Viola by Emma Sandys print

Viola by Emma Sandys print

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Viola by Emma Sandys (1841-1877), Walker Art Gallery.

Sandys specialised in fancy portraits of women in historical or fanciful costumes. Here she shows Viola, the main character of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, in which Viola spends most of the play dressed as her twin brother. Shakespeare's plays were often full of gender play and relationships across a spectrum of queer desire.

Although Viola is wearing a Renaissance-inspired outfit, the room reflected in the mirror looks like a Victorian parlour. This reflection breaks the fourth wall of the painting and reminds the viewer that they are looking at a staged setting, not a real scene. Painted about 1865-1877.

Bequeathed to the Walker Art Gallery, 1908.


Dimensions: 30 x 40cm

Brand: Walker Art Gallery

Exclusive to National Museums Liverpool

Designed and printed in the UK


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