Sunday, June 3, 2012

Art School

John William Waterhouse The Lady of Shalott 1888

A big part of my creative process has always been the back-story. As many familiar with Hopeless will already know, I like to base my ranges around a film, and have some sort of narrative to guide me through design to completion. It has been a little while since I have done a large scale project like 'The Hunted' or 'Revenge' - but I have hundreds of ideas and it's just a matter of finding the time (and money) to see them come into fruition. The past few weeks of creating these 'Art School' posts have been really wonderful for me (I'm not sure how many of you out there are really enjoying them so please let me know if you are reading!) - and given me so much more food for thought in the inspiration department. 

This week I wanted to share a painting that has the most amazing story, and has completely made my mind run wild with ideas. This work is based on the following lines in a poem by Tennyson - 

And down the river's dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,

Seeing all his own mischance -

With glassy countenance

Did she look to Camelot.

And at the closing of the day

She loosed the chain, and down she lay;

The broad stream bore her far away,

The Lady of Shalott.

She had been cursed to live her life alone in an old tower on an island, and could only view the world through a mirror. She spent her days weaving a tapestry of the reflections she saw in her mirror through the windows of her lonely tower. One day she catches a glimpse of a handsome Knight - Lancelot, and cannot resist running outside and looking at him with her own eyes. When she does the mirror shatters and her tapestry unravels, and the final curse comes upon her. She makes her way down to the stream and tries to leave in her boat, to have a chance at life and find love in Camelot, but dies before she gets there. 

It is tragic and romantic and captured so beautifully by Waterhouse. Definitely added to my list of future projects. 

Gaby xoxo


Kate said...

I had this hanging on my bedroom wall from the time I was 10 until I was about 18, along with another Waterhouse 'The Shrine'. I was so thrilled to see some of his originals when I went to London.

It also reminds me of a scene from Anne of Green Gables, which is another childhood favourite!

Vintage Hippo said...

I personally LOVE these posts and I am so glad you go take the time to write them so well!

Gaby - Hopeless Lingerie said...

Kate - I haven't seen that since I was about 10! Definitely something to add to the list

Trish - Thank you so much, I really appreciate the comment!


Hannah said...

Wonderful post I adore this painting x

Courtney Erin said...

This is one of my favorite paintings - I actually have a reproduction of it hanging in my living room and I'm looking at it as I write this - and I'm also a huge fan of Tennyson's Arthurian cycles.

Courtney ~

Siboney2046 said...

I always love tragic and touching sorties like this one. Thanks to let me know it!


Polly said...

I love Waterhouse's work, the exhibition of his paintings at the Royal Academy a couple of years ago was one of my favourite experiences ever. My mum had a huge print of this in our living room when I was a child, and as she had long red hair and wore flowing dresses I thought it was a painting of her! Waterhouse's women definitely influenced my style, especially their hair-I've nearly always had very long, natural coloured hair. The colour palettes he uses are the ones I like to dress in. I was also obsessed with Arthurian legends and Greek myths after seeing his depictions of them!

Polly said...
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Andi B. Goode said...

I must admit I'm not overly keen on Waterhouse and I don't know why. Maybe it's overexposure to his work? But I do love the story of the Lady of Shallot (and the poem, too). It's funny because I LOVE the early/original school of Pre-Raphaelite painters - Rossetti and Millais (his painting of Ophelia!!!) did some of my favourite paintings. My mum loves this painting and has a copy of it up in the loungeroom. :) And I will say that I prefer his rendering of myths and poetry to Holman Hunt's overtly moralistic work, too (if I'm going to be comparing things here).
Oh, and I'm still loving/reading every single one of these posts :)
-Andi x