Evelyn de Morgan, S.O.S.

The De Morgan Centre, London

Date: 1916
Technique: Oil on canvas

In the 1880s with the onset of the Boer War, and later in World War 1 in 1914, De Morgan used her art to express the fears shared by many about the effects and horrors of war. In paintings such as S.O.S. De Morgan combines an anti-war message with her spiritualist beliefs. Here, a lone figure stands on a rocky outcrop in the ocean, beset on all sides by mythological beasts. This can be read as dismay at the encroaching war, and also in terms of De Morgan’s spiritualist belief in the redemptive figure of the female, as a symbol of optimism.

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