Artist: De Morgan, Evelyn
Object Number: P_EDM_0055
Date: 1883
Category: Paintings Highlights, Oil on canvas, Watts Gallery, Paintings, and Highlights
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Framed: H 1128 x W 758 x D 60 mm
Inscriptions: Signature, 1883: 'EP 1883'

In this painting Evelyn portrays two young boys resting against the Lady of the Night, whose cloak flies behind her in the wind. The children are allegorical representations of Sleep who rests against the lady’s knee and Death who stares out of the canvas holding an extinguished torch symbolic of the life force.

The tragically high child mortaility rate in the nineteenth century may have been the inspiration for this work although death was a particular preoccupation for Evelyn whose ouvre often contains references to the end of life, night and death.

Mrs Stirling incorrectly published this work as “Sleep and Dreams, The Children of Night” although the painting was titled “Sleep and Death, The Children of Night” in the catalogue of the 1883/84 exhibition and the iconography is consistent with this interpretation.