Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right --
The leaves upon her falling light --
Thro' the noises of the night,
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song,
The Lady of Shallotte...............
Sometimes we find it really hard to escape...We get trapped in the middle of a dream –reality...we run faster to realise that it is only a dream but feet don’t move and the unknown fear takes possession of human mind. The struggle between reality and fantasy is an interesting aspect of human psychology. Sir John William Waterhouse actually created the environment of fantasy blending it skilfully with reality and keeps the viewer mesmerized even after viewing his works. This English painter was known for working in the pre-Raphaelite style, he painted characters and develops a kind of poetic behaviour with the everyday person in everyday life by looking into the ideas of sometimes ‘narcissism’ and sometimes ‘escapism’. All his works narrates a story, a particular psyche. There is much drama in the atmosphere of each of his works singularly.
He portraits curiosity, hatred, love, physical beauty, passion, destiny, and self contradictions. Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the impressionist, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek Mythology and Arthurian Legend. He worked several decades after the breakup of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heydey in the mid-nineteenth century, leading him to have gained the moniker of "the modern Pre-Raphaelite".
Born in Italy to English parents who were both painters, he later moved to London, where he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Art. He soon began exhibiting at their annual summer exhibitions, focusing on the creation of large canvas works depicting scenes from the daily life and mythology of ancient Greece. Although not as well known as earlier Pre-Raphaelite artists such as Dante Rossetti, John Millais and William Holman Hunt ,Waterhouse's work is currently displayed at several major British art galleries, and the Royal Academy of Art organised a major retrospective of his work in 2009.
One of Waterhouse's most famous paintings is The Lady of Shallott, a study of Elaine of Astolat, who dies of grief when Lancelot will not love her. He actually painted three different versions of this character, in 1888, 1894, and 1916. Another of Waterhouse's favorite subjects was Ophelia, the most famous of his paintings of Ophelia depicts her just before her death, putting flowers in her hair as she sits on a tree branch leaning over a lake. Like The Lady of Shalott and other Waterhouse paintings, it deals with a woman dying in or near water. He also may have been inspired by paintings of Ophelia by Dante Rossetti and Millais. He submitted his Ophelia painting of 1888 in order to receive his diploma from the Royal Academy. (He had originally wanted to submit a painting titled "A Mermaid", but it was not completed in time.) After this, the painting was lost until the 20th century, and is now displayed in the collection of Lord Lloyd-Webber. Waterhouse would paint Ophelia again in 1894 and 1909 or 1910, and planned another painting in the series, called "Ophelia in the Churchyard".
“Tis in my memory lock'd,
And you yourself shall keep the key of it...”