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Hermia and Lysander (painting)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hermia and Lysander. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1870)
Hermia and Lysander. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1870)

Hermia and Lysander is a watercolor painting created in 1870 by British illustrator and miniature portrait painter John Simmons. Based on a scene from Act II, scene II of William Shakespeare's comedy play A Midsummer Night's Dream, it measures 89 by 74 centimetres (35 by 29 in).[1]

Paintings of fairies had a resurgence of popularity in the 19th century with many based on scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Simmons produced several pieces in this genre.[2] According to Christopher Wood, an expert in Victorian art,[3] the details included in Simmons' fairy paintings were "executed with an astonishing clarity"[4] and gave the impression they had been painted on a glass surface.[4] The majority of Simmons' depictions of fairies were of naked females and Wood considered them the "bunny girls of the Victorian era".[5]

A watercolor painting using gouache,[6] the artwork shows Hermia with her lover Lysander when they are lost in an enchanted wood.[1] The couple are surrounded by a community of fairies; some are pictured in flight using their delicate wings, others are transported in chariots shackled to mice.[1] The couple are tired and disorientated, appearing unaware of the crowds of animals and fairies around them.[1] Lysander is seated and touching Hermia's fingers with one hand while indicating the soft forest moss with his other hand. It is the point in the tale of A Midsummer Night's Dream when he invites her to rest, saying:[1]

One turf shall serve as pillow for us both;
One heart, one bed, two bosoms and one troth.

The painting achieved a sale price of £42,470 when auctioned in New York by Sotheby's in May 2012, a record price for work by this artist.[7] It had previously been auctioned by Sotheby's in London on 19 June 1984 and a decade later by Sotheby's, New York, on 25 May 1994, when it was wrongly attributed to Julius Simmons.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d e f John Simmons, British, Hermia and Lysander, Sotheby's, archived from the original on 30 November 2014, retrieved 30 November 2014
  2. ^ Lot 52 John Simmons, Bonhams, 10 July 2013, archived from the original on 30 November 2014, retrieved 30 November 2014
  3. ^ "Obituary of Christopher Wood", The Daily Telegraph, p. 29, 27 January 2009
  4. ^ a b Wood (2008), p. 124
  5. ^ Wood (2008), p. 126
  6. ^ Hermia and Lysander, Artnet Worldwide, archived from the original on 13 December 2014, retrieved 8 December 2014
  7. ^ Houseman, John (26 June 2013), "Painting bought for £25", Bristol Post, archived from the original on 30 November 2014, retrieved 30 November 2014


This page was last edited on 29 January 2021, at 01:38
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