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King Arthur’s women: 2 Queen Guinevere
If Morgan le Fay is a wicked witch for much of Arthurian legend, and only comes good as Arthur lies dying, Queen Guinevere turns out to be unfaithful, and is almost burned at the stake, a punishment normally reserved for witches. Morgan had a following in Italy, as Fata... Read more
King Arthur’s women: 1 Morgan le Fay
Rich and compelling though the Arthurian legends are, they are also a bit of a nightmare in terms of narrative, as are their paintings. There are so many stories, each of which comes in different variants, that it can be hard to know which version is the source for... Read more
The Story in Paintings: JW Waterhouse and mediaeval romance
There were history and other narrative painters in the late 1800s who did not see the need to re-invent history painting in the way that Gustave Moreau did. One of the best and most enduring – if still little-known – was JW Waterhouse. John William Waterhouse (1849–1917) Born in... Read more
The Story in Paintings: Arthur Hughes and romantic legends
Contemporary romantic poems and the legends of the mythical King Arthur of Britain of around 500 CE were central themes in much of Pre-Raphaelite art. Although never a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood itself, Arthur Hughes (1832–1915) ‘converted’ to its ideals and style in 1850. He had studied at... Read more
Fair Maids: the paintings of Sophie Gengembre Anderson
For many centuries, almost universally male artists had painted motifs for almost universally male patrons and viewers. In those works, women tended to be young, beautiful, and commonly naked at times when nakedness in real life was deeply sinful. Men tended to be male role models: Heracles/Hercules, Jason, Aeneas,... Read more
Elaine of Astolat, or the Lady of Shalott?
Paintings based on Arthurian legends became popular themes in the nineteenth century, particular for British artists who were associated with the Pre-Raphaelite movement. Just like classical mythology, there is no common source or agreed narrative for these legends. Although painters tended to rely on the more established literary sources... Read more
Tennyson, Pre-Raphaelites, and Storyspace: a rewarding combination
Arthurian legend became very popular among artists of all media during the nineteenth century. Like all legends and myths, there are multiple sources and interpretations, and it is easy to get narratives confused. I hope that you enjoyed my recent comparison between the stories of the Lady of Shalott... Read more
Adding ‘parallel’ text and a timeline to the Lady of Shalott, in Tinderbox and Storyspace
In the previous article, I built a Tinderbox/Storyspace document containing the full text of Tennyson’s three poems about, and thirteen paintings depicting scenes from, two Arthurian legends: Elaine of Astolat, and the Lady of Shalott. This article describes two options for producing a composite or ‘parallel’ text version of... Read more