Thursday, March 3, 2011

Elizabeth Siddal

♥ ♥ ♥ The Awesome Woman of The Day is Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862) An artist's model for the Pre-Raphaelites, she was the face of Millais' Ophelia. Siddal was the primary muse for Dante Gabriel Rossetti throughout most of his youth.
After he met her he began to paint her to the exclusion of almost all other models and stopped her from modelling for the other Pre-Raphaelites. After becoming engaged to Rossetti, Siddal began to study with him. In contrast to Rossetti's idealized paintings, Siddal's were harsh.

In 1855 the art critic John Ruskin began to subsidize her career. Ruskin paid £150 per year in exchange for all drawings and paintings that she produced. Siddal produced many sketches but only a single painting. Ruskin also admonished Rossetti in his letters for not marrying Siddal and giving her the security she needed. During this period Siddal also began to write poetry, often with dark themes about lost love or the impossibility of true love.

In the previous ten years he had been engaged to her and then broken it off at the last minute several times. Stress from those incidents had affected her. She was now severely depressed and her long illness had given her access to and addiction to laudanum. In 1861, Siddal became pregnant. She was overjoyed about this, but the pregnancy ended in a stillborn daughter. Siddal overdosed on laudanum shortly after becoming pregnant for a second time. Rossetti discovered her unconscious and dying in bed. Although her death was ruled accidental by the coroner, there are suggestions that Rossetti found a suicide note.

Since watching the BBC series 'Desperate Romantics' Ive become a tad obsessed with Lizzie. What an amazing period of history she lived in. Her presence in that time has been captured for eternity. I would love to find more of her poetry.

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