Four grey walls, and four grey towers

After posting about Evelyn De Morgan’s painting The Gilded Cage, I began to think about other paintings that depict women who are trapped and imprisoned in some way, paintings that prompt me to ponder limitations and boundaries. The Lady of Shalott is perhaps the most obvious example that comes to mind.  Based upon the poem…
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William Morris and Le Morte d’Arthur

Since finishing Le Morte d’Arthur, I’ve been refreshing my memory and reading all the references I can find regarding Pre-Raphaelite art and Arthurian influences. My first choice was a William Morris biography that I happily stumbled across at a flea market a few years ago. There’s one paragraph in particular that always stands out to…
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Pre-Raphaelite Reading Project: Le Morte d’Arthur

For the next selection of the Pre-Raphaelite Reading Project, I’ve chosen a work that inspired many Pre-Raphaelite pieces and captured the Victorian imagination:  Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. We all know the Arthurian tales, they are embedded in our culture.  Every few years it seems as if Hollywood gives us a slick new version of…
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Images of Guinevere

Medievalism grew in popularity early in the nineteenth century England and had a definite influence on William Morris especially, who even rode a horse in a toy suit of armor as a child. It is interesting that the story of Lancelot and Guinevere can be seen as a parallel to the story of William Morris and…
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The Beguiling of Merlin

The Beguiling of Merlin is a special painting to me, as mentioned in this previous post from 2007 . Painted by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones in the 1870s, this painting shares  the entrapment of Merlin.    There are many different versions of the tale of Merlin and Nimue.  Nimue is a Lady of the Lake and is…
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The Defence of Guenevere

The Defence of Guenevere, by William Morris But, knowing now that they would have her speak, She threw her wet hair backward from her brow, Her hand close to her mouth touching her cheek, As though she had had there a shameful blow, And feeling it shameful to feel ought but shame All through her…
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Pre-Raphaelite Themes: The Lady of Shalott

Many of the Pre-Raphaelites drew inspiration from Tennyson’s poem The Lady of Shalott, and I find it interesting to see how each of them chose to portray her.  The Lady of Shalott, also called Elaine of Astolat, is a prisoner within “four gray walls and four gray towers” on the island of Shalott. (She is…
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