Waterhouse John - The Lady of Shalott
This painting of The Lady of Shalott by John Waterhouse is a representation of a scene from Alfred, a poem written by Lord Tennyson in 1832. Some unknown curse was placed on the Lady of Shalott where she could not look directly into the outside world, all she could do was look out through a mirror. After viewing Sir Lancelot through the mirror she developed an unrequited love for the Knight. One day she dared to look at him directly and not through her mirror. This scene shows the Lady of Shalott trying to escape her curse. However, with two of the three candles out on the front of the boat means that the end of her life is near and she is not going to escape. The story is thought to be loosely based on Elaine of Astolat. The artwork illustrated the following lines from part IV of the poem of Alfred:
And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance
Seeing all his own mischance
With glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot
And at the Closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay
The broad stream bore her far away
The Lady of Shalott.
The original of this oil on canvas is now at the Tate Museum and is one of the original pictures donated by Sir Henry Tate to start the museum. The model for The Lady of Shalott is thought to have been the artist's wife. This has become one of the favorite pictures in the country of England.
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