Pre-Raphaelite Princess of Star Wars

When Time magazine asked George Lucas about the unusual hairstyle he created for Star Wars character Princess Leia, he answered: In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn’t fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The … Read more

The Art of Slumber

The Sleeping Model by William Powell Frith is a work that I find incredibly interesting. The tedious act of sitting for the artist has caused the model to fall asleep. Undeterred by her slumber, he paints her face as if she is awake. The mannequin sprawled in the corner behind her seems curiously alert. It’s … Read more


Ariadne was a daughter of Minos, king of Crete.  She defied her father by helping his prisoner, Theseus, who had been imprisoned in the Minotaur’s labrynth.  Ariadne gave him the thread that he used to find his way to freedom after killing the monster.  In helping Theseus, she risked the anger and retribution of her … Read more

To live forgotten, and die forlorn

And on the liquid mirror glow’d The clear perfection of her face, ‘Is this the form,’ she made her moan, ‘That won his praises night and morn?’ –Alfred, Lord Tennyson Mariana in the South   Like the Lady of Shalott, Mariana lives a secluded existence. The subject of Mariana was visited twice by Tennyson, in … Read more

Circe Offering the Cup to Odysseus

There are many artistic representations of Circe.  Previous posts on this blog include Circe Invidiosa and The Wine of Circe.  Kirsty Stonell Walker explores Circe more deeply in her post Snowdrops, Swine and Seductive Sorceresses. I’ve been looking at mirrors in Pre-Raphaelite art in my previous posts.  In Il Dolce Far Niente and Viola, the … Read more

The Winds of Waterhouse

Zephyrus The Awakener Come, thou awakener of the spirit’s ocean, Zephyr, whom to thy cloud or cave No thought can trace! speed with thy gentle motion! –Percy Bysshe Shelley “ZEPHYROS (or Zephyrus) was the god of the west wind, one of the four directionalAnemoi (Wind-Gods). He was also the god of spring, husband of Khloris (Greenery), and father of Karpos … Read more

Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus

Pre-Raphaelite art has its critics. I feel like many of them don’t actually look at the paintings or consider an artist’s individual work. They give it a cursory glance, assume that it’s all sentimentality and languorous women and then promptly dismiss it. A similar reaction takes place when people think of mythic fiction and fantasy, … Read more


I just discovered that in January there was an adaptation of Keats’ Lamia on BBC Radio 4.  I’m sorry that I missed that.  Lamia is one of my favorite works, here are two passages I enjoy the most. (You can read the complete poem here) Lamia has vivid imagery: “She was a gordian shape of … Read more

More on Waterhouse’s Undine and Mermaids

Apparently I can not resist their lure and mermaids have become my theme of the week. Previously I shared that I had read Undine, which prompted a post of Undine images by artists Waterhouse and Rackham and yesterday’s post featuring mermaid images by Burne-Jones and Waterhouse.  I was browsing through a book about Waterhouse this … Read more


Last week, I posted about reading the classic fairy tale Undine, in which a water spirit marries a human in order to gain a soul.  If you seek the enchantments of water-women, then a dose of Burne-Jones is in order: The Sea-Nymph: One of the most haunting images I’ve ever seen, The Depths of the … Read more

Circe Invidiosa

Waterhouse is an adept at blending feminine beauty and mystery.  Here he depicts the goddess Circe amidst shades of greens and blues, creating a world that draws us in and mesmerizes.   If you really look at this painting, you can feel yourself transported into Circe’s world:  you can hear the water echoing through a secluded grotto.  … Read more

The Lady of Shalott film now available on DVD

I am so excited that The Lady of Shalott in now available for purchase on DVD! The DVD includes: The DVD includes: A magical dramatisation of the poem, The Lady of Shalott. Alfred Tennyson (Ben Poole) reading the poem to an 1856 Christmas audience. An interview between Ben Poole (Tennyson) and Grace Timmins (TennysonResearch Centre, … Read more

JW Waterhouse Royal Academy Exhibit

Link: The Royal Academy has announced a 2009 exhibit of 40 Waterhouse paintings. Sketches and drawings will be shown as well. June 27 – Sept. 13. From the Royal Academy website: “The exhibition will consider how Waterhouse’s paintings reflect his engagement with contemporary issues ranging from medievalism and the classical heritage to spiritualism and the … Read more

Ophelia and the Pre-Raphaelites

Ophelia is a captivating character, one that inspired many of the Pre-Raphaelites and other Victorian artists. For those unfamiliar with Ophelia, she is Hamlet’s innocent young love interest in one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, Hamlet. Hamlet loved Ophelia – but after his meeting with the ghost of his father (Act I) he feels compelled to … Read more

Waterhouse: The Mysterious Models

In an earlier post, I shared with you the recently redesigned The works of John William Waterhouse are instantly recognizable for their beautiful, ethereal women — all of whom have that indescribable “Waterhouse” quality. A quality that I can’t quite put my finger on or describe, but they all have it. I suppose it … Read more