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This subject was based on an old legend explaining the origin of Loch Awe in the Scottish Highlands. A nymph was asked to watch a magic well to check that the water did not rise above a certain height. She fell asleep, the water rose and she drowned. Dead or dying female figures lying prostrate on the ground were a popular subject in French art at this time. But they were usually more sensuous than Frederick Pomeroy’s figure. In contrast, he arranges the woman’s limbs to emphasise the weight and vulnerability of her body.

February 2010