Left: Whole painting. Right: Closer view of the scene in the background.

The Nut Brown Maid. Joseph Edward Southall (1861-1944). 1902-03. Tempera and gesso on canvas. 99 x 65.5 cm. (39 x 25.8 in.). Private Collection, ex-Sotheby's.

In the orignal ballad of this title, the maiden uses the story of the "Nut Brown Maid" (as inset in the painting) to support her declaration of constancy. Ballads had long been popular as part of the medievalism of the Victorian period both in art and literature, notably in the work of the Pre-Raphaelites and Tennyson. An earlier painting of the Nut Brown Maid by George Dunlop Leslie evokes the idea of female faithfulness by focusing on the single figure of the young woman. — Jacqueline Banerjee

Created 9 August 2023