Lady of the Lake by Vulpa

“So wondrous wild, the whole might seem

the scenery of a fairy dream”

― Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake

 From the ethereal realms of myth and legend the Lady of the lake has emerged as a powerful symbol of the land and our world. With noble grace she selects her champion to venture forth carrying mystic power in the form the ancient sword Excalibur.

 This painting contains a number of symbolic and allegorical references:

  • The Lady – The figure is depicted as regal and pristine with and otherworldly quality. There is a widely subscribed belief that her persona derives from tales of ancient Celtic goddesses. Bodies of water such as springs, wells, lakes and marshes were often presided over by a goddess.
  • Celtic knot Patterns –  The brocade beads and girdle are decorated with Celtic knotwork designs. This is a reference to the Lady’s possible Celtic roots.
  • Dusk – The scene is set at dusk, a magical hour between day and night, between life and death, between the mortal world and the fae magical world.
  • The Moon – The moon can be seen appearing in the twilight sky, waxing high to herald the growing power emerging.
  • Glastonbury Tor – Faintly looming in the distance I placed Glastonbury Tor, the standing sentinel presiding over what is believed by some to be the mystical Isle of Avalon referred to in legend.
  • Marsh –  The lady appears through the marsh upon the edge of a lake. The beautiful and haunting Avalon Marshes are at the heart of Somerset’s Levels consisting of rich meadows, small woods, reed-beds, lakes, pools. It is believed that during the iron age, marshes were considered the boundary between this world and the next, a mystical place governed by the deities they believed in.
  • Bulrushes – This is a water plant that symbolises balance and stability. With strong roots it solidifies the water’s edge transforming it to rich and fertile land.
  • Magical Sword – Within her grasp the Lady presents the fabled magical sword Excalibur that belonged to the legendary King Arthur. It was returned to her in the lake upon the death of the heroic king and waits for him to return to us in our greatest hour of need.
  • Runes – The blade is inscribed with the Angelo Saxon runes, ‘the once and future king,’ alluding to T. H. White telling of the Arthurian legend. We wait for Arthur’s arrival.

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