Object Image

Queen Mab’s Cave

'Queen Mab' is described in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet as 'the fairies' midwife'. She reveals secret hopes in the form of dreams, which she creates by driving her chariot over people as they sleep. Turner referred to A Midsummer Night's Dream, where Queen Mab is invoked during Titania's 'moonlight revels'. He may also have read Shelley's poem Queen Mab. This painting was first exhibited in 1846. A reviewer called it 'a daylight dream in all the wantonness of gorgeous, bright, and positive colour, not painted but apparently flung upon the canvas'.

Credit: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856...

exhibited 1846
Oil paint on canvas
921.0 x 1226.0mm
Image and text © Tate Britain, 2022

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Tate Britain
Permanent collection