The Enchanted Garden
Date created: 1916
This was one of Waterhouse's final paintings. He left it unfinished at his death.
"He created this haven of warmth in the winter of his life, but almost unwittingly imbued it with a deeper meaning. Past the Dantesque guardian at the entrance, the snow is falling on the steps: it gathers on the entablature above the rounded Renaissance arches which evoke the Italy of his birth, and a few flakes are seen against the shadows of the arcade. But in the garden the roses bloom; one of the girls bends to inhale their scent, and the poppies presage a quiet oblivion. Roses and snow together sum up the duality of desire and restraint in all his work, and because poetry was ever-present in his life, he must also have had Tennyson's Arthur in mind, and 'the island-valley of Avilion, where falls not hail, or rain, or any snow. Nor ever wind blows loudly'."
Quoted from Anthony Hobson, J W Waterhouse, Phaidon 1989, p 117.