Collection Online

Imogen found by Arviragus, Belarius and Guiderus in the forest
(c. 1790-1795)

Medium
oil on canvas
Measurements
63.8 × 76.5 cm
Accession Number
2002.416
Department
International Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of the Ian Edgeworth McLean Bequest, Founder Benefactor, 2002
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
18th Century Decorative Arts & Paintings Gallery
Level 2, NGV International
Provenance

Included in a sale, Sotheby's, London, 10 July 1996, no. 95, as Arviragus, Belarius, Guiderius and Imogen in the Forest; with Thomas Agnew & Sons (dealer), London by 2000; exhibited Millenium Exhibition, Thomas Agnew & Sons, 8-21 July 2000; from where purchased for the NGV, 2002.



This work depicts a scene from William Shakespeare’s now rarely performed play Cymbeline (Act iv, scene ii) in which the Princes Arviragus and Guiderus, along with Belarius, a rival to their father King Cymbeline, discover the apparently lifeless body of their long-lost half-sister Imogen. After being exiled from Court, Imogen was living disguised as a man in a dark forest. The gloomy landscape adds intensity to this moment, and its use as a dramatic element is characteristic of Romantic artists such as Singleton. He executed over 100 paintings illustrating literary themes between 1785 and 1839. Singleton’s powerfully atmospheric paintings and prints were well known throughout Europe.