Life and Thought Emerging from the Tomb

WAG 3074


Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem 'The Deserted House' likens a corpse to an empty house which Life and Thought have deserted for the ‘great and distant city’ of immortality. Here, the male figure is Life and the female figure is Thought. The symbolism includes the peacock, the doves, the butterfly and the carved snakeson the tomb. All are traditional symbols of life after death. The angels will lead Life and Thought to the city on the horizon, representing Heaven or immortality. De Morgan was one of the first generation of women to study at London’s Slade School of Art.