I’ve been taking these old art postcards I’ve collected over the years and altering them in my sketchbook. “The Lady of Shalott,” is a painting by John William Waterhouse. It was inspired by Lord Tennyson’s poem about a woman who is an artist. She weaves in a tower and lives an isolated life. She can only watch the people living their lives near the city of Camelot. She can’t even look at them directly, only through their reflection in a mirror. Here’s a portion of the poem:
There she weaves by night and day, a magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say, a curse is on her if she stay
to look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be, and so she weaveth steadily,
and little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.
One day she is tempted by the sight of Sir Lancelot who is very handsome. She breaks her spell, and looks upon him directly. The mirror shatters and she knows because of the curse that her time is running out. She takes a boat towards Camelot, but dies before it arrives. Lancelot looks over her tragic death with sympathy.