This painting illustrates Alfred Tennyson's poem The Lady of Shalott. Draped over the boat is the fabric the lady wove in a tower near Camelot. But she brought a curse on herself by looking directly at Sir Lancelot. With her right hand she lets go of the chain mooring the boat. Her mouth is slightly open, as she sings 'her last song'. She stares at a crucifix lying in front of her. Beside it are three candles, often used to symbolise life. Two have blown out. This suggests her life will end soon, as she floats down the river.


  • Title: The Lady of Shalott
  • Creator: John William Waterhouse
  • Creator Lifespan: 1849/1917
  • Creator Death Place: London, United Kingdom
  • Creator Birth Place: Roma, Italia
  • Date Created: 1888
  • Provenance: Presented by Sir Henry Tate 1894
  • Physical Dimensions: w200 x h153 mm
  • Original Title: The Lady of Shalott
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil on Canvas

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