The Decameron

John William Waterhouse, 1916

LL 3133

About this object

‘The Decameron’ is a collection of 100 tales by the 14th-century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375). A group of seven young women and three men have fled to the countryside to escape the plague in Florence in 1348. They amused themselves by each reciting one story a day for ten days. The word Decameron combines the two Greek words for ‘ten’ and ‘day’. Each day one member of the party led the group and was given a crown to signify his or her authority. Waterhouse shows the group seated together on the grass telling their tales.

Object specifics

  • Artist(s)
    John William Waterhouse (British: English, born:1849-01, died:1917-02-10)
  • Date
  • Materials
    Canvas; Oil paint
  • Measurements
    canvas/support: 101 cm x 159 cm; frame: 124.5 cm x 182 cm x 10 cm
  • Physical description
    A group of five ladies and two gentlemen sit together in a garden. The two gentlemen are seated on the steps to the right beside a stone basin. One of the gentleman holds a lute and two further figures can be seen walking together in the background on the left.
  • Related people
    Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd (Previous owner) ; William Hesketh Lever (Previous owner) ; John William Waterhouse (Artist/maker)
  • Other number(s)
    Accession Number: LL 3133; Out of Use Accession Number: WHL 2754
  • Credit line
    Purchased by William Hesketh Lever in 1916
  • Location
    Lady Lever Art Gallery, Room 10
  • Collection
    From the Lady Lever Art Gallery collections


Previous owners

  • William Hesketh Lever

    Owned from: 1916-04-04
    How acquired: Purchased from the artist through Arthur Tooth & Son's
    Owned until: 1925
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Arthur Tooth and Sons Ltd

    Owned from: 1916-04-04
    How acquired: Purchased on behalf of William Hesketh Lever
    Owned until: 1916-04-04
    Disposal method: Purchased on behalf of William Hesketh Lever


Item inscriptions

  • Inscription text: J.W. Waterhouse 1916
    Inscription method: Paint
    Inscription note:
    Inscription location: Front; Lower right
Object view = Fine Art
Page load time: 645 ms