It’s Part II of That Summer in Pictures: the Mariana in the Moated Grange edition.

Not to give too much away, one of the pictures that plays a large role in That Summer is Mariana in the Moated Grange by Gavin Thorne, my imaginary Preraphaelite painter. In the book, it’s displayed at the Royal Academy show in 1849.

There wasn’t really a Mariana shown in the RA exhibition of 1849 (I’ll be sharing some of the art that was, plus an original program from the show, next week), but it was a popular subject for the Preraphs and their imitators.

The painting takes its subject matter from Tennyson’s poem Mariana — which, in turn, takes its subject matter from Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure: the abandoned Mariana, deserted by her betrothed Angelo, waiting for him hour after lonely hour.

Here’s a piece of Tennyson’s poem:

Unlifted was the clinking latch;
Weeded and worn the ancient thatch
Upon the lonely moated grange.
She only said, “My life is dreary,
He cometh not,” she said;
She said, “I am aweary, aweary;
I would that I were dead!”

The lonely and neglected women of Tennyson’s poems were catnip to the Preraphaelites. For example….

William Waterhouse’s 1888 Lady of Shalott:

Lady of Shalott

But the painting I really had in mind while crafting my– I mean, Gavin Thorne’s– Mariana was John Everett Millais’s Mariana:

Mariana

Millais’s Mariana was displayed in the Royal Academy show of 1851– so I hope he won’t mind my borrowing it and using it some two years earlier. (Not to mention attributing it to another painter.) The combination of restlessness and desolation in the figure by the window conveyed exactly what I needed.

Although there were some changes made to my version for the sake of the plot….

More Preraphaelites coming up next Tuesday!

1 Comment

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