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I’ve been updating this weekend.  Most of it is behind-the-scenes, such as cleaning up old links, revising the Table of Contents page, and cleaning up navigation.  This is an ongoing process.

I’ve also expanded the text on the Ophelia page in order to include passages relating to the painting from The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais.


Today on the Facebook page, I shared this image.  I was amazed at how many times it was reposted by other Facebook users.  Thank you and keep it up! Feel free to post it on your social profiles, blogs, etc:


Elizabeth Siddal (July 25, 1829 – February 11, 1862)


Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Dim phantoms of an unknown ill
Float through my tired brain;
The unformed visions of my life
Pass by in ghostly train;
— taken from Elizabeth Siddal’s poem A Year and A Day

There is no hope of my knowing what ‘unformed visions’ of Lizzie’s life could have possibly passed by in ‘ghostly train’ before her. Some aspects of her life we will never fully know. While I may not ever be able to fill in the gaps, I’ve not yet reached a point where I have lost interest in pursuing Elizabeth Siddal and chronicling information about her here at This site is my journey. It is a journey that I started alone, but over the past ten years of this online project,  I have discovered fellow travelers. So while I dedicate my time to these pages, this is not solely my site. It is here for all of us who have been captivated by Elizabeth Siddal, for those of us compelled to search, to read, to follow paths that will somehow help us to understand. We are what I like to call ‘Elizabeth Siddal enthusiasts’. You’re probably one too.
But in case you’re not:
Elizabeth Who? Elizabeth Siddal was an artist’s model who posed for members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Her features helped to create a Pre-Raphaelite ideal.  She is widely recognized from the Ophelia painting by Sir John Everett Millais and the story of her posing as Ophelia is as famous as the painting itself. Eventually she would pose only for Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who encouraged her pursuit of art. He became her mentor and art tutor, he drew her obsessively, and he loved her. Yet he put off marriage. Lizzie developed a reputation for being ill and at some point she became addicted to Laudanum. After a ten year relationship, Lizzie and Gabriel married. They suffered a stillborn daughter and in 1862 Lizzie died from a Laudanum overdose. Seven years after her death, Gabriel has her body exhumed so that he could recover the poems he had enclosed in her coffin.



I am thrilled and honored that received a brief mention in the preface to the second edition of Jan Marsh’s The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal.

Of interest:  the most popular page on this site continues to be Photographs of Elizabeth Siddal’s Grave


Listen to or Download The Sexton’s Tales episode, The Exhumation of Ophelia.  Brilliant dramatization.  MP3 format.  This download is free.

“So, why do you do this Lizzie Siddal thing?”

Once someone asked me why I spend so much time creating a website about a woman who committed suicide over a century ago. (Suicide was their word, not mine. I lean toward the belief that it was an accidental overdose during a very troubling time both mentally and physically.)

I suppose all I can say is that I am just so interested in Elizabeth Siddal that no matter how much I learn about her it never seems to be enough.  I feel compelled to read, to dig, ponder, and discuss.  And then I long for more.  It’s usually a solitary process.  But then, as a happy by-product of having this site, someone will friend me on facebook or approach me on twitter and I will discover that they too have an interest in Elizabeth Siddal and other Pre-Raphaelite artists.  Then a strange friendship is born.  I say strange because it’s entirely possible that offline, we may never have discovered this mutual interest.  We could have passed by each other in the grocery store or nodded hello in the post office and not have had the slightest inkling that we may like the same art or books, let alone this deep, questioning interest to learn more about Elizabeth Siddal.  So, you see what happened there?  It’s a magical thing.  Yes, I know the internet can be a dangerous place. It can be superficial, full of vain selfies and inane memes.  But it can also be a place where not only can you pursue your interests, you can cut through the superficial small talk  and jump right into “Ophelia moves you too?  Yes, yes I get that…