Mariana by John Everett Millais was first shown at the Royal Academy in 1851 where the painting was accompanied by the following lines from the eponymous Tennyson poem:
She only said, ‘My life is dreary-
He cometh not’ she said;
She said, ‘I am aweary, aweary –
I would that I were dead’.
How long has she been sitting there, waiting for her lover to return? The leaves turn brown & fall to the ground about her feet; mice scavenge the floor for remnants from her table. You can almost feel the warmth of the stool where Mariana has sat waiting….wanting – she arches her back now & lengthens out her fatigued frame. Her face, one of a woman past caring with no more tears to shed, tells of her desertion….of her abandonment. The rich tapestries that adorn the room; the lush velvet of her dress; now mere reminders of a tomorrow that may never come.