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This painting is known throughout the world and is Falmouth Art Gallery Collection's most famous work. It is the study for the finished painting in Leeds Art Gallery, although many critics prefer the vitality and freedom of brushwork shown in this picture. Based on Lord Tennyson's poem, it illustrates the moment when she sees Sir Lancelot in the crystal mirror and breaks her vow never to look out of her window and down upon Camelot. The panic of the moment is shown by the wool from the tapestry entwining the Lady’s skirt and by the model’s pose as she leans forward to confront the world and trigger the curse. Waterhouse completed three paintings relating to different events in the poem, this is a study for the second. The first dates from 1888 and is housed at the Tate in London.
The Lady of Shalott
oil on canvas
H 121 x W 69 cm
gift from Alfred De Pass, 1923