Good Reading : July 2017
GOODREADINGMAGAZINE.COM.AU GOOD READING JULY 2017 16 L izzie Siddal, discovered working in a milliner’s shop, became one of the most famous faces of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. She fell dangerously ill after lying for hours in a bathtub of freezing water while posing as Ophelia for John Everett Millais. Prescribed laudanum, she soon became helplessly addicted. Lizzie and Dante Gabriel Rossetti were lovers, but their relationship was rocked by his infidelities and her eating disorders. As she lay dying, Rossetti promised to wed her if she would only recover. They were married 10 years after meeting, but the birth of a dead child sent Lizzie spiralling into despair. She died of a laudanum overdose in 1862. Rossetti buried the only copy of his poetry with her, but seven years later he had her coffin exhumed to retrieve the manuscript. Her ghost haunted him for years. Raised in an Oxford slum, the daughter of a stableman and an illiterate laundry maid, Janey Burden was just 17 years old when she was spotted in the audience of a travelling theatre group by Rossetti and his young follower, Edward Burne-Jones. Janey and Rossetti had a brief fling, but after he returned to Lizzie, Janey married Burne-Jones’s best friend, William Morr is. They had two daughters, Jenny and May. After Lizzie’s death, Janey and Rossetti began a passionate affair. Morris not only countenanced the affair but also arranged matters so Janey and Rossetti could share their summers together while he travelled to Iceland. Rossetti wrote some of his most exquisite love poetry for Janey, and he painted her so many times that her face became famous. The daughter of a Methodist preacher, Georgie Four muses BEHIND THE BOOK 1 Elizabeth Siddal, drawn by Dante Gabriel Rosse i Beata Beatrix by Dante Gabriel Rosse i. This tribute to Lizzie Siddal incorporates a poppy flower being delivered to her hands by a dove. Opium is derived from poppies; the dove delivers to her the very source of the ingredient that killed her. Four muses Four muses Beauty in Thorns, a reimagining of the story of ‘Sleeping Beauty’ set in the 19th-century world of the Pre-Raphaelites, is told in the voices of four women intimately involved with four famous artists. KATE FORSYTH, author of the novel, recounts the life stories of these muses, mistresses, wives and daughters.