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This masterpiece shows a scene from Lord Alfred Tennyson’s 1832 poem of the same name, in which the poet describes the plight of a young woman isolated under an undisclosed curse in a tower near King Arthur’s Camelot. According to legend, the lady was forbidden to look directly at reality; instead she was doomed to view the world through a mirror, and weave what she saw into tapestry. Her despair was heightened when she saw loving couples in the far distance, and she spent her days and nights aching for a return to reality. One day she saw Sir Lancelot passing on his way in the reflection of the mirror, and dared to look out at Camelot, bringing about a curse. The lady escaped by boat during an autumn storm. As she sailed towards Camelot and certain death, she sang a lament. Her frozen body was found by the knights and ladies of Camelot. The tapestry she had woven during her imprisonment was found draped over the side of the boat.

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The Lady of Shalott
John William Waterhouse
66.5 x 50cm
26.25" x 19.75"

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