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Ink sketch by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'Elizabeth Siddal, Seated at an Easel', 1852, on cover of 'Elizabeth Siddal', by Pallas Athene.

Elizabeth Siddal

Her Story

By (author) Jan Marsh


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  • Jan Marsh examines Elizabeth Siddal’s story to coincide with The Rossetti’s exhibition at Tate Britain
  • Richly illustrated
Full Description

Elizabeth Siddal is remembered as a Pre-Raphaelite supermodel and the muse and wife of Gabriel Rossetti. She is cast as a tragic heroine much like the Ophelia she modelled in the renowned Millais painting. But Elizabeth Siddal: Her Story overturns this myth. ‘Lizzie’ is presented as an aspirational and independent woman who knew what she wanted and was not afraid to let it be known.

With extraordinary stories, including previously undiscovered details of Siddal’s journeys across the UK and to the south of France, Jan Marsh reclaims Siddal’s narrative from the historical record. She brings new perspective to the post-natal, mental trauma Elizabeth suffered after a stillbirth. Furthermore, she casts new light on the renowned story of Siddal’s grave being exhumed for Rossetti’s poems.

Jan Marsh explores the finer, little known details of Siddal’s life, including her four months at art school in Sheffield, which Rossetti’s brother always denied. In addition to this, few will know how Siddal was often regarded as difficult and ungrateful.

Historical record tends to forget or misremember women, but with Elizabeth Siddal: Her Story, Jan Marsh forces us to take a closer look and see a very different picture. Siddal was not passive and lacking in agency, she was a woman with a strong mind, flourishing career and an admirable talent.

About the Author

Jan Marsh is a biographer and curator who pioneered the feminist understanding of women in the artistic circle around the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She followed this with individual life stories and scholarly studies that bring hitherto neglected women into the historical record, together with ground-breaking exhibitions, notably Pre-Raphaelite Sisters at the National Portrait Gallery in 2019-20. In Elizabeth Siddal: Her Story she presents a radical new account of the celebrated Pre-Raphaelite model and artist, who died tragically young.

Look Inside
Pallas Athene
9th May 2023
Paperback / softback
198 mm x 165 mm
160 Pages
89 color, 12 b&w
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