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The Little Sea Maid
The Little Sea Maid

Photo credit: De Morgan Collection

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Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s 'The Little Mermaid' (1855), which is the much-loved story of the Sea King’s daughter who rescues and falls in love with a human prince. The Little Mermaid sells her voice to a sea witch in exchange for a human soul and physical human form. Here she is depicted soothing her newfound feet in the sea at night. Told by the witch that she will never be able to return to the sea, she looks sadly down. Her red robe symbolises infatuation, love and martyrdom. This is the first in a series of three paintings Evelyn executed on the subject. With her developing interest in Spiritualism and the concept of the eternal soul, it is not surprising that she was inspired by the fairy story. Here the Little Mermaid yearns not only to experience human love but also to possess an eternal soul.

Title

The Little Sea Maid

Date

1880–1888

Medium

oil on canvas

Measurements

H 100.2 x W 73.4 cm

Accession number

P_EDM_0045

Acquisition method

gift

Work type

Painting

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De Morgan Collection

England

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