Collection Online

La Belle Dame sans merci
1863

Medium
oil on canvas
Measurements
153.7 × 123.0 cm
Inscription
inscribed in red paint l.l.: ARTHUR HUGHES 1863
Accession Number
967-3
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1919
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of Digitisation Champion Ms Carol Grigor through Metal Manufactures Limited
Gallery location
19th Century European Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
This tragic tale was popularised by the English poet John Keats (1795–1821). His sensual and romantic poetry, often drawn from medieval narratives, helped to make such themes relevant to a modern audience. Here the knight falls in love with a beautiful woman who lures him to ‘her elfin grot’. There he sleeps and suffers a nightmare, seeing ‘pale kings and princes too, Pale warriors, death-pale were they all; They cried – “La Belle Dame sans Merci, Thee hath in thrall!”’. The knight wakes to find that he is one of many victims of her unrequited love, and is condemned to an eternally lonely existence. At the moment captured by Hughes, the knight is unaware of his impending doom.

Frame

Arthur HUGHES
La Belle Dame sans merci 1863
Framemaker
Unknown - 19th century
Date
c.1863
Materials

timber, composition and gold leaf

Condition

good original condition

About

This frame is one of a group of C19th. Pre-Raphaelite frames that take their cue from the presentation of religious pictures in the Renaissance.
These are frames that take the tabernacle form and modify it to create settings that carry the impact of an altarpiece or singular devotional work though the subject of the painting is secular.