35mm Colour Film and photographic print edition.
signed and numbered and inspiration verso
(Oracles of nature series)
Francis A Willey
This image was originally inspired by Sir John Everett Millais' Ophelia:
It was not the image but the story behind the creation of the Ophelia Painting between 1851-1852 that led me to create Lady Iliad.
Millais hired Elizabeth Siddal to pose for Ophelia,
then 19 years old. Millais had Siddal lie fully clothed in a full bathtub in his studio at 7 Gower Street in London. As it was now winter, he placed oil lamps under the tub to warm the water but was so intent on his work that he allowed them to go out. As a result, Siddal subsequently was hospitalized with pneumonia. the rudimentary lamps which were warming her broke Lizzie passed out from cold. She caught pneumonia that will cause permanent damages and she started to make use of laudanum, a very potent mixture made from opium, in order to relieve her pain.
Millais paid medical expenses, Elizabeth’s father who then ordered Millais to pay the fifty medical bills. The matter was settled and Miss Siddal recovered quickly.
Siddall In the same year, she met Dante Gabriele Rossetti and become his muse, pupil, and lover. Despite her poor health, she continued to paint under the guidance of the painter and she manages to exhibit a series of oil self-portraits in the pre-Raphaelite environment.
After reading this story in artistic history, I decided to create an image that would be the ‘Resurrection Ophelia: and title it, ‘Lady Illiad’. Dedicated to all the women that have sacrificed their health and time and energies and inspirations and aspirations for great art. The Iliad, Homers Epic an invocation to the Muses and to balance out a series of miseries or disastrous events and have a woman in gold rising from the water.
I surveyed the location so the light and tree shadows would be healing and mysterious. I created a rock mini bridge to stand on to be able to capture the entire form without distortion.
I asked Sanja Lukač to model for me- the water was warm. The fabric she is adorned in is from India (1920's) all hand-sewn embroidered silk with gold and cerulean blue sequins. Sequins were being used as decoration on clothing or paraphernalia in the Indus Valley as early as 2500BC.
Much time and thought go into staging a piece of art so it pays the right tribute.
Thank you for reading
Francis A Willey
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