The Haunted Wood
Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Eleanor Siddal, Mrs Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Holborn 1829 – Chatham Place, London 1862)
Gouache on paper, The Haunted Wood by Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Eleanor Siddal, Mrs Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Holborn 1829 – Chatham Place, London 1862), 1856. A figure in a blue robe recoiling from an apparition which appears among the trees. Wide giltwood mount, glazed in tainted giltwood frame.
This one was one of the few artworks Siddal exhibited during her lifetime. Created in 1856, 'The Haunted Wood' was shown at the 1857 Pre-Raphaelite exhibition, organised by Ford Madox Brown at Russell Place, London. Siddal's poem 'A Silent Wood' may have inspired or been inspired by this artwork. The two figures appear similar and the ghost may represent a doppelgänger, a double of the living woman. A sign of approaching death. Imagery about the doppelgänger can be found in poems admired by Rossetti and Siddal such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning's 1836 'The Romaunt of Margret'. Browning (1806-1861) was one of the most famous and prolific poets of the Victorian period and Ruskin presented Siddal with a specially-bound edition of Browning’s poetic sequence on Italian Liberty. Rossetti drew inspiration from Siddal's art and his later painting 'How They Met Themselves' shows a similar scene of a woman reaching for her mirror image- a copy of this composition by his studio assistant, Henry Treffry Dunn, can be seen in the Swinburne cabinet in the Oak Room at Wightwick. Ghosts and supernatural happenings were popular subjects in the Victorian era due to the popularity of folk legends and fairy tales. Many artists and writers work was inspired by these tales instead of the heroic legends of classical myth. Siddal did not receive a classical education and her subjects reveal her personal interests.
William Michael Rossetti (1829 – 1919); thence by descent to his daughter, Helen Maria Rossetti, Mrs Gastone Angeli (1879 - 1969) and her daughter Imogene Angeli, Mrs Dennis (d. 1993); on loan to Wightwick Manor from her daughter, Helen Dennis, Mrs Guglielmini and given to the National Trust by her in November 2001
Marks and inscriptions
Elizabeth Rossetti (Siddall) THe Haunted Wood (label and written ink)
Makers and roles
Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Eleanor Siddal, Mrs Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Holborn 1829 – Chatham Place, London 1862), artist