Lines and Colors art blog

Eye Candy for Today: Waterhouse’s Gossip

Gossip, John William Waterhouse
Gossip, John William Waterhouse

Gossip, John William Waterhouse; oil on canvas, roughly 28 x 36 inches (72 x 93 cm). Link is to image page on Wikipedia; image is via a previous Christie’s auction; the painting is now in a private collection.

English post-Pre-Raphaelite (if that makes any sense) John William Waterhouse — whose usual metier was dramatic mythological and literary subjects — here gives us an unusually prosaic domestic scene.

Three women, engaged in doing laundry or taking care of a child, discuss events over the garden wall.

To me, the calm undramatic nature of the scene highlights its simple beauty. I love the tone and texture Waterhouse has created for the bricks, pots and stone pathway. The muted colors indicate an overcast day, and the colors take on a subtle strength as a result.

When you get up close, you see that Waterhouse was much more painterly than the Pre-Raphaelite painters he admired.


2 responses to “Eye Candy for Today: Waterhouse’s Gossip

  1. Many years ago I got to see “The Lady of Shalott” at the Tate Gallery in London. It was hung right at eye level and there was no barrier in front of it. No photos allowed sorry to say but it was a wonderful experience to see how he handled paint and brush close up. He’s always been one of my top favorites.
    A few years later I was there again and it had been “skied” almost up to the ceiling.
    Thanks for the closeups of this one!

    1. Thanks, Susan. I envy you the experience of seeing The Lady of Shalott in person. There is a high res image of the painting available on Google Art Project and Wikimedia Commons. See my post: