25 November 2003
Arthur Hughes (1832-1915)
The Lady of Shalott
signed with monogram (lower right) and inscribed 'SHALOTT (on the boat)
oil on panel
6¾ x 9 in. (17.1 x 22.9 cm.)
Given by the artist to Thomas Woolner by 1865;
thence to his widow Mrs Alice Woolner;
thence by descent; bought from the Woolner family by The Maas Gallery, London, 1976 .
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's Belgravia, 19 March 1979 lot 91
with Peter Nahum, London.
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Leonard Roberts, Arthur Hughes, His Life and Works, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1997, p. 162, no. 66.4, pl. 47.
with the Fine Art Society, London, 1909, no. 61.
Hughes undertook a large triptych of The Lady of Shalott in 1863-4. The subject was taken from Tennyson's poem of that name, first published in 1852, whose story found further development in Lancelot and Elaine, one of the Idylls of the King, published in 1859. A watercolour sketch for the centre panel was included in an album assembled by Maria Leathart, wife of James Leathart, the Newcastle industrialist who was Hughes's principal patron. This small replica was painted for Thomas Woolner, the sculptor and founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who later emigrated to Australia. Woolner had undertaken a portrait medallion of Tennyson in 1856. Hughes was obviously pleased with the composition, for in 1865 he wrote to Woolner asking to borrow this picture in order that he could copy it, to present another version to Tennyson himself.
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