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This unusual sculpture shows a famous scene from Shakespeare: Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep, driven by guilt for the murder of Duncan, king of Scotland. She descends from a turret in the castle, rubbing her hands and muttering to herself, 'What, will these hands ne'er be clean?' The base of the sculpture is covered with moralising imagery: the three heads may be those of Macbeth and his victims Duncan and Banquo, while the crown with daggers suggests power gained by murder. The serpents on the side of the base symbolise temptation. Armstead was a popular monument maker in Victorian London and a sculptor for the Albert Memorial.

August 2004