Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Lady of Shalott

Sidney Harold Meteyard

JW Waterhouse
37   There she weaves by night and day
38   A magic web with colours gay.
39   She has heard a whisper say,
40   A curse is on her if she stay
41       To look down to Camelot.
42   She knows not what the curse may be,
43   And so she weaveth steadily,
44   And little other care hath she,
45       The Lady of Shalott.

- Tennyson, 1842

My love of The Lady of Shalott began shortly after my love affair with Anne of Green Gables did. In kindergarten I implored classmates to push me while I lay flat on wheeled milk crates, hands crossed over my chest, reciting what slivers of the poem I could remember from Kevin Sullivan's perfection of a miniseries. In middle school I covered my room with Pre-Raphaelite paintings, my favourite always the Waterhouse depiction of doomed Elaine. Even now, you will scarcely find me more animated than when I open my mouth to speak of the romantic poets, authors and painters of the past. Reading this poem still fills my mind's eye with that wonderful untouchable world that once existed so vividly in my imagination and inexplicably is able to move me to tears (which, is a welcome change from my overly stoic disposition. Nice to know I have a bit of water in me, even if it is a horrible bit of Victorian sentimentality). It's perfectly fitting then, as I'm working on my first collection under my own name, to find inspiration in this early love of mine. How this bit of inspiration will manifest in these first designs, well, you will have to wait and see, hehe.
Arthur Hughes

JW Waterhouse
Charles Edwin Fripp


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