'Ferdinand Lured by Ariel', John Everett Millais

Oval painting in ornate gold frame showing a winged sprite

Zoom into the detail of this painting

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