Dimensions: H 24", W 17.75"

Keywords: Evelyn De Morgan, allegorical painting, Spiritualism, Prison, barred window, shackles, bracelet, peacock feather, allegory of the Soul, release of death, The prisoner

Dates: 1907

Marks / Inscriptions: Signature, painted, lower right: "EDeM / 1907-8"


A lady sits in her prison, yearning for the freedom and sunlight beyond the prison window. The peacock feather decoration on her precious blue dress is a symbol of immortality. Her isolation is expressed on one side by the heavy iron bars, and on the other by her chained wrists. On one wrist she wears a metal shackle, from which hang the links of a chain. The other end of the chain merges into a golden bracelet. This is an allegory of the Soul, imprisoned in its mortal shell of the body, awaiting the release of death, to enable it to move to the light and immortality. This echoes the painter’s Spiritualist belief that the body is merely an earthly shell, an encumbrance, which the spirit longs to cast off in death, to move into the sun of the spirit-spheres. A similar idea is expressed in The Soul’s Prison House.

Object Location: Loan - Wightwick Manor