Arial and Caliban
William Bell Scott
Signed and dated 1865, lower left centre
Oil on canvas
24 x 30 1/2 inches, 61 x 77.5 cm
The present canvas, which Scott did not exhibit in either London or Edinburgh, is an early work and was probably produced in the late 1830s and early 1840s when he enjoyed the friendship of the artists of the 'Clique' in London. Both in technique and conception it shows a similarity to Richard Dadd's Shakespearean fairy subjects, such as 'Titania Sleeping'. The incident from Shakespeare's Tempest represented takes place off stage, following act III scene 2, when Trinculo, a jester, Stephano, a Butler and the monster Caliban, all drunk, follow the pipe and tabor music of the invisible Ariel. The consequences are seen in Act IV scene I, when the trio reappear 'all wet' having lost their drink bottles in the pool.
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Last modified 26 January 2007