The Lady of Shalott c. 1860

Hunt,The Lady of Shalott

The picture illustrates a scene from a ballad by the romantic poet Alfred Lord Tennyson The Lady of Shalott

This lady lives near King Arthur's court; she is under a curse and must weave a tapestry of the view from her castle window which she is only allowed to look at through her mirror. When the handsome knight Sir Lancelot passes by, she looks at him directly: the curse descends on her. She dies in a boat which takes her body to Camelot.

The topic and the execution of the painting are typical of the Pre-Raphaelite painters with their interest in the mediaeval period, which they perceived as a better one than their own, and their scrupulous attention to detail.

William Holman Hunt (1827-1910)
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