Rossetti and the Goitrous Necks: 1. Lizzie

Siddall 2 2019

Elizabeth Siddal was the muse/model/mistress and later, wife, of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). He, and others of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (she also starred as Millais’ Ophelia), were besotted with her long red hair, pale skin, slimness, languorous appearance and it seems her neck, which is somewhat swollen and frequently the central point.

She may have had tuberculosis, and died quite young, perhaps of a laudanum overdose. It has also been suggested that, coming from a poor background, she might have had a smooth neck goitre related to iodine deficiency.

Rossetti added to the morbidly gothic image by getting friends to retrieve his poems (suitably disinfected by a doctor) from her grave seven years after the burial in Highgate Cemetery. It was rumoured that she was little decomposed and that her red-gold hair filled the coffin. And yes, it is very likely Bram Stoker knew of this, as his good friend Hall Caine had been Rossetti’s secretary.

 

 

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Railings Around the Tomb

Tomb 2 2017

Are the railings round the tomb to prevent body-snatchers and medical students getting in?

Or are they perhaps to prevent something Undead getting out?

For Halloween movie watching I recommend ‘City of the Dead’, first of many great horror films from my husband Milton Subotsky.

Buried Alive

Oskar Buried ed 2017 2

My versatile nephew Oskar McCarthy will be singing from his coffin on 28th October 2017 at the Pleasance Theatre, London. It’s a semi-staged recital of poems by Gottfried Keller (1819-1890) with music by Othmar Schoek.

For more details of this candle-lit and macabre event see www.buried-alive.org.

P.S. My grandfather Lou McCarthy did actually wake up on a mortuary slab…