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The book tells the stories of some of the most famous of the pre-Raphaelite 'stunners' - Lizzie Siddal, Fanny Cornforth, Annie Miller, Jane Morris, Emma Brown and Georgiana Burne-Jones. I like the fact that this book gives a more rounded picture of women we know only from their painted representations and a few sensational myths. Marsh is also good on the socio-economic realities of the life of working-class girls and their sometimes uneasy relationships with the middle-class painters for whom they were muses, wives, partners, lovers, pupils. I'm far more interested in the lives of Jane Morris and Lizzie Siddal than I am in the lives of William Morris and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The men are fairly straightforward, it's the women who are mysterious, enigmatic, fascinating. I want to get to know the women behind the paintings. What did they think about as they posed? Were they bored? What did they think of the paintings, did they recognise themselves, identify with the women they portrayed? Why does Jane always look so miserable, even angry, in photographs of her? [July 2004]
Found this very helpful and insightful. Quite a few other books i've read on this subject seem to have used much of the ideas from this as well. A good point of reference and a good read by itself.