Pre-Raphaelite Cosmic Player Plate

Elizabeth Siddal
1997 Pre-Raphaelite Roster


Cosmic Record

Season 1997 Rookie

Uniform No.


Bats- Right


Elizabeth Siddal


The Pre-Raphaelite brethren extolled women. In particular women with pale white skin and red-gold hair. Eleanor Elizabeth Siddall, daughter of the English lower middle class, was the quintessential Pre-Raphaelite woman. Her appearance in many of the Pre-Raphaelite's paintings attests to this fact. She is Ophelia in John Everett Millais' well-known painting; William Holman Hunt used her as a model for the red-haired Celt in his painting "Christians Sheltering from the Persecution of the Druids"; Walter Deverell used her as the model for Viola in his painting "12th Night" and of course, Dante Gabriel Rossetti was obsessed with her image.

Siddal was just 18 years old when William Allingham, a writer who associated with the members of the Pre-Raphaelite vortex, saw her working as a milliner's apprentice in a shop on Cranbourne Alley. Allingham told Walter Deverell, another artist in the vortex, about this beautiful woman. Eventually word got back to Dante Gabriel Rossetti who met and fell deeply in love with her. It would be ten years later on May 23,1860 before Rossetti and Siddal got married. By then the romance of young love had dissipated and the relationship between the two had become more problematic. The following January Siddal gave birth to a stillborn daughter. Depression and ill-health which had been plaguing her for a number of years led her to the use of laudanum, a pain killer and sleep inducer.

In February 1862 she died from an overdose of laudanum in what official records called an "Accidental Death." There was, of course, speculation that her death was a suicide. Her husband, in a fit of guilt and remorse, for he had not been a faithful man, buried with his wife, all of his manuscript poems. It would be several years after her death that Rossetti would be persuaded to recover these poems. Rossetti himself, however, was not at the gravesite when the poems were recovered.

Siddal was also a poet and her work caught the attention of John Ruskin. Her poems were typically dark and depressing.

Dead Love

by Elizabeth Siddal

Oh never weep for love that's dead,
Since love is seldom true,
But changes his fashion from blue to red,
From brightest red to blue,
And love was born to an early death
And is so seldom true.

Then harbour no smile on your loving face
To win the deepest sigh;
The fairest words on truest lips
Pass off and surely die;
And you will stand alone my, my dear,
When wintry winds draw nigh.

Sweet, never weep for what cannot be,
For this God has not given:
If the merest dream of love were true,
Then, sweet, we should be in heaven;
And this is only earth, my dear,
Where true love is not given.

Some analysts believe that it was Dante Gabriel Rossetti that sparked her artistic imagination. William Gaunt in his book about the movement and its personalities, The Pre-Raphaelite Dream writes:

"[Rossetti] breathed genius into her. Under his influence she began to paint little pictures and write little poems...In [Siddal] there seemed to develop a creative spark that was not at first there...This genius was embryonic but real. Her verses were as simple and moving as ancient ballads; her drawings were as genuine in their medieval spirit as much more highly-finished and competent works of Pre-Raphaelite art. And then in turn begot in the strange pair that perverse struggle between the sexes -- the struggle for artistic expression. He praised and encouraged the arts by which she strove unconsciously to emulate him, holding in his masterful grip a victim which, beaten, dominated and at the same time urged on to fight, valiantly, though wearily, fought back."

Like the women associated with the American Beat Generation writers, the women of the Pre-Raphaelite vortex, in their roles as models and lovers and poets and painters, influenced the men and the philosophy in ways far deeper and more subtle than is generally acknowledged.

Elizabeth Siddal was one of the most influential of these muses.

Georgina Battiscombe, Christina Rossetti: A Divided Life. New York, 1981.

William Gaunt, The Pre-Raphaelite Dream. New York, 1966.

Derek Stanford, Editor, Pre-Raphaelite Writing. London, 1973.


1997 Pre-Raphaelite Roster

Top Home News Rosters 1997 Book Games Email

Elizabeth Siddal- Pre-Raphaelite
Cosmic Player Plate
Published: June 13, 1997
Updated: October 31, 1997

Copyright © 1997 by the Cosmic Baseball Association