Frederic George Stephens

The Proposal (The Marquis and Griselda)

c.1850

Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 806 x 648 mm
frame: 1020 x 855 x 100 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by H.F. Stephens 1932
Reference
N04633

Display caption

This is a scene from The Clerk’s Tale, one of Geoffrey Chaucer’s fourteenth-century Canterbury Tales. The marquis of Saluzzo has fallen in love with a poor but beautiful peasant girl, Griselda, and is proposing marriage to her. He goes on to subject her to a series of appalling trials to test her love. But Griselda is patient and eventually wins his devotion.The background of this picture was painted from life in the kitchen of the rural lodgings that Stephens shared with his friends Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, at Knole in Kent.

Gallery label, July 2007