Dimensions: W 1286 mm, W 674 mm

Keywords: Evelyn De Morgan, allegorical painting, Dryad, mythology, tree nymph, Iris, messenger of Zeus, Jane Hales

Dates: 1884

Marks / Inscriptions Notes: Signature, painted: "EP 1884-5", lower right


In Greek mythology dryads are mythological tree nymphs and protectors of the oak tree. Evelyn appears to have depicted a hamadryade, a type of nymph who is bonded to the tree itself. In this painting we can see the little nymph emerging from the tree, with her foot still hidden inside the tree’s stout trunk.

Purple irises at the dryad’s feet symbolise the minor Greek goddess Iris. Iris is the messenger of the gods, particularly Zeus and Hera. She is also the personification of the rainbow and, as goddess of sea and sky, provides clouds with water to rain upon the world to nourish plants and trees.

Following the theme of the painting, Evelyn chose to paint this work on a wooden panel, rather than using canvas, her normal support of choice.

Object Location: Loan - Watts Gallery Artists Village