The Rift within the Lute

Image credit: Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

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This painting depicts a beautiful woman wearing a richly-coloured dress and cloak lying full length on the ground in woodland with a lute beside her. Hughes based the subject loosely on 'The Idylls of the King' poems published by Alfred Tennyson
between 1856 and 1885, which retell the legend of King Arthur. Unhappy love is the theme of the painting. Love is symbolised by music in the form of the lute. Constancy is symbolised by the bunch of bluebells placed on the lute. Hughes used his wife as the model and he also designed an ivy leaf frame for the painting.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery



The Rift within the Lute




oil on canvas


H 52 x W 92 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

bequeathed by Emily and Gordon Bottomley, 1949

Work type


Inscription description



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Normally on display at

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery

Castle Street, Carlisle, Cumbria CA3 8TP England

This venue is closed to the public.
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