Elizabeth Siddal: The Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel

A R T L▼R K

51rEU6PieYL._SL1000_On the 11th of February 1862, Elizabeth Siddal, an English artists’ model, died in London of a self-administered overdose of laudanum. In the early 1850s, as a young woman, Siddal was painted extensively by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She sat for Walter Deverell’s Viola in Twelfth Night (1850), for William Holman Hunt’s British Girl inA Converted British Family Rescuing a Christian Priest from Persecution by the Druids (1851), for John Everett Millais’sOphelia(1852) – for which she posed floating in a bathtub full of water, and for Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Beatrice, the Virgin Mary, St Catherine, and many others. Rossetti became eventually her husband, and even though Siddal did pursue her own artistic career under the financial patronage of John Ruskin, it was Rossetti who became the eventual medium to Siddal’s posthumous legendary status. In fact, “[in] her lifetime, she had virtually no public identity, and in the…

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