Madeleine Emerald Thiele

The Victorian Butterfly muses upon Art, Angels & other stuff in between.



Rossetti’s Coffin Confession to Swinburne

This is a transcript of a letter sent by Rossetti to his friend Swinburne, some weeks after Lizzie Siddal's body had been exhumed from her grave in order that his poetry manuscript could be retrieved. Rossetti didn't attend this ghoulish... Continue Reading →


Rossetti’s Romantic Coffin Gesture

Elizabeth Siddal died on the 11th February, 1862 from a possible suicide, or probable overdose. She was buried six days later, on the 17th February at Highgate Cemetery in the Rossetti family grave. During the funeral, her husband, poet and... Continue Reading →

Virginia Surtees

Virginia Surtees (9th January 1917 – 22nd September 2017) was an English art historian and author. Surtees lived to the fine old age of one hundred and is best remembered as an ‘Art historian who broke new ground in the study of Dante... Continue Reading →

Highgate Cemetery

When Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839, it looked very different to the green ivy-covered gothic (small g) evocation that it is now. Back then, as The Penny Magazine wrote: the landscape was manicured and formal with ‘parterres of sweet-scented flowers,... Continue Reading →

Henry James and Hendrik Christian Andersen

Henry James met the sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen in Rome in 1899. Andersen was thirty years his junior but the two developed a close relationship and maintained correspondence for around fifteen years. On encountering Andersen, James was enamoured with him... Continue Reading →

Kelmscott Manor

A visit to Kelmscott Manor is a changing experience. In the last few years, the volunteers seem to have gone up a notch in their knowledge, the salads easily compete with the jacket potatoes (when available), and the shop has... Continue Reading →

Constance Holland

Constance Mary Holland (2nd January 1859 – 7th April 1898) was buried at 4pm on the 9th of April 1898 in the Protestant section of the Campo Santo cemetery in Genoa. The 'Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno' is a cemetery based... Continue Reading →

HMS Warrior: A Victorian Masterpiece

HMS Warrior is a Victorian vessel whose home is now Portsmouth Historical Dockyard. She was built to counter French advancements in naval ship building and in her day, HMS Warrior was the largest, fastest and most innovative warship throughout the... Continue Reading →

The Ruskin Road Gang

John Ruskin, leading nineteenth century thinker, critic, artist, general man of unimpeachable talents and genius, was also a man of social conscience. Prone to considering all detail, from noticing the most minor daub in a painting to the tiniest vein... Continue Reading →

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