Tag Archives: William Bell Scott

Elizabeth Siddal’s Death, Described by William Bell Scott

Published in Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott (New York, Harper & Brothers 1892)

The auguries of happiness from his marriage, entertained some of Rossetti’s friends, were frightfully dispelled. For myself, knowing Gabriel better that his brother did, though from the outside, I knew marriage was not a tie he had become able to bear. His former bachelor habit of working till 9 P.M., then rushing out to dine at a restaurant, was continued; Mrs Siddal Rossetti, little accustomed to the cares and habits of domestic life, willingly conforming. She had become a genius in art, imitating her husband’s inventions in water-colours in a way I clearly saw to be damaging to the peculiarities of his own works, though her uneducated performances were at once praised by him immoderately. After her death we heard nothing from Gabriel or from any of his family, till he wanted me to be again his banker to enable him to leave Chatham Place, where he had not slept since the sad event. He then after a temporary abode in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, took the Chelsea house, 16 Cheyne Walk, where he remained and began a professional success which increased through all the rest of his career.

The return for a moment to the great trial of his life. In ignorance of the main circumstances, and in obedience to a desire to comfort him, on receipt of his letter about leaving Blackfriars I ventured to tell him I never thought him fitted for a Benedict; but even to this he replied nothing, thought long after his mental prostration had subsided, and his MS. Book of poems was buried with her, I had to listen, alas, too much to the painful narrative. On the eventful night they had dined as usual at a cafe-restaurant; he had returned home with her, advised her to go to bed, and unheedingly taken himself out again. On his next and final home-coming he had to grope about for a light, and called to her without receiving a reply. What was said or done at the inquest I know not.

Contributed by Gary Attlesey. Thank you Gary.
LizzieSiddal.com recommends: Poems, by William Bell Scott

William Bell Scott on Lizzie and Rossetti’s Marriage

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.

Notes:

1) W. M. R.: William Michael Rossetti, art critic and younger brother of Rossetti
LizzieSiddal.com recommends: Poems, by William Bell Scott

William Bell Scott Recalls His First Meeting with Lizzie

William Bell Scott Recalls his First Meeting with Lizzie, Published in Autobiographical Notes of the Life of William Bell Scott (New York, Harper & Brothers 1892)

A year or two after in midsummer, the time when I always visited London, Howitt having returned from Australia, and being with Mary Howitt and Anna Mary, their daughter, in Normandy, I found D.G.R. was to be seen in their charming cottage on the Hampstead Road, called the Hermitage. In the garden of this cottage was a painting-room or study, covered with ivy, approached by outside wooden steps. I walked up to see him in the cool of the evening; the servant directed me up these steps, and I found myself in the romantic dusk of the apartment face to face with Rossetti and a lady whom I did not recognise, and could scarcely see. He did not introduce her; she rose to go. I made a little bow, which she did not acknowledge; and she left. This was Miss Siddal. Why he did not introduce me to her I cannot say. Perhaps the maid should have called him instead of allowing me to invade the studio without warning; she may even done it as a lark; for myself, I had not heard yet of such a person as Miss Siddal. Perhaps Rossetti was already beginning to revise his intention of marriage: an even way of life the most unlikely possible suit to his late development. She began to think herself a genius too, and did small, quaint, quasi-poetical imitations of his works at that time, and then her health not being good, by Ruskin’s assistance she went to Mentone.

Notes:

1.) Howitt: William Howitt, Poet & author
2.) Mary Howitt:  Poet & author, wife of William
3.) Anna Mary Howitt: Author & feminist
4.) D.G.R.: Dante Gabriel Rossetti,  Artist & poet, husband of Lizzie
5.) Ruskin:  John Ruskin, Art critic
6.) William Bell Scott,  Artist & Poet

Submitted by Gary Attlesey