British Painting, 1800 - 1900

Ysoude with the Love Philter

Isolda con la poción de amor

Isolda is a character in the cycle of Asturians legends. The young woman was engaged to King Marco, but by mistake he drank a love potion with Tristan, the King’s emissary.  The concoction caused the unfortunate couple to fall in love madly, with tragic consequences.  Flowers have a symbolic meaning in this picture. The roses that appear in the foreground may be the ones that were used to make the potion, but they also represent love and passion.  The pink carnations that decorate the tapestry of the background represent romantic love and the bonds of affection. Violets allude to fidelity, while thoughts evoke the feelings that lovers share.

Preparatory drawing for the painting “Isolda with the Love Potion”, from the British painter associated with the Pre Raphaelite circle, Frederick Sandys (1829-1904). When Luis A. Ferré acquired the painting “The Beautiful Isolda”, in 1960, it was believed this was the version exhibited in the Royal Academy, in 1863. Nevertheless, our work of art, which the artist described as “entirely blue and of good color – and very ostentatious – without question a painting to flatter the buying public”, is a second version of 1870, as shown in the inscription in the upper right corner of the drawing.


MAP Cat. I, 1965, 155f; MAP Cat. II, 1984, p 274; English Romantic Art. Exh cat. Shepherd Gallery Associates, New York. 1994, #s 133; Toohey, J.M. PreRaphaelites: The Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Collection of the Deleware Museum. Deleware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware. 1995, pp 20,23.


Bought by John Nicholson Gallery, NY.


Royal Academy, London, 1863, no. 606 Not the same painting; the first version. MAP work was done in 1870. ICP, 1961, no. 36.

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