Portraits of Elizabeth Siddal

Portrait drawing of a young woman's face

Elizabeth Siddal worked in dressmaking and millinery and became a model for several Pre-Raphaelite artists. In the early 1850s she developed a close relationship with Rossetti and became his principal obsession as model, muse and pupil.

Rossetti made a series of intense portrait drawings of her. Shy and reserved, kept by Rossetti away from polite society, she was frequently ill. Several of the drawings show her at Hastings, where she was sent by doctors for a change of air.

After much hesitation he married her in 1860. The following year she gave birth to a stillborn child and in 1862 she died tragically from an overdose of laudanum. She had probably been suffering from post-natal depression. It is not clear whether her death was an accident or suicide.