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Morgan-le-Fay was a sorceress in Arthurian legend, the jealous half-sister of King Arthur whom she hated for the power and loyalty he commanded. As she becomes increasingly jealous of his strong moral character, she makes several attempts to disrupt his life and reign as king. She is standing here in front of a loom with which she has woven an enchanted robe designed to consume his body in fire. She passes the lamp she holds in her hands back and forth as she chants her spells. Fortunately for the king, he asked his messenger to try on the robe first, saving his life.

Her appearance in this picture with her loose hair, along with her strong movements and draped leopard skin around her body suggests a dangerous and bestial female sexuality.
In 1862 Edward Burne-Jones completed a gouache study of Morgan le Fay although Sandy’s depiction is seen as the most well-known Victorian depiction.

Details

  • Title: Morgan-le-Fay
  • Date: 1864 - 1864
  • Physical Dimensions: w437 x h618 mm
  • Artist: Frederick Sandys
  • Provenance: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Type: Painting
  • External Link: Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Medium: Oil on panel

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