Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal

Sir Patrick Spens

1856

Artist
Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal 1829–1862
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 241 x 229 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Purchased 1919
Reference
N03471

Not on display

Display caption

This picture is based on an ancient Scottish ballad. The King of Scotland asks Sir Patrick Spens, the best sailor in the land, to sail him to Norway to fetch back his daughter. But on the return the ship is lost in a great storm, and the King, his court, and all aboard perish. In Scotland their wives and families look in vain for the ship's sail, realising what has happened, and this is the moment Siddall shows. The figure on the right appears to be a self-portrait. Siddall was greatly interested in poetry and wrote poems herself.

Gallery label, August 2004

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