John William Waterhouse: The Crystal Ball, 1902 (detail)
3 in stock.
John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Waterhouse studied at the Royal Academy Schools in the 1870s; the early works he produced were of a classical style and were heavily influenced by artists such as Leighton and Alma-Tadema. He made several trips to Italy where he found inspiration for his paintings and began to produce large canvases using classical compositions and the Pre-Raphaelite concepts of beautiful women who were ultimately tragic or powerful.
He was active several decades after the break-up of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which had seen its heyday in the mid-nineteenth century, leading him to be known as "the modern Pre-Raphaelite". Borrowing stylistic influences not only from the earlier Pre-Raphaelites but also from his contemporaries, the Impressionists, his artworks were known for their depictions of women from both ancient Greek mythology and Arthurian legend.
Unlike most of his other pictures, The Crystal Ball is not connected with a poem or any other previously known work, and it's unusual in that unlike most other Pre-Raphaelite/Waterhouse works, the woman is portrayed not with glorious flowing locks, but rather with her hair pinned up. When the picture changed hands in the 1950s the new owner did not like the skull and had it covered by curtains, but it was eventually restored when the painting was sold again in the 1990s. A pigment analysis demonstrated that the original surface was still protected with a layer of varnish which meant the addition could be removed safely.
the above text appears on the back of the card HC-253: card size 6" x 6" (150mm x 150mm)