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Joseph Noel Paton, 1821–1901

Puck and Fairies, from "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Former Title(s):

Elves and Fairies from 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' [1985, Cormack, YCBA Concise Catalogue]

ca. 1850
Oil on millboard
10 3/8 x 12 1/4 inches (26.4 x 31.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
A Midsummer Night's Dream, play by William Shakespeare | butterflies | costume | dream | fairies | fairy tale | flowers (plants) | forest | hats | literary theme | mushrooms | music | musical instruments | nudes | plants | snails | snails | theater (discipline) | wings | women
Associated People:
Shakespeare, William (1564–1616), playwright and poet
Puck (character in A Midsummer Night's Dream)
Not on view
IIIF Manifest:

This small painting is based on a detail of a larger work: The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania, which was exhibited at the Royal Scottish Academy in 1850 and is now at the Scottish National Gallery. Rather than illustrating a specific passage in Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it evokes the “moonlight revels” mentioned by the fairy queen Titania. Despite Paton’s successes, his friend David Octavius Hill, Secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy, suggested he stop painting such subjects for fear that the “asinine multitude” believe “that you can do nothing else, and that you are raving mad.”

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016

Shakespeare on Canvas (Yale Center for British Art, 2012-01-02 - 2012-06-30) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Shakespeare in Art (Ferrara Galleries of Modern & Contemporary Art, 2003-02-15 - 2003-06-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Shakespeare and British Art (Yale Center for British Art, 1981-04-23 - 1981-07-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Fantastic Illustration and Design in Britain 1850-1930 (Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, 1979-06-05 - 1979-09-02) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Fantastic Illustration and Design in Britain 1850-1930 (Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1979-03-28 - 1979-05-13) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Malcolm Cormack, Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 176-177, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Martineau, Shakespeare in art, Merrell, London, New York, 2003, pp. 234, 235, no. 83, PR2883 .S52513 2003 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jane Martineau, Shakespeare nell'arte, Arte, Ferrara, 2003, pp. 324, 325, no. 81, PR2883 .S525 2003 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

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