Biography Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal

Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal

photo of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal
  • Time Period1829 - 1862
  • Place
  • CountryEngland

Poet Biography

Elizabeth Siddal was born on July 25, 1829, in Holborn, London, to Charles Crooke Siddall and Elizabeth Elenor Evans Siddall. Blessed with extraordinary beauty she caught the eye of a pre-Raphaelite painter, Walter Howell Deverell, as she worked in a bonnet store in Cranbourne Alley, London. In time, she modelled for Deverell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt.
She became Rossetti's mistress, and by 1852 began painting for herself and won the financial support of John Ruskin. Illness then struck, leading her to stop painting, and her engagement with Rossetti fell away in 1858.
She sought him out again several years later, however, and they were wed on May 23, 1860, at St. Clement's Church, Hastings, and honeymooned in Paris and Boulogne. Their daughter was stillborn on May 2, 1861, and Elizabeth committed suicide by opium overdose on February 11, 1862. Rossetti placed a manuscript of poems in her coffin. Elizabeth's brother-in-law William Michael Rossetti had printed all fifteen of her poems piecemeal by 1906. They were largely ignored until Roger C. Lewis and Mark Samuels Lasner collected her works and published them in 1978.