Ouroboros Apothecary

“Morgan le Fey” by Frederick Sandys (1864)

“Morgan-le-Fay was a sorceress in Arthurian legend, the half-sister of King Arthur whom she hated for the power and loyalty he commanded. Increasingly jealous of his strong moral character, she made several attempts to disrupt his life and reign.Here she stands in front of a loom on which she has woven an enchanted robe, designed to consume the body of King Arthur by fire. A flaming lamp is passed back and forth while she chants her spell. Her appearance with her loose hair, abandoned gestures and draped lepoard skin suggests a dangerous and bestial female sexuality. The green robe that Morgan is depticted wearing is actually a kimono. Japan re-opened to the West in 1854 after over two hundred years of seclusion. Sandys was one of several artists in the circle of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 -1882) who were fascinated by newly available Japanese art and objects. They often used Japanese items they had purchased in their paintings.

Sandys met the model for Morgan-Le-Fay, Keomi, in a gypsy camp in Rome. Very little is known about her but she is believed to to have had an affair with the artist.”

~ Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery