In the early 1850’s, Walter Howell Deverell (1827-1854) asked Siddal to model for Viola in his Twelfth Night (pictured; detail of left figure). Her tall physique, porcelain skin, and beautiful coppery-red hair inspired other Pre-Raphaelite artists to use her as a model as well (Elizabeth; Walter).
In Deverell’s work, we get a glimpse of Siddal’s fiery red hair that frames her delicate features. One can almost feel the smoothness of her fine tresses as they glint with copper, shimmering in the light and ending in curly tendrils that softly brush her neck.
There is a liveliness to her pale skin. A faint, rosy blush canvases her cheeks and spreads across her nose. Her lips are warmly tinted and she is clothed in a brilliant, red silk or satin dress that catches the light with luster.
I get a sense of passion from her attire and how Deverell has painted her with such vitality. However, her expression is very guarded or bland in comparison. There is a look of slight boredom or uncertainty on her face. Not knowing the story behind this work I can only make assumptions to what is happening within the work. Eventually, I would love to have a post on Deverell’s Twelfth Night, so check back in!
“Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal (1834-1862)”. The Victorian Web. 16 Sep. 2006. Web. 4 Mar. 2013. http://www.victorianweb.org/
“Walter Deverell”. ArtStor. ArtStor, Inc., 2012. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. http://www.artstor.org.