'Ferdinand Lured by Ariel', John Everett Millais

Oval painting in ornate gold frame showing a winged sprite

This is an unusual acquisition for George Holt, who tended to prefer works of high finish to sketches. The subject is from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’: the magical sprite Ariel, servant to Prospero, leads the shipwrecked Ferdinand to his master. Ariel holds a seashell and is carried through the air by weird spirits playing music.

This is a study for a much more finished painting, shown at the Royal Academy in 1850, in which the light and fluid treatment of Millais's sketch was replaced by minutely depicted Pre-Raphaelite detail.

Artwork Details

Medium and Support: Oil on board
Date: 1849
Accession No: WAG 273