Dose of Art #121: John William Waterhouse – The Lady of Shalott (1888)

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poetry has inspired many artists. Among them, John William Waterhouse whose most famous painting in this one. It illustrates the ending of Tennyson’s poem with the same name. In his version of the legend, the Lady of Shalott was cursed to view the world through the reflection in a mirror. One day she saw the reflection of Sir Lancelot passing on his way to Camelot. She stood up and looked out of her window, bringing the curse upon her. Realizing her fate, she prepared a boat for her final journey;

Her wide eyes fix’d on Camelot,
Though the squally east-wind keenly
Blew, with folded arms serenely
By the water stood the queenly
Lady of Shalott.

With a steady stony glance—
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Beholding all his own mischance,
Mute, with a glassy countenance—
She look’d down to Camelot.
It was the closing of the day:
She loos’d the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott. “