Victorian Bullshit and Co.

Miscellaneous bits of History, Literature, Victorians, and Art.

Choosing, 1864 (top) and Found Drowned, 1867 by George Frederic Watts.

The model for the top portrait was Watt’s 16 year old wife, Ellen Terry (who would later become one of the most celebrated actresses on the English stage). Watts’ surrounded his “child-wife” with a little court of his middle aged female friends, who subjected Terry to humiliating surveillance and made sure she did not to open her mouth in front of Watts’ distinguished guests. 

After ten months of marriage, she ran away with a progressive architect, Edward Godwin. She left a note containing only two words, “Found Drowned”, attached to a photograph of Watts. The reference is to a painting by Watts, which, as Terry said, depicted “the wreck of a young girl’s life”. 

  • 12 October 2012
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