Lot 1
  • 1

John William Waterhouse, R.A., R.I.

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
25,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • John William Waterhouse, R.A., R.I.
  • Study for "I'm Half Sick of Shadows" Said the Lady of Shallot
  • pencil


The artist's estate, by whom sold Christie's, London, 23 July 1926, 'The Remaining works of the late J.W. Waterhouse, Esq., R.A.', probably part of lot 8 (21 studies of girl's heads);  
F.W. Chapman, Haslemere, from whom purchased by a private collector and thence by descent

Catalogue Note

This is a sketch for the greatest of Waterhouse’s late canvases, the last painting in a series of pictures inspired by Alfred Tennyson’s poem 'The Lady of Shallot'. The first of the series (Tate) was painted in 1888 and depicts the tragic protagonist embarking on her last voyage, consumed by the curse that had befallen her. This picture was to become Waterhouse’s most famous painting and remains one of the most popular pictures on public display in Britain. In 1894 Waterhouse painted another Lady of Shallot, this time entwined with the threads of her tapestry (Leeds City Art Gallery) but it would be almost twenty years before he returned to the poem to paint ‘I am Half Sick of Shadows’, Said the Lady of Shallot (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto). The 1915 painting depicts the earliest episode from the poem that Waterhouse would paint and shows the imprisoned maiden dreaming of unfulfilled love and her frustration at only being able to view the outside world through the reflections in her mirror.