In 2009, the British Broadcasting Corporation (specifically BBC2) aired a six-part miniseries called Desperate Romantics, a fictionalized account of the lives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. It was based on Franny Moyle's factual book, Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites, but the screenwriters felt free to use creative license to make a more 'modern' drama. If it has ever played in the United States, I missed seeing the show. This may have not been a bad thing, however, as many critics panned the series, and not just for its historical inaccuracies.
Whether or not the miniseries was disappointing, I cannot say, but the still images, especially those illustrating Lizzie Siddal modeling for John Everett Milais' Ophelia, have been wonderful. In the pictures, actress Amy Manson was given the unenviable task of lying in a cold bathtub through in the winter months while driven artist Millais strives for perfection in his painting of her. I love the way the actual story behind the painting was brought to life in these photographs (the video of the scene is not as appealing to me as the stills).
|The fictional character Fred Walters (Sam Crane) lowers Lizzie Siddal (Amy Manson) into the bathtub.|
"In the mid-19th century, a group of young men challenged the art establishment of the day. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were inspired by the real world about them, yet took imaginative licence in their art. This story, based on their lives and loves, follows in that inventive spirit." - the disclaimer shown at the beginning of each episode of the series.
|John Everett Millais (Samuel Barnett), Fred Walters (Sam Crane), Dante Gabriel Rossetti (Aidan Turner),|
and William Holman Hunt (Rafe Spall)
|William Holman Hunt (Rafe Spall) at his easel while Annie Miller (Jennie Jacques) and |
Dante Gabriel Rosetti (Aidan Turner) look on.
¹ John Guille Millais, The Life and Letters of Sir John Everett Millais, President of the Royal Academy, 1899, (Methuen & Co., London), p. 144.