This magnificent painting illustrates a poem by the 19th-century writer John Keats. Isabella cradles a pot containing the head of her lover, Lorenzo, buried beneath a basil plant. Lorenzo had been murdered by Isabella's two cruel brothers. Skulls on the pot refer to Lorenzo's death, and dying roses on the ground symbolise the end of love. The artist William Holman Hunt was one of the founding members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of artists. The picture was owned by the Tynemouth collector James Hall, who was a partner in the shipping business of Palmer, Hall & Co.
William Holman Hunt