Pre-Raphaelite Women, Art, & Poetry, Part C


Worn Out by Lizzie Siddal           

I cannot give to thee the love         

I gave so long ago,                 

The love that turned and struck me down

Amid the blinding snow.             

Yet keep thine arms around me, love,   

Until I fall to sleep;                

Then leave me, saying no goodbye     

Lest I make wake, and weep.         

Pre-Raphaelite Women:

Models, Lovers, Art-Sisters


D.G. Rossetti, Bower Meadow

MODELS: Marie Spartali Stillman (left) and Alexa Wilding (right)
That may be Jane Morris' daughter May dancing in the background.


PR Models, Lovers & Wives

Individual Models: The Stunners

Pre-Raphaelite Women Artists

Helen Adam, "I Love My Love"


*PR Lovers & Wives as Models/Muses


Anthony Frederick Sandys, Perdita
(character in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale)

Actress/model/common-law wife Mary Emma Jones
("Miss Clive") helped set the Pre-Raphaelite
fashion of voluptuous red-headed 'Stunners.'

The Pre-Raphaelite Body-- good student essay on the "public and private pleasure, puzzlement and disquiet" generated by PR representations of the female body.

The Pre-Raphaelite Goddess--interesting essay on the three phases of the goddess represented by the female models in many of  Pre-Raphaelite paintings.  Includes comments on female PR artists also.

The Pre-Raphaelite Woman: Controversy and Conservatism in Victorian England --looks at the reality of the models' images and the negative reaction of Victorian society.

Pre-Raphaelite Women Study Guide--intriguing questions and commentary on Siddal, Cornforth, Morris, Christina, Wilding and other PR models; good range of images included.

Pre-Raphaelite Women, Part A--DG Rossetti's attitudes towards his mistresses/models/wives.

Pre-Raphaelite Women--helpful introduction.

The Pre-Raphaelite Women destroyed by Love in all its Forms and Fates--good student introduction.

The Devouring Woman and Her Serpentine Hair in Late-Pre-Raphaelitism--interesting introduction.

How the Pre-Raphaelites changed the face of fashion--essay and images.

Pre-Raphaelites on Paper: Victorian Drawings from the Lanigan Collection --selected drawings of some of the lesser known Pre-Raphaelite wives and models by some lesser known artists.

*Individual Models:  The Stunners

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood: Rossetti's Models--features text about and images of Rossetti's five most important "stunners": Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Siddal, Annie Miller, Fanny Conforth, Jane Burden Morris, and Alexa Wilding.

Explore Rossetti, Morris, and More--many, many images of many different Pre-Raphaelite models, known and unknown.

Ecce Ancilla Domini
by D.G. Rossetti
Christina Rossetti)

Lizzie Siddal
by D.G. Rossetti

Alexa Wilding
by D.G. Rossetti

Fanny Cornforth
by D. G. Rossetti

Study for the Head
of Morgan le Fay

by Frederic Sandys
(Model: Fanny Eaton)

Marie Zambaca
by Burnes-Jones

Annie Miller
by D. G. Rossetti

Marie S. Stillman
by D. G. Rossetti

Jane Morris
by D.G. Rossetti

  • *Christina Rossetti:

A sister joins the Brotherhood --Christina Rossetti as active participant in the Pre-Raphaelite movement, both as model and as poet. Christina Rossetti --information on Christina as model, sister, poet. (Note the DG Rossetti portrait of his sister and mother.)

Christina Rossetti --portrait of D.G. Rossetti's sister. The Girlhood of Mary Virgin --modelled by D.G. Rossetti's mother and sister Christina.

  • * Elizabeth (Lizzie) Siddal:

Siddal--biography, with pics. Lizzie Siddal- Victorian Supermodel--particularly good on her personality. Another good biography of Lizzy Siddal and two other "stunners": Rossetti's Real Fair Ladies: Lizzie, Fanny, and Jane.

Pre-Raphaelite Model and Muse--good (and very readable) biography. See also Sad Life of a Stunner. Sidall as "supermodel": Stealing beauty.

See Exploring Elizabeth Siddal--many links to many aspects of her life and work. See, in particular, Pre-Raphaelite Marriages: Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Elizabeth Siddal --detailed discussion.

See also Ophelia-- Victimized Woman or Femme Fatale --Rosetti's wife Lizzie as model for Ophelia. The Ophelia Page--more information on Ophelia as literary character and as art-subject. Beata Beatrix--modelled by Elizabeth Siddal.

See also Siddal as Artist and Poet. Long scholarly analysis of Siddal's poem "Worn Out" (see top-right corner of this webpage): Sleep and Liberation: The Opiate World of Elizabeth Siddal--article in Laurent's Sleeping Beauties in Victorian Britain: Cultural, Literary, and Artistic Explorations of a Myth --scroll down to pg. 95.

  • * Alexa Wilding:

Alexa Wilding-- biography of Wilding.

Venus Imaginaria:: Reflections on Alexa Wilding, her Life, and her Role as Muse in the Works of Dante Gabriel Rossestti--thesis.

  • * Fanny Cornforth:

Cornforth--short biography. The Mystery of Fanny Cornforth--her post-pre-Raphaelite story. And see The Kissed Mouth: Fanny Found --the sad end of her story.

See Portrait of Fanny Cornforth. Cornforth as model for Rossetti's Bocca Baciata and for the orginal Lady Lilith.

Personality sketch in The Cult of Red Hair (also learn how to achieve the "look").

  • * Fanny Eaton:

Fanny Eaton: Forgotten Beauty--excellent article introducing this forgotten "stunner."

People of Color in European Art History --images and discussion of Eaton as Pre-Raphaelite model.

A Model Profession: Fanny Easton--text and images of Simeon Solomon's paintings of Eaton. See D.G. Rossetti's drawing of Fanny Eaton. A number of drawings/paintings with Eaton as the model: Fanny Eaton: Drawings and paintings.

  • * Marie Zambaco & Georgina Burne-Jones:

Biography--plus image of Zambaco. Some commentary on her affair with Burne-Jones: Portrait of Maria Zambaco. Read about Burne-Jones’ Pursuit of Love. Zambaco as both Phyllis and Demaphoon.

Melding the Personal and the Mythological in Burne-Jones's Venus Epithalamia and The Tale of Pygmalion-- paintings for which Zambaco modeled. Circe and Other Sorceresses --Zambaca as Burne-Jones' personal sorceress in "The Beguiling of Merlin."

Georgiana Burne-Jones--short biography. More on Burne-Jones' wife, models, and lovers-- (see the painting of his wife Georgie at that link also). Georgie's life as mother: A Mother's Exile. See also Portrait of Georgina Burne-Jones by D.G. Rossetti.

  • * Annie Miller & Fanny Holman Hunt:

Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood: Annie Miller--focuses in particular on her relationship with Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt, her "guardian." But do we have the full story yet? Check out this blogger: The Kissed Mouth: A Scandalous Stunner. Image of and some commentary on Annie Miller.

See Miller as the model for Hunt's famous painting The Awakening Conscience and for D.G. Rossetti's Helen of Troy. Or consider John Everett Millais' very different image of Annie: More on Annie Miller….

How about Holman's wife, Fanny (later Edith): See How Victorian artist gave his ex the brush off --did a different face originally appear under the wife's face on the canvas? Here's a somewhat different version of the story: The Caprine Curiosity of the Passionate Pre-Raphaelite. See Hunt's image of his wife: Fanny Holman Hunt and Anna Lea Merritt's image of Mrs. Holman Hunt.

  • * Marie Spartali Stillman:

Maria Spartali Stillman-- biography. Marie Spartali Stillman--A Pre-Raphaelite Feminist Paints Empowered Women --her women return "the gaze."

Stillman as model for Rossetti's A Vision of Fiammetta. See photo of Stillman posing as Greek heroine Zoe, by Pre-Raphaelite photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.

More on Stillman and images of her artwork: Pre-Raphaelite Women, Part C.

  • * Jane Burden Morris:

Jane Morris: An Enigmatic Muse-- images of Morris as model for many Rossetti paintings. See also Portraits of Jane Burden Morris--at the Liverpool Museum. Late Work--by Rossetti, featuring Jane Morris as model.

Morris as model for Rossetti's Astarte Syriaca and Proserpine. See also Evelyn de Morgan's portrait of an older Jane Morris.

Jane Burden: How a Pre-Raphaelite Model Changed our Image of Angels --influence of Morris' image.

Rossetti's Paintings of Jane Morris--includes the famous description of "the real Jane Morris" by Henry James:

"A figure cut out of a missal--out of one of Rossetti's or Hunt's pictures--to say this gives a faint idea of her, because when such an image puts on flesh and blood, it is an apparition of fearful and wonderful intensity. It's hard to say whether she's a grand synthesis of all the Pre-Raphaelite pictures ever made--or they are a "keen analysis" of her--whether she's an original or a copy. In either case she is a wonder. Imagine a tall lean woman in a long dress of some dead purple stuff, guiltless of hoops (or of anything else I should say), with a maze of crisp black hair, heaped in a great wavy projections on each of her temples, a thin pale face, great thick black oblique brows, joined in the middle and tucking themselves away under her hair, a mouth like the 'Oriana' in our illustrated Tennyson, a long neck, without any collar, and in lieu thereof some dozen strings of outlandish beads. In fine complete."

*The Art-Sisters:  Women PR Artists

Evelyn De Morgan,

Sophie Anderson,
Portrait of a Girl

Marie S. Stillman,

Kate E. Bunce,

Women Painters and Illustrators--general introduction; many of the names/links are for Pre-Raphaelite women painters, but others fall into the more general category of Victorian women painters/illustrators.


On Yarmouth Beach, Norfolk--drawing by Christina Rossetti

The Art-Sisters Gallery: Artist Index--information about and images of artwork by many women painters (Sophie Anderson, Kate Bunce, Lucy Madox Brown, Evelyn de Morgan, Marie Spartali Stillman, Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, Mary L. Macomber, Anna Lea Merritt, Evelyn de Morgan, Emily Mary Osborn, Henrietta Rae, Emma Sandys, Marie Spartali Stillman, Marie Macdonald, Frances Macnair, and others); see also the women listed under "Book Illustrations."

Lizzie Siddal's Paintings --many links/thumbnails.


Self-Portait by Elizabeth Siddal

The Life and Work of Elizabeth Siddal--biography, images of the paintings for which she posed, and e-texts of the following Siddal poems: A Silent Wood; A Year and a Day; He and She and Angels Three; Dead Love; Early Death; Fragment of a Ballad (Many a Mile over Land and Sea); Gone; Lord May I Come?; Love and Hate; Shepherd Turned Sailor; The Lust of the Eyes; The Passing of Love; True Love; Untitled Fragments; Worn Out.

* The Rossetti-Siddal Relationship:

A Contemporary Response


Young Girl Plaiting her Hair
by Sophie Anderson

Editor's Note: After the Rossetti-Siddal relationship ended in Siddal's suicide, Rossetti was overcome with grief (and guilt?).  Evidently as an act of penance, he buried his poetry manuscript in Siddal's coffin but years later was still obsessively painting Siddal's image (see "Beata Beatrix"). Six years after Siddal's death, his reviving ambitions to publish the poems overcame his remorse. To get the manuscript, his friends dug up Siddal's coffin in the middle of the night. The enduring rumor is that to their amazement, the opened coffin revealed Siddal's beautiful hair still growing and filling every corner of the coffin. Helen Adam's allegorical ballad borrows that rumor to construct a central metaphor exploring the conflicted nature of obsessive love--both the male's and his beloved's--perhaps shedding some light on the Dante Rossetti-Lizzie Siddal relationship. (Go here for more on Helen Adam.) Readers severely disappointed in love might want to re-name the poem "The Revenge of Lizzie's Hair." Compare this contemporary version of the "dangerous woman" with the The Devouring Woman and Her Serpentine Hair in Late-Pre-Raphaelitism.

I Love My Love

by Helen Adam

In the dark of the moon the hair rules.

--Robert Duncan

There was a man who married a maid. She laughed as he led her home.

The living fleece of her long bright hair she combed with a golden comb.

He led her home through his barley fields where the saffron poppies grew.

She combed, and whispered, "I love my love." Her voice like a plaintive coo.

Ha! Ha!

Her voice like a plaintive coo.

He lived alone with his chosen bride, at first their life was sweet.

Sweet was the touch of her playful hair binding his hands and feet.

When first she murmured adoring words her words did not appall.

"I love my love with a capital A. To my love I give my All.

Ah, Ha!

To my love I give my All."

She circled him with the secret web she wove as her strong hair grew.

Like a golden spider she wove and sang, "My love is tender and true."

She combed her hair with a golden comb and shckled him to a tree.

She shackled him close to the Tree of Life. "My love I'll never set free.

No, No.

My love I'll never set free."

Whenever he broke her golden bonds he was held with bonds of gold.

"Oh! cannot a man escape from love, from Love's hot smothering hold?"

He roared with fury. He broke her bonds. He ran in the light of the sun.

Her soft hair rippled and trapped his feet, as fast as his feet could run,

Ha! Ha!

As fast as his feet could run.

He dug a grave, and he dug it wide. He strangled her in her sleep.

He strangled his love with a strand of hair, and then he buried her deep.

He buried her deep when the sun was hid by a purple thunder cloud.

Her helpless hair sprawled over the corpse in a pale resplendent shroud.

Ha! Ha!

A pale resplendent shroud.

Morning and night of thunder rain, and then it came to pass

That the hair sprang up through the earth of the grave, and it grew like golden grass.

It grew and glittered along her grave alive in the light of the sun.

Every hair had a plaintive voice, the voice of his lovely one.

"I love my love with a capital T. My love is Tender and True.

I'll love my love in the barley fields when the thunder cloud is blue.

My body crumbles beneath the ground but the hairs of my head will grow.

I'll love my love with the hairs of my head. I'll never, never let go.

Ha! Ha!

I'll never, never let go."

The hair sang soft, and the hair sang high, singing of loves that drown,

Till he took his scythe by the light of the moon, and he scythed that singing hair down.

Every hair laughed a liting laugh, and shrilled as his scythe swept through.

"I love my love with a capital T. My love is Tender and True.

Ha! Ha!

Tender, Tender, and True."

All through the night he wept and prayed, but before the first bird woke

Around the house in the barley fields blew the hair like billowing smoke.

Her hair blew over the barley fields where the slothfull poppies gape.

All day long all its voices cooed, "My love can never escape,

No, No!

My love can never escape."

"Be still, be still, you devilish hair. Glide back to the grave and sleep.

Glide back to the grave and wrap her bones down where I buried her deep.

I am the man who escaped from love, though love was my fate and doom.

Can no man ever escape from love who breaks from a woman's womb?"

Over his house, when the sun stood high, her hair was a dazzling storm,

Rolling, lashing o'er walls and roof, heavy, and soft, and warm.

It thumped on the roof, it hissed and glowed over every window pane.

The smell of the hair was in the house. It smelled like a lion's mane,

Ha! Ha!

It smelled like a lion's mane.

Three times round the bed of their love, and his heart lurched with despair.

In through the keyhole, elvish bright, came creeping a single hair.

Softly, sftly, it stroked his lips, on his eyelids traced a sign.

"I love my love with a capital Z. I mark him Zero and mine.

Ha! Ha!

I mark him Zero and mine."

The hair rushed in. He struggled and tore, but wherever he tore a tress,

"I love my love with a capital Z," sang the hair of the sorceress.

It swarmed upon him, it swaddled him fast, it muffled his every groan.

Like a golden monster it seized his flesh, and then it sought the bone,

Ha! Ha!

And then it sought the bone.

It smothered his flesh and sought the bones. Until his bones were bare

There was no sound but the joyful hiss of the sweet insatiable hair.

"I love my love," it laughed as it ran back to the grave, its home.

Then the living fleece of her long bright hair, she combed with a golden comb.


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Related Resources:

PR Women, Art, Poetry: Index

DG Rossetti & the Male Gaze

Christina Rossetti, PR Poet

PR Art-Sisters Gallery

PR Brotherhood Gallery

PR Literature & Art: Resources


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