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John William Waterhouse is among the most popular Victorian artists and many of his paintings, such as The Lady of Shallot, Hylas and the Nymphs and Ophelia, have become icons of femininity recognized the world over. With their compelling composition, glowing color and Impressionist-inflected technique, these paintings are admired for their beauty, yet at the same time they have the power to transport the viewer into a romantic world of myth and legend. Waterhouse's depictions of female beauty reflect his age's complex and ambivalent attitudes towards women, in which Victorian ideals of sentiment and duty commingled with less noble undercurrents of erotic desire and misogyny. Aubrey Noakes sets out to discover the forgotten artist behind so much good work familiar to most of us now, chiefly in reproductions and in visits to provincial galleries, and he succeeds in this provocative and lively study.