OIL PAINTING: Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret, 1833
William Etty ranked this painting among his major works. It was exhibited at both the Royal Academy and Royal Manchester Institution in 1833, where it was sold to a Manchester collector for the painter's price of 150 Pounds. The scene is based on two verses from Book Ill, Gante Xl of Spenser's Faerie Queene (1590), which describe how the female knight Britomart rescues Amoret from the chains of the enchanter and torturer Busyrane. In keeping with the classical convention of representing the nude as wholesome and inviolate, Etty omits the gruesome details of Amoret's slashed breast and extracted trembling heart which according to the poem was healed following Britomart's despatch of Busyrane. Etty was not the first British artist to represent this particular episode, and he was probably aware of earlier precedents in the ways Opie, Stothard and Fuseli had approached the Britomart legend. Indeed it was probably to the latter that he was indebted in this instance for the loose, thin brushwork (the weave of the canvas is visible beneath the paint layers), and masochistic overtones.