Monday, February 11, 2008
R.I.P. Lizzie Siddal
Thank you to my friend Robin, aka Siddal, for informing me that today is the anniversary of the death of Elizabeth Siddal, Lizzie, arguably the most influential muse of the Pre-Raphaelites (I'd be hard pressed to choose between her or Jane Morris). Lizzie is most famously remembered for the hours she spent in a tepid bathtub posing for Millais' famous Ophelia painting, and is also remembered for the macabre story of her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, having her coffin later exhumed in order to retrieve the book of poetry that he had buried with her. But of course Lizzie was far more than these two stories. She was a talented artist in her own right, and a bright light that dimmed far too soon.
Millais' famous painting of Lizzie as Ophelia. Millais had heat lamps underneath the bathtub in which Lizzie was posing, but he became so engrossed in rendering the folds of the sodden fabric that many of them burned out.
Lizzie died on February 11, 1862.
Two books on the subject of Lizzie (I have not yet read either...so many books, so little time) are
Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel
Lizzie Siddal: Face of the Pre-Raphaelites