Born in Rome on 6 April 1849, the son of artists, it was perhaps inevitable that the young John William Waterhouse would become one himself; and so it was completing his studies at the Royal Academy of Arts where he exhibited his works while still in his early twenties. 
Associated with rather than a member of the pre-Raphaelite movement he adopted their themes more than he did their style often preferring figures from Ancient Roman and Greek mythology to those of Arthurian Legend. Even so, his most famous and arguably most popular work remains his Lady of Shalott, one of a trio of paintings inspired by the Tennyson poem of the same name which tells the story of Elaine of Astolat, the maiden of Camelot cursed to view life through a mirror and condemned to die for looking into the face of Sir Lancelot: 
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. 
Tagged as: Art
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