George John Pinwell
Shadow and Substance, engraved by the Dalziel Brothers published 1867

Artwork details

George John Pinwell 1842–1875
Shadow and Substance, engraved by the Dalziel Brothers
Date Published 1867
Medium Wood engraving on paper
Dimensions Image: 159 x 127 mm
Acquisition Presented by Gilbert Dalziel 1924
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

This is one of eighteen designs Pinwell made for a book of verse called Wayside Posies. The haunting image shows a woman staring at her reflection in a pond. Beside her sit two women whose skirts seem to have been absorbed by the landscape. All three women appear displaced from everyday time and place, their faces downcast.

The anonymous poem Shadow and Substance which accompanies this design is narrated by a suitor who, if his passion is rejected by ‘Nell’, threatens to commit ‘sweet slaughter’ by drowning himself while ‘embracing her shade in the water’ where she fishes.

November 2004

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