizabeth Siddal

Dante Gabriel Rossetti sitting to Elizabeth Siddal