William Holman Hunt’s threads and The Lady of Shalott
As some of you might know, Tennyson was not pleased with Hunt’s illustration for the illustrated edition of his poems, known as the Moxon Tennyson. Hunt’s free interpretation of Tennyson’s verse made the poet cry out that the hair “wildly tossed about as if by a tornado” and the treads wound round the lady like the threads of a cocoon had no basis in the poem.
However, throughout the Victorian age artists looked at Hunt’s engraving for inspiration and the by Tennyson so disliked threads reappeared in several other Ladies of Shalott…
William Holman Hunt, sketch for The Lady of Shalott, 1850.
William Holman Hunt, The Lady of Shalott, 1857.
John William Waterhouse, The Lady of Shalott, 1894.
Florence M. Rutland, The Lady of Shalott, 1896.
William Henry Margetson, The Lady of Shalott, 1905.
Florence Harrison, The Lady of Shalott, 1912.
Florence Harrison, The Lady of Shalott (title), 1912.
Charles Robinson, The Lady of Shalott, s.d.
note: this was part of my thesis on Hunt’s influence on the iconographic tradition of Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott. For several reasons, I’ve decided not to publish all of my results on my blog. I’d appreciate if my research isn’t just copy-pasted to another platform without credit.
For more information on the artworks, feel free to ask me!