I Saw Three Ships

I Saw Three Ships

Bernard Sleigh

Woodcut engraved by Sleigh

4½ x 2¾ inches

A Book of Pictured Carols, 25

This exquisite Pre-Raphaelite design by Bernard Sleigh is a perfect synthesis of Rossetti and Burne-Jones. The delicate detailing of the faces is matched by the ornamental treatment of the costumes. The purity of the ‘Ladye’, placed in the foreground, is denoted by the lilies embellishing her robe, and her halo is touchingly represented not as the traditional nimbus but as an encircling wreath of leaves, the symbol of perennial life. [Commentary continues below.]

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Scanned image and text by Simon Cooke.

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