British Pre-Raphaelite Artist , 1829-1862
was a British artists' model, poet and artist who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Siddal was perhaps the most important model to sit for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Their ideas about feminine beauty were profoundly influenced by her, or rather she personified those ideals. She was Dante Gabriel Rossetti's model par excellence; almost all of his early paintings of women are portraits of her. She was also painted by Walter Deverell, William Holman Hunt and John Everett Millais, and was the model for Millais' well known Ophelia (1852). Named Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, after her mother, Lizzie was born on 25 July, 1829, at the family??s home at 7 Charles Street, Hatton Garden. She was born to Charles Siddall and Eleanor Evans, a family of English and Welsh descent. At the time of Lizzie??s birth, her parents were not poverty stricken. Her father had his own cutlery-making business. Around 1831, the Siddall family moved to the borough of Southwark, in south London, a less salubrious area than Hatton Garden. It was in Southwark that the rest of Lizzie??s siblings were born: Lydia, to whom Lizzie was particularly close, Mary, Clara, James and Henry. Although there is no record of her having attended school, Lizzie was able to read and write, presumably having been taught by her parents. She developed a love of poetry at a young age, after discovering a poem by Tennyson on a scrap of newspaper that had been used to wrap a pat of butter. This discovery was one of Lizzie??s inspirations to start writing her own poetry. Model for the Pre-Raphaelites 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. She was the daughter of Charles Crooke Siddall, a cutler who claimed that his family descended from nobility, and his wife Elizabeth Eleanor Evans Siddall. 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. The twenty-year-old with her tall thin frame and copper hair was the first of the Pre-Raphaelite stunners. 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.
ID: 28351 A Lady Affixing a Pennant to a Knight's Spear c 1858
Watercolour 13.7 x 13.7 cm
(5 3/8 x 5 3/8 in)
Tate Gallery London (mk63)