Sampler (Tennyson). 1998. Transfer prints and hand embroidery on linen. 18.38 x 45 in. (46.7 x 114.3 cm)


The Lady of Shallot.

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colors gay.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
But in her web she still delights,
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shallot.

                             Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1842


Tennyson was afraid – terribly afraid –
of the temptations of overvaluing
Art. Art was what came to him
easily and furiously; he knew the
temptation to work wildly without a
conscience or an aim, singing away like
the Nightingale.

               A.S. Byatt, The Conjugial Angel, 1992