Study for "The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh" by Walter Crane, 1845-1915 . circa 1881 pencil, brown wash and chinese white 5 3/8 x 16 3/8 inches (14.2 x 42.2 cm). Exhibited: (probably) London, The Fine Art Society, as "The Laidley Worm -- Sketch for the Picture," 1891 (103).

The oil painting, The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heugh, for which this is a preparatory study, was exhibited at the Grosvenor Gallery in 1881 (120). The subject is taken from an old legend Crane had heard whilst on holiday at Bamborough in 1877. The legend tells of a princess transformed into a serpent by a wicked stepmother and restored to her ladylike form by a brotherly kiss. The choice of subject, which also inspired Swinburne, accurately reflects the taste of the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers.


The Fine Art Society Story. Part I. London: The Fine Art Society, 2001. Catalogue Number 23.

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Last modified July 1999