A statue of the Great God Pan looks down on the teeming chaos of Joseph Noel Paton’s The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1849), one of many 19th-century paintings based on A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paton’s canvas gives Richard Dadd a run for his money in its wealth of incident and grotesque detail (see the big version at Wikipedia), and the artist returned to the theme a few years later with the equally excessive Fairy Raid (below). The later painting presumably depicts the kidnapping of the Changeling which Oberon and Titania quarrel over.

While we’re on the subject, a couple of years ago I wanted to link to the amazing fairy scene in William Dieterle’s 1935 film (which supposedly features Kenneth Anger as the Changeling) but it wasn’t on YouTube. Now you can watch it here.


The Midsummer Night’s Fairies (detail, 1847) by Robert Huskisson.


The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania (1849) by Joseph Noel Paton.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream (c. 1860) by W. Balls.


The Fairy Raid: Carrying Off a Changeling, Midsummer Eve (1867) by Joseph Noel Paton.


Midsummer Morn, Bushy Park (1905) by George Dunlop Leslie.


Midsummer’s Eve Bonfire on Skagen’s Beach (1906) by PS Krøyer.


Midsummer Night, Lofoten, Norway (no date) by Adelsteen Normann.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Max Reinhardt’s Dream
The Midsummer Chronophage
Another Midsummer Night
A Midsummer Night’s Dadd
William Heath Robinson’s Midsummer Night’s Dream

Joseph Noel Paton’s Ancient Mariner


From Patten Wilson to Joseph Noel Paton (1821–1901), a Scottish artist whose illustrations for Coleridge’s poem I much prefer to his generic paintings. Other artists often skimp on the ship details but Paton’s crowded deck scenes are done with such accuracy they must have been based on a real vessel. The book was published in 1893, and the plates would appear to be engravings given the presence of another monogram besides that of the artist. The Internet Archive scans aren’t as bad as the Patten Wilson but Paton’s meticulous draughtsmanship is best seen in the near-complete set of images posted at Golden Age Comic Book Stories. And for anyone familiar with my comic strip adaptation of Lovecraft’s The Haunter of the Dark, the portrait of Enoch Bowen, founder of the Starry Wisdom cult, was based on Paton’s head of the Ancient Mariner in the scene where the sailors are fastening the albatross around the accursed man’s neck.



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