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Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel

Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel

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Lucinda Hawksley

Lizzie Siddal was a nineteenth-century phenomenon: a working-class girl who rose from obscurity to become one of the most recognisable faces in Queen Victoria’s Britain. A poet, artist, artist’s model and muse, Lizzie was a pivotal figure of the Pre-Raphaelite movement. The artists she inspired include Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Walter Deverell; her patron was John Ruskin who described her as genius comparing her to J.M.W. Turner and G.F. Watts. Lizzie was also the lover and then wife of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and sister-in-law of the poet, Christina Rossetti.

The Pre-Raphaelites and the ways in which they interacted and worked have been a fascination of mine for as long as I can remember. Researching the life of Lizzie Siddal usually overlooked in favour of her male colleagues was intriguing and rewarding, somewhat like being a Victorian detective.

Published by Andre Deutsch LTD