'The Enchanted Garden', 1916-7

John William Waterhouse (1849 - 1917)

Accession Number LL3629

'The Enchanted Garden', John William Waterhouse

This painting illustrates one of the stories told by the group of young men and women shown in The Decameron hanging to the right of it. Dianora, the principal figure at the left of the painting, is being pursued by Ansaldo at the right. She agrees to become his mistress if he can produce in January a garden with all the flowers and fruits of summer.He succeeds with the help of a magician and here shows the distraught Dianora the garden.

Forbidden love and suppressed passion, symbolized and suggested by the miraculous garden, are reflected in the faces and gestures of these lyrical but introspective figures. The painting was left unfinished at the artist’s death.