Painters Paintings John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917): The Lady of Shalott, 1888, Oil on canvas,…
Painters Work John William Waterhouse (1849 – 1917): The Girl of Shalott, 1888, Oil on canvas, 153 x 200 cm, Tate Gallery, London
Waterhouse’s ‘The Girl of Shalott’ illustrates a scene from Alfred Tennyson’s poem of the identical title.
Tennyson’s poem, first printed in 1832, tells of a girl who suffers below an undisclosed curse. She lives remoted in a tower on an island referred to as Shalott, on a river which flows down from King Arthur’s fortress at Camelot. Not daring to look upon actuality, she is allowed to see the surface world solely by means of its reflection in a mirror. Someday she glimpses the mirrored picture of the good-looking knight Lancelot, and can’t resist him immediately. The mirror cracks backward and forward, and she or he feels the curse come across her. The punishment that follows leads to her drifting in her boat downstream to Camelot ‘singing her final music’, however dying earlier than she reaches there. Her frozen physique was discovered shortly afterwards by the knights and girls of Camelot, one in every of whom is Lancelot, who prayed to God to have mercy on her soul. The tapestry she wove throughout her imprisonment was discovered draped over the facet of the boat.
It’s usually Pre-Raphaelite in that it illustrates a weak and doomed girl and is bathed in pure early-evening mild. Waterhouse reveals the woman letting go the boat’s chain, whereas watching a crucifix positioned in entrance of three guttering candles. Through the late nineteenth century, candles had been typically used to symbolise life: on this picture, two have blown out.
The panorama setting is extremely naturalistic; the portray was made throughout Waterhouse’s temporary interval of plein-air portray. The setting is just not recognized, though the Waterhouses steadily visited Somerset and Devon. The mannequin is historically mentioned to be the artist’s spouse. (Tate.org)