The Lady of Shalott (c.1886-1905)

Hunt, William Holman (1827-1910)

The Lady of Shalott
Oil on canvas, 188.3 x 146.4 cm
Wadsworth AtheneumHartford

“Do not forsake your duties” is the overall message Hunt wanted to convey in his painting. The Lady, heroine of a Tennyson poem, is entangled in the threads of her weaving which she has to abandon because she glanced out the forbidden window. The elaborate frame Hunt designed alludes to the tragic end of the Lady; the urn on the base is for her ashes. This is the last painting Hunt completed, having spent nearly twenty years perfecting each detail. In order to achieve the highly finished style, Hunt used pure colors over a white background, a fourteenth-century practice adopted by the Pre-Raphaelites. (WA)

See also:

• Tennyson, Alfred (1809-1892)