I recently started tweeting more frequently again (this is my second or third time trying twitter, I'm hoping it sticks). When I saw "Rejected Princesses" come up in Gail Carriger's twitter feed I checked it out. The link led to an imgur account but I followed the address on the incredible pictures and found the site: Rejected Princesses.
The pictures are by Jason Porath who used to work for DreamWorks. Not only are the images beautiful, he's got good descriptions of what these women did as well as notes on the artwork explaining their historical accuracy.
The premise is that these women were rejected for Disney style movie treatments because their stories are pretty brutal. Take, for example Wu Zetian:
Introducing Wu Zetian, first and only female Emperor of China — seen here poisoning her infant daughter.
Now, that’s actually a bit of a historical inaccuracy: the generally-accepted truth was that she *strangled* her young daughter, to frame the old queen and get her out of the way. It worked — both the old queen and the old queen’s mother were executed, and haunted her from that point forward. I thought they’d make good comic relief characters in the movie adaptation. ...If you want to read more about Wu Zetian go here.
Conversely, if you want a great book you can read on the subject, check out Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie. It's a lot of fun.