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.

  • Presented by the Trustees of the Feeney Charitable Fund, 1925.
  • © Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery


Association Artist Organisation
Artist Frederick Sandys -


Catalogue No. Venue Date(s)
519 Royal Academy, London 1864 - 1864
Art Loan Exhibition in aid of the Fund for the Restoration of the Church of St. Peter Mancroft
165 St. Andrews Hall, Norwich - - -
Winter Exhibition
267 Royal Academy, London 1905 - 1905
Paintings and Drawings of the 1860 Period
62 National Gallery of British Art, London 1923-04-27 - 1923-07-29
The Victorian Romantics
94 Leicester Galleries, London 1949 - 1949
Artists of Victoria's England
51 Cummer Gallery of Art, Jacksonville, USA 1965-02 - 1965-03
British Royal Family Exhibition
108 Seibu Department Store, Tokyo 1967-10-06 - 1967-10-18
Royal Academy of Arts Bicentenary Exhibition
354 Royal Academy of Arts, London 1968-12-14 - 1969-03-02
Frederick Sandys 1829-1904
58 Brighton Museum and Art Gallery 1974-05-07 - 1974-07-14
58 Mappin Art Gallery, Sheffield 1974-07-27 - 1974-08-25
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
77 Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington 1995-03-09 - 1995-05-07
77 Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio 1995-05-27 - 1995-07-16
77 Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware 1995-08-11 - 1995-10-15
77 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas 1995-11-04 - 1996-01-02
77 High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia 1996-01-23 - 1996-04-10
77 Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 1996-05-25 - 1996-09-29


Author(s) Date(s) Publisher Pages
F G Stephens 14 May 1864 - p. 682
Art Journal
June 1864 - p. 161
The English Pre-Raphaelite Painters
Percy Bate 1899 Bell. London pp. 60; repr. p. 61
Arthur B Chamberlain November 1925 - p. 259; repr. p. 259
City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham: Catalogue of Paintings
1960 City Museum and Art Gallery, Birmingham -
Victorian Painting
Graham Reynolds 1966 Studio Vista, London p. 70, 91; repr. pl. 47
Richard Ormond April 1968 - p. 251
The Pre-Raphaelites
Timothy Hilton 1970 Thames and Hudson, London p. 202; repr. pl. 149
Frederick Sandys 1829-1904
1974 Brighton Museum and Art Gallery repr. pl. 29
The English Dreamers: A Collection of Pre-Raphaelite Paintings
David Larkin 1975 Pan Books, London repr. pl. 25
The English Pre-Raphaelites
Andrea Rose 1977 Phaidon, Oxford p. 13, repr. pl. 45
The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museseum of Art for December 1980
William Talbot December 1980 - p. 305; repr. fig. 13
Dark Age Sculpture
Joanna Close-Brooks, Robert B K Stevenson 1982 National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh p. 22
Visions of Love and Life: Pre-Raphaelite Art from the Birmingham Collection, England
Stephen Wildman 1995 Art Services International, Alexandria, Virginia pp. 240-1; repr. p. 1
Frederick Sandys 1829-1904: A Catalogue Raisonné
2001 Antique Collectors' Club in association with Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service) No. 2.A.67, pp. 177-178; repr. pl. 18


W. H. Clabburn, who sold it at Spelman's Norwich, 15 May 1879 (138); bt. by his son in law Edmund Meredith Crosse who sold it at Christies 8 May 1925 (73); bt. Sir Witworth Wallis on behalf of the Trustees of the Feeney Charitable Trust 1925.

Associated people

Name Type
Keomi Artist's model

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