‘To yearn for something – doesn’t that make life more intense?’
Lizzie Siddal is a new play that tells the dramatic story of the woman who was ‘Ophelia’ in Millais' famous painting. It charts her dazzling trajectory from model to lover to artist, to a tragic figure in her own right.
London, 1849. Lizzie is plucked from the obscurity of a bonnet shop to model for the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood - an intoxicating group of young painters bent on revolutionising the Victorian art world.
Inspired by their passion and ambition, she throws herself headlong into their lives and their art - nearly dying in the creation of 'Ophelia'. The painting is a triumph. But Lizzie wants more and dares to dream of being a painter herself.
Falling for their charismatic leader Dante Gabriel Rossetti, she becomes his muse and his lover and, against the odds, does succeed in winning independence as a female artist. She even secures a sponsor - the great critic, John Ruskin. But independence isn't always what it seems, love can be fickle - and all art is a kind of deception. Lizzie is betrayed, and her response sparks a tragic denouement that still stirs debate to this day.
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