Elizabeth Eleanor Siddal
Sir Patrick Spens 1856

Artwork details

Sir Patrick Spens
Date 1856
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 241 x 229 mm
Acquisition Purchased 1919

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.

August 2004

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