Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mermaid of the Moment: Ocean Nymphs by Stephen Reid

"There dwelt the red-haired ocean-nymphs" by Stephen Reid, 1910.

Stephen Reid was a Scottish illustrator and painter (1873-1948) who specialized in Georgian settings and costume pieces. Born in Aberdeen, he was educated at Gray's School of Art and the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. He was elected to the Royal Society of British Artists at the age of 33.

This illustration was created for a collection of Irish myths and sagas titled The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland by T.W. Rolleston, published in 1910.

Here's the scene as described for this illustration:

At last Brian fashioned for himself by magic art a water-dress, with a helmet of crystal, and into the depths of the sea he plunged. Here, the story tells, he searched hither and thither for a fortnight, till at last he found that island, which was an island indeed with the sea over it and around it and beneath it. There dwelt the red-haired ocean-nymphs in glittering palaces among the sea-flowers, and they wrought fair embroidery with gold and jewels, and sang, as they wrought, a fairy music like the chiming of silver bells.

The entire text of The High Deeds of Finn can be found on Project Gutenberg. This excerpt comes from Chapter 2 of the Bardic Romances. 

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