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Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy Of A Pre Raphaelite Supermodel

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  475 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The highly acclaimed biography of the Pre-Raphaelite artists' muse

The supermodel did not arrive when Twiggy first donned false eyelashes; the concept began more than 100 years previously, with a young artists' model whose face captivated a generation. Saved from the drudgery of a working-class existence by a young Pre-Raphaelite artist, Lizzie Siddal rose to become one of
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Hardcover
Published September 1st 2004 by Andre Deutsch Ltd (first published 2004)
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Natalie
Apr 11, 2011 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My ex boyfriend - my greatest love - used to think I was a pre-Raphaellite and he used to leave pictures of Lizzie on my bed when he found them in old books or art magazines; because he knew I loved her.

Once, we went to the most enchanted forest and camped there. One day when we were walking, we found a patch under a treee with a bed of all these beautiful wild flowers. My ex asked me to lay on it, in my old floral dress, and my long hair everywhere, and i pretended I was dead amongst the flowe
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Lisa
Feb 02, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth "Lizzie" Siddal is one of the most famous women associated with the Pre-Raphaelite art movement – and one of its most iconic and celebrated models. Beautiful – though not by the standards of the day – her fame was gained not only through her arresting looks, but her tumultuous relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti and her suicide.

Author Lucinda Hawksley traces the tragically short life of Siddal in Lizzie Siddal: The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel, succeeding not only in th
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Linda Lipko
I love and I am fascinated by the sheer beauty and detail of Pre-Raphaelite art.
I abhor self-centered, egotistical men, manipulative, conniving women, and the hypocritical Victorian era.
This book combined a tale of some of the things I love and some of those I detest.

From the poorer socioeconomic scale, the former hat shop girl Lizzie Siddal was hauntingly beautiful. Hers was the face used by many of the Pre-Raphaelite artists. Waif like and mesmerizing, Lizzie captured the hearts of many, but l
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Elizabeth
How could I resist a biography of the woman who made red hair fashionable? Nevertheless, 'Lizzie Siddal' is a desperately sad read of mental illness, opium addiction, bitter betrayal and unfulfilled potential. Romantic as the Pre-Raphaelite movement may seem to us now, this book left me profoundly grateful that I live in the era I do now and that I'm free to pursue both a career and creative endeavors, and I don't have to wait nearly ten years for some nut-case, self-obsessed painter to give my ...more
Marita
This is an interesting and well written biography of Lizzie Siddal, the striking red-haired girl (an artist herself) who befriended the Pre-Raphaelite artists and modelled for them. It is however a rather depressing tale. Lizzie was insecure, manipulative, addicted to Laudanum and she died at a young age. I read with horror how laudanum (a tincture of opium and alcohol) was dispensed at "the greengrocer, the barber, the ironmonger or at market stalls", and commonly used to spike babies' bottles ...more
Em
Feb 29, 2016 Em rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-history
The subtitle use of the word 'supermodel' nearly put me off reading this at all, thinking it might be a high gloss, retouched, overview of the life of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, later known as Lizzie Siddal. However Hawksley concisely covers both the parts of Lizzie Siddal that were admirable and remarkable. But also doesn't shy away from the aspects of this woman who has also been characterized as haughty, sullen, and manipulative.

Lizzie Siddal has come to be the most well-known of the Pre-Rap
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Chiara
Quale miniera d’oro sui preraffaelliti, Rossetti in particolare, e la loro vita! E’ stato pubblicato così poco sull’argomento in lingua italiana (non parlo di saggi d’arte, ma proprio di biografie) che questo libro su Lizzie Siddal mi è sembrato un miraggio. Invece no, è vero ed è perfetto. Chiaro, coinciso, coinvolgente ma soprattutto ben documentato. C’è una bibliografia che non finisce mai e nulla è stato inventato o romanzato. Ecco i fatti, se non proprio come sono accaduti, come probabilmen ...more
Elizabeth
Feb 22, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
A friend of mine told me about this book and having always loved Pre-Raphaelite art, I knew that I had to read it.

This tells the story of one of the great models of the era: Lizzie Siddal. She modeled for many of the artists of the era including the man who she fell into a tortured relationship with: Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

This was quite a fascinating biography and I learned a lot about that group of artists and their lifestyle.

Poor Lizzie--she really led a sad life full of untreated mental ill
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Roisin
Oct 15, 2015 Roisin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating history of the life of a Victorian woman from a working class background who rose to being a popular model and muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Elisabeth Siddal. Her unusual looks, and her red-flamed hair was much admired. I'm highly familiar with the Pre-Raphaelites, so knew some of the information already, but wanted to know more about Elisabeth Siddal who is mainly known as the wife and inspiration of Dante Rossetti. Yet, she was not only a model, but also an arti ...more
Michelle
As an art history major, I didn't spend much time with the Pre-Raphaelites. As a huge fan of Whistler, I spent more time with Pre-Raphaelite supporter and art critic, John Ruskin. But I've been interested to learn more about them, and where better to start than with one of their most iconic muses?

Lizzie Siddal was discovered in a fashionable milliner's shop in London, and soon became a model for a number of the Pre-Raphaelites. She and Dante Gabriel Rossetti quickly became an item. Their relatio
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Ffiamma
Apr 16, 2014 Ffiamma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: donne, uk, nonfiction
rigorosa e accurata biografia di elizabeth siddal, musa di molti preraffaelliti e moglie di dante gabriel rossetti. l'autrice mostra la vita di una donna forse troppo moderna per i suoi tempi e sopraffatta dalla sua fragilità- che, insieme alla tormentata storia d'amore ampiamente documentata- la porterà alla dipendenza dal laudano e alla morte, quasi sicuramente autoinflitta, ad appena trentadue anni. di lei restano i quadri magnifici che l'hanno resa famosa, alcune struggenti poesie e delizios ...more
Laura Lee
Dec 23, 2015 Laura Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written. Obviously well researched. Read much like a novel. Had just been to exhibit of Pre-Raphalite paintings and this really added to my enjoyment.
Leslie
Sep 09, 2011 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This well written and apparently well researched biography tells about the life of the Pre-Raphaelite's super model Lizzie Siddal. Her manipulative, addictive, emaciated, and depressed behavior as well as her strong connection to the group of talented artists, poets, and critics was clearly shown. Her talents were wasted by her laudanum addiction and her relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti was like a roller coaster ride that more often than not ended in a downward trend.
Stonemed
Dec 06, 2014 Stonemed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una biografia davvero completa, interessante e a tratti commovente. L'autrice è riuscita a riportare alla luce l'icona splendente di Lizzie, attraverso la sua storia avvolta a doppio filo a quella della Confraternita dei Pre-Raffaelliti, ma anche a raccontare di una donna vittima dei suoi tempi, delle costrizioni dettate dalla società vittoriana. La figura di Lizzie viene ritratta non solo come musa immortale, ma anche analizzata nei suoi tratti più umani e "mortali", nelle sue ombre insieme all ...more
Roberta
Jun 09, 2014 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arte, biografie
Ho sempre apprezzato molto i quadri dei Preraffaelliti, e quelli di Rossetti non fanno eccezione. Anzi, sono stati forse i primi che ho conosciuto, e li ho sempre trovati molto affascinanti, soprattutto i ritratti femminili. Proprio per questo sono in parte un po' pentita di aver letto questa biografia, perché mi ha svelato il lato umano di Rossetti e di Elizabeth Siddal - due individui che nella vita reale avrei molto probabilmente compatito, se non addirittura disprezzato - e mi ha per forza s ...more
Dana Loo
Oct 21, 2015 Dana Loo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Estasi e tormento la relazione tra Rossetti e Lizzie Siddal, due anime tormentate che svela, accanto alla crescita del loro genio creativo, sopratutto le debolezze caratteriali di entrambi i personaggi. Molto emotiva, manipolatrice, possessiva e insicura lei; sentimentalmente e artisticamente inquieto lui oltre che volubile e vigliacco nel tergiversare e illudere la sua musa ispiratrice...
Ma la ricostruzione biografica di Lucinda Hawksley, pronipote di Dickens, è anche il resoconto dettagliato,
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Kristin Lundberg
I've read a lot of books and have done extensive research on Ms. Siddal (Mrs. Rossetti) and Ms. Hawksley's book is one I enjoy reading over and over again. I think I may have read this particular book close to twelve times now. It's not only full of the details of her life, but sets the tone quite dramatically for the Victorian era and all that came with it. I LOVE where she intersperses quotes from letters written by Rossetti and Lizzie themselves, as well as her trademark paintings which she a ...more
Sonja Francisco
Aug 11, 2015 Sonja Francisco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ophelia's tragic suicide in Shakespeare's Hamlet has always been a moving moment captured perfectly in John Everett Millais's Ophelia painting (scene on the cover of this book). I had never thought about the woman who posed as Ophelia herself.
This nicely written biography shows the tragic tale of this beautiful woman who lived the tiring and troubling life of a supermodel before the term was even coined. With a star crossed love story to boot.
Lizzie Siddal is a fascinating book about a much fo
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Sarah
Dec 26, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this biography immensely and read it straight through in less than two days. A very tragic tale of depression, addiction and I suppose you could call it romance (or unhealthy obsession)- it was never going to be a happy read, but the writer's style is engaging and sympathetic yet factual enough to make you feel involved yet critical.

The book also imparts an awful lot more than expected about an era in artistic history I, personally, knew very little about. For instance the coining of
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Lisbeth
Aug 17, 2015 Lisbeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Lizzie Siddal was one of the models used by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The group were always looking for "Stunners" as Dante Gabriel Rosetti called them. That meant, someone with a personality that could shine through their paintings. In Lizzie they found one of the most charismatic ones. Unfortunately for her, she had a weak constitution and when falling in love with Rosetti, her life seemed a constant worry to keep him, since he had an eye for beautiful women.

Lucinda Hawksley has written
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Erin
Lizzie Siddal
description

description
Miniature of Elizabeth Siddall,attributed to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

description
Rossetti sitting to Lizzie Siddal, Sept. 1853

description
Self-Portrait by Lizzie Siddal

From hat shop girl to Pre-Rapaelite super model to artist & poet to wife of one of the most renowned artist of his era (the Beatrice to his Dante) to tragic story of addiction and death, Lizzie Siddel is known for all these things-more so for her image in The Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood's paintings.
What is little known is the fact that Sidd
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Rachel
I have been fascinated with Pre-Raphaelites since I first saw an exhibition of them in the Tate. My favorite PRB member is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and since she was his lover and muse for so long, of course I had heard of her. Lizzie Siddal was a tragic and depressed woman, partly of her own making and partly because Rossetti was a douchebag who promised to marry her for 8 years and then only did so because she was dying (she got better). His influence, although harmful in the long run, did her ...more
Amy
Apr 11, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a love-hate thing going on with me for several reasons. The first is that I wrote my dissertation on this topic, and this book came out just a few years after I finished and defended. Obviously, the subject is near and dear to my heart--probably more than I can put into words. Second, there are many assumptions that are made in the book--some of them based on some type of evidence and some not. While I was writing, I was encouraged to make similar assumptions; it was uncomfortable ...more
Poppy Coles
Jan 02, 2016 Poppy Coles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A captivating biography - I just couldn't put it down! Lucinda Hawksley gives a voice to a remarkable, but troubled young woman, muse of the Pre-Raphaelites, who died so tragically, and I now feel almost as though I had been acquainted with the woman behind the face that appears in so many of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood's artworks.
Francesca
Mar 08, 2014 Francesca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comprato in un impeto d'amore alla Tate Britain in novembre. Intenso, facile da leggere, ha ridato vita ad una storia che già conoscevo e che ho imparato ad apprezzare ancora di più. Rossetti e Lizzie non hanno nulla da invidiare alle rockstar odierne. Stessi tumulti, stessi dolori, stessi finali. Ars longa vita brevis.
Susan
Jun 23, 2016 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Very interesting characters, a view in to a time and place that is a favorite, the struggle of artists. But, there was so much listing of facts that the flow of the story was lost and it became a bit like a textbook. Sometimes I want to just review the editor, not the author, as it was well researched and written.
madeline
This book was rad; although more biographical in flavor, I found myself taken purely by the drama of the story. Plus, it's difficult to pass up such a fascinating read on one of my favorite Art History movements.
Linda
Apr 26, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read-it gave me all the information I needed and wanted without being overly wordy. It was a short read but very interesting. I would highly recommend it. Enjoy!
Anne
Apr 14, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting book. I confess I was drawn to it only because of the cover. One of my favourites of Pre-Raphaelite art. Life of Lizzie Siddal was not an easy one. And this book gives as good account of it as any. Her life was full of drama but the book is not passing any judgements which is always refreshing. With topic like Lizzie Siddal it would be only too easy to wallow in scandals and forget the real woman in the middle of it all.
I actually had no idea she was also a poet. I found
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Niall519
I knew it would be a sad read, but it turned out to be even more of a slog than I expected. Too many echoes of recent personal events to be able to balance out the historical or artistic interest.

It's had the opposite effect of what I suspect was intended. I now hate the Rosettis. All of them. Their poetry, painting, and drawing (although I maintain that Dante was a better draftsman than painter by a long shot). Their histrionics left me tired and grim, and not missing some of the more intense a
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Endicott Mythic F...: * Lizzie Siddal - discussion 16 38 Sep 29, 2012 07:42AM  
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Lucinda Hawksley is a British biographer, author and lecturer. She is the great-great-great-granddaughter of Victorian novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine. Hawksley is an award-winning travel writer.
More about Lucinda Hawksley...

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