OPHELIA / JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS / 1851-52 / OIL ON CANVAS / 76.2CM BY 111.8CM
Her name was Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall,
I thought you should know. She posed
for him in a bathtub in the midwinter,
only oil lamps for warmth. A
porcelain coffin for our drowned woman.
Six days a week, eleven hours a day,
little more than a sunken corpse. A bath full
of river water. Her
name was Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, and
she was just a drowned woman. Just a drowned
woman in a bathtub. A
porcelain river for a cold wash.
She was Elizabeth Eleanor
Siddall; look and see the willow lean down from its
tangle of nettles to brush the hair
from her face. She was a poet
and a painter too, this drowned woman. She was called
Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall and all this drowned
woman’s business left her quite unwell. They
carried her to her own wedding, for she
was drowned and could not
walk. It was a Wednesday wedding. Her bridal
dress waterlogged and heavy, dripping
sequins and violets. Marriage of woman
to river, tidal sweep of bedsheets in a bath
full of duckweed.
She was thirty-three and mother to a still babe
when she drowned herself in the muddy banks of
laudanum, our Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall. A crown
of pond sedge and meadowsweet
and snake’s head fritillary for a drowned
woman. Her name was Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall.
I just thought you should know.
Claire has too many plants in her bedroom. She keeps buying more. It's becoming a problem.