Mrs. Beverly Fraser
October 16th 2007
Who was Elisabeth Siddall?
She was born on July 25th 1829 in Holborn, London, and died in 1862 from an overdose
of laudanum (a liquid form of opium used to dull physical pain and emotional distress).
Around the 1850’s ,Walter Howell Deverell, a young painter at that time, was the first
one to remark her while she was busy sewing. At this time, she was 19 years old, young
and beautiful with blue and green eyes. He totally knew that she was the right Viola for
his painting, from Shakespeare. He obtain permission from her mom and she posed for
him. Dante Gabriel Rossetti who was both poet and painter and a friend of Walter, had
also remarked her and thought that she could be his Beatrice. She also started to pose for
him and their relation got closer and closer. They became lovers and end up getting
married and had an unborn child.
Why was she Rossetti’s ideal women?
She was really thin, tall, and red-haired. She was not even considered beautiful with the
standards of her days, but she was the ultimate Pre-Raphaelite beauty. Rossetti painted
her as a woman who had a strong and direct interior, but who never looked straight at the
person looking at her. She was really unique and inspiring for his works. She totally was
his visual image of the ideal woman. In all his paintings, he admired that she looked a
little bit sad because of her deep eyes, she had a long and unusual neck with a thin pale
face, and her sensuality came from her mouth. Even thought Rossetti used many models
in the years after she died, no one had such a graceful look as Elizabeth. When she died,
he buried her with a manuscript which he had been working on for a long time. At a time
he was poor, and had no more artistic works to sell, he unburied the manuscript, in 1869,
from Elizabeth's grave.
What did she do that maid a cultural change?
She wasn’t only Rossetti’s muse, she was an artistic woman. She has done many works in
the world of art. She wrote poems like A Silent Wood, A year and a day, Dead love, and
many more. One could believe that because she was in the PRB, and was considered as
artistic as a man, could have occurred the cultural change of today, but the feminists have
another, and stronger view of her. They think that because she was forced to live in the
shadow, and gave her love to a man which was returned, not to her, but to her idealized
self, has maid the change of today. At last, one could simply believe that it is because
people saw and understood how of a wonderful women she was, and the works she did
that were sometimes much better than some men’s, maid the values change on the ideal
women and changed our values today.
Brief, I learned that she was one of the first women of her time who lived in the shadow
with her extraordinary works. Because of her, other women in the later years were able
to shine on their real identity. I also learned that Rossetti wasn’t such a good man even if
he came from a good family. It is always many years after someone dies that we see and
understand how great that person was.