From the Lot Descripton shared before (bear with me, please) :)
"... The female figure in the Dante sketches has traditionally been described as Beatrice, but this now appears to be incorrect. The composition of the Dahesh painting clearly shows the kneeling figure of Dante (immediately recognisable by his characteristic headdress, with lappets over the ears) with two standing figures on one side of a stream, facing a female figure carrying flowers on the other side. This arrangement corresponds closely to the scene in Dante's Purgatorio, Canto XXVIII, where Dante sees Matilda gathering flowers and singing on the farther bank of the stream of Lethe. At this point in the narrative, which Waterhouse knew well, Dante is accompanied by his guides, Virgil and Statius, who must be the two standing figures. Thus the woman in both paintings cannot represent Beatrice (who does not appear until Canto XXX, after Virgil has disappeared, and who does not carry flowers). The episode of Matilda gathering flowers relates logically to Waterhouse's long-standing interest in women gathering flowers. Many (if not all) seem to be related to the mythological story of Persephone, who was abducted and swept into the underworld by Hades while she gathered flowers in the vale of Enna. Indeed, Dante explicitly connects the scene of Matilda gathering flowers with the story of Persephone (Canto XXVIII, lines 49-51). ..."
Dante's Purgatorio, Canto XXVIII
Julia has shared photographs of pages from Nino's own copy of [i]The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley[/i], George Routledge and Sons, London & New York, 1880 (courtesy Peter Nahum):
I couldn't find an online version of that edition, but an 1895 Macmillan edition includes Shelley's Matilda Gathering Flowers. Though, I prefer reading it from the Relics of Shelley. :)
(I would guess it was in Waterhouse's 1880 version?)
Dante and Beatrice, 1915 (but, should now be Dante and Matilda)
Some lines from Shelley's Matilda Gathering Flowers:
"... My slow steps had already borne me o'er Such space within the antique wood, that I Perceived not where I entered any more, When, lo ! a stream whose little waves went by, Bending towards the left through grass that grew Upon its bank, impeded suddenly My going on. Water of purest hue On earth, would appear turbid and impure Compared with this, whose unconcealing dew, Dark, dark, yet clear, moved under the obscure Eternal shades, whose interwoven looms The rays of moon or sunlight ne'er endure. I moved not with my feet, but 'mid the glooms Pierced with my charmed eye contemplating The mighty multitude of fresh May blooms That starred that night, when, even as a thing That suddenly for blank astonishment Dissolves all other thought, A solitary woman ! and she went Singing and gathering flower after flower, With which her way was painted and besprent. Bright lady, who, if looks had ever power To bear true witness of the heart within, Dost bask under the beams of love, come lower Towards this bank. I prithee let me win This much of thee, to come, that I may hear Thy song — like Proserpine in Enna's glen. Thou seemest to my fancy, singing here And gathering flowers, as that fair maiden when She lost the spring, and Ceres her more dear."
Dante - Shelley - Waterhouse ... lovely. :)
Some of the sketches found in Waterhouse's copy of The Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley were for earlier works: [i]The Siren[/i], Medea in [i]Jason and Medea [/i]and [i]Ariadne[/i]. Others were closer to the date of [i]Matilda[/i]: [i]Vanity[/i]; [i]Penelope and the Suitors[/i]; A Listener in [i]A Tale from the Decameron[/i]. (The sketches for the later works could have been done earlier, though?)
- Matilda is mentioned in a letter to Leigh Hunt when Shelley is writing about "Michael Angelo":
"He has been called the Dante of painting ; but if we find some of the gross and strong outlines which are employed in the most distasteful passages of the "Inferno," where shall we find your http://www.english.upenn.edu/Projects/knarf/V3notes/rimini.html]Francesca— where the spirit coming over the sea in a boat, like Mars rising from the vapours of the horizon — where Matilda gathering flowers, and all the exquisite tenderness, and sensibility, and ideal beauty, in which Dante excelled all poets except Shakspeare?")