I am half-sick of shadows, said the Lady of Shalott 1916

Date: 1916
Medium: Oil on canvas
Size: 39.5 x 29 in
Location: Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

“I Am Half-Sick of Shadows Slept the Lady of Shalott” is a painting by John William Waterhouse, based on a ballad by Alfred Tennyson, the poet and Englishman. The painting was uploaded to the Internet on May 29, 2015. It depicts a woman who is sick of the shadows that she sees. She is weaving a tapestry. She looks out into the world through a large mirror in the background. In the mirror, she sees two young lovers coming and going. Perhaps these are young lovers recently married, as they are reflected in the mirror. The Lady of the Tower is sick of the shadows and longs for real love.

The painting gives the poem a physical image. Waterhouse uses colour to make comments about the Lady and the world, and the scene he creates is an allusion to the Lady's enchanted tower. The woman is bound to be ‘half-sick of shadows,' and is destined to be stuck there until she dies. The Lady is half-sick of shadows and she is suffering for it.