Object: The Soul's Prison House
Museum Number: P_EDM_0031
Dimensions: H 31", W 20"
Keywords: Evelyn De Morgan, allegorical painting, Symbolism, Spiritualism, St. Augustine of Hippo, Shadow of Death, the body is a prison, earthly shell
When a study for this work was exhibited in 1889, a quotation attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo was attached to it – “illuminate, oh illuminate my blind soul that sitteth in darkness and the Shadow of Death”. The Soul sits in its prison (the body) awaiting its release into the light beyond the prison window – the release of death. 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 De Morgan’s painting "The Prisoner".
Object Location: Temporary Loan - Cannon Hall Museum