Large symbolic paintings about hope, life and love and death were popular with Victorian audiences. Watts produced many works on these themes. Here, the character of Love (on the right) is trying to defend the house of Life. Death (on the left) advances calmly with a bowed head. Death tramples the wild roses in its path, but doesn’t disturb the dove, associated with peace, on the bottom right. Watts described this painting as ‘the progress of the inevitable but not terrible Death, who partially but not completely overshadows Love’.
Gallery label, August 2018
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