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The Origin of the Harp

Photo credit: Manchester Art Gallery

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Oval painting of a naked sea nymph metamorphosing into a harp. She stands at the entrance to a grotto, knee-deep in the water, resting her right arm on a vertically protruding rock that stands just a little higher than her head, thus forming her arm into the outline of a harp. Her long hair, which streams with water, is draped in ringlets over this arm and down to the sea, forming the strings of the harp. A swag of seaweed curves round her jutting left hip, and a string of translucent pearls drapes her left arm, which is bent up to her head. Her outstretched third finger touches her temple, while her little finger is bent in. Her head is crowned with a tiara of white and green natural forms, which might be flowers or sea shells and leaves. Her eyelids are lowered while her irises are raised, leaving just a little of the white of her eyes visible.

Manchester Art Gallery



The Origin of the Harp




oil on canvas


H 110.4 x W 85 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Mr James Gresham, 1917

Work type


Inscription description



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Manchester Art Gallery

Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester M2 3JL England

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