'And Even Now a Harsh Voice' from 'Rapunzel ', 1897, Frances MacDonald

Female figure with long hair flowing down beyond her feet

Watercolour and gold paint on vellum
s. and d.b.l.: ‘FRANCES E MACDONALD / 1897’; inscr.b.: ‘AND EVEN NOW A HARSH / VOICE SEEMED TO HANG / ABOUT MY HAIR’
18.2 x 9.2 (7 3/16 x 3 5/8)
The State University of New York at Buffalo.

In 1897 the Macdonald sisters collaborated on a series of 21 watercolours illustrating William Morris’s ‘The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems’.

The paintings richly illustrate the artists’ creative imagination and ambition.

In late nineteenth-century Britain, Arthurian subject matter presented a glorious world of knights, chivalry, courage and love, which provided a powerful visual and imaginative antidote to the harsher realities of urban industrialisation.

The sisters focused on poems addressing courtly love, not chivalric action, illustrating the narratives of the knights’ beautiful and often tragic lady loves, including Guenevere, Guendolen and Jehane.