Arthur Hughes
Study for ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ c.1856

Artwork details

Arthur Hughes 1832–1915
Study for ‘The Eve of St Agnes’
Date c.1856
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Image: 165 x 115 mm
Acquisition Presented by Leonard Roberts to celebrate the Tate Gallery Centenary 1997
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms


This drawing is an early sketch for one of the panels (most probably the right-hand panel) in Hughes's 1856 triptych The Eve of St Agnes (Tate Gallery N04604). The painting is based on Keats's poem of the same name. The finished design for the right- hand panel shows the lovers Madeline and Porphyro escaping from the castle. The scene shown by Hughes in this drawing does not appear in Keats's poem, and was presumably discarded by the artist because it departed from the text.

Several other sketches for the finished work are also in the Tate (Tate Gallery T06884, T06979).

Further reading:
Timothy Hilton, The Pre-Raphaelites, London 1970, pp.113-15
Leonard Roberts, introduction by Stephen Wildman, Arthur Hughes: His Life and Works, a Catalogue Raisonné, Woodbridge, Suffolk [to be published 1997]

Terry Riggs
November 1997

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