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In the 1830s and 1840s, increasing numbers of fairy pictures appeared on the walls of the Royal Academy, and by the middle of the century the taste for fairy painting was well established. Many of the subjects were taken from Shakespeare's play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', as was this example which 'attracted very great attention' when shown at the Academy in 1847. Titania, Queen of the Fairies, has been lulled to sleep by her attendants, who are just disappearing from view in the shadowy distance to the left. Huskisson includes a painted frame resembling a proscenicum arch, thus increasing the theatrical effect.

September 2004