Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal
Pen and brown and black ink with wash
12 x11 cm
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Siddal was Rossetti’s favorite painted and poetic muse, pupil, mistress, and later his wife. ‘She can be seen as Viola in Deverell’s Twelfth Night, Sylvia in Hunt’s Valentine Rescuing Sylvia from Proteus, and most most famously, Ophelia by Millais.’ (see previous post)
‘Millais had Siddal lie fully clothed in a full bathtub in his studio at 7 Gower Street in London. As it was winter, he placed oil lamps under the tub to warm the water, but was so intent on his work that he allowed them to go out.’ From this, Siddal caught a severe cold that never fully subsided, and as a result she became addicted to laudanum which eventually played a part in her own death.
She also wrote somber poetry in the style of Rossetti’s sister:
Dim phantoms of an unknown ill
Float through my tired brain;
When she was put to rest, Rossetti buried his own poems with her.