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Elizabeth Siddal was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelite circle by Walter Deverell in 1850. Her striking looks were the inspiration for many of Rossetti's pictures, and continued to exert their power even after her death twelve years later. By 1854 it seemed that she and Rossetti might marry, but it was only in 1860 that he finally agreed to wed her. Before meeting Rossetti, Siddal had made her own untutored drawings, but with his encouragement she produced a number of haunting and original watercolours. John Ruskin, who provided some financial support, considered her one of the five geniuses he had encountered in his life (the others were J.M.W.Turner, G.F.Watts, J.E.Millais and Rossetti).

September 2004