ELIZABETH (LIZZIE) SIDDAL


The Original Supermodel Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (25 July 1829 11 February 1862) was an English artists’ model, poet and artist who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including Walter Deverell, William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais (including Millais’ 1852 painting Ophelia) and most of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s early paintings of women. Siddal, whose name was originally spelt ‘Siddall’ (it was Rossetti who dropped the second ‘l’) was first noticed by Deverell in 1849, while she was working as a milliner in Cranbourne Alley, London. Neither she nor her family had any artistic aspirations or interests. She was employed as a model by Deverell and through him was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelites. William Michael Rossetti, her brother-in-law, described her as “a most beautiful creature with an air between dignity and sweetness with something that exceeded modest self-respect and partook of disdainful reserve; tall, finely-formed with a lofty neck and regular yet somewhat uncommon features, greenish-blue unsparkling eyes, large perfect eyelids, brilliant complexion and a lavish heavy wealth of coppery golden hair.”[1] Lizzies introduction to modelling was an extremely pleasant entrance into what could be a sleazy world. At the start of her modeling career, Lizzie was in the enviable position of being allowed to remain working at Mrs. Tozers millinery part-time, thereby ensuring herself a regular salary even if modelling did not

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