Henry Singleton

Ariel on a Bat’s Back

exhibited 1819

Not on display

Artist
Henry Singleton 1766–1839
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 1003 × 1257 mm
frame: 1150 × 1405 × 83 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Bequeathed by the artist 1840
Reference
N01027

Display caption

This picture depicts Ariel, the magical spirit in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest. It was first exhibited accompanied by lines from Ariel’s last song: ‘On the bat’s back I do fly, After summer, merrily.’ Singleton’s decision to paint this entertaining and theatrical subject was a response to popular tastes of the time. The artist had begun his career as a promising history painter but many felt he did not realise his full potential.

Gallery label, October 2019

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