herotherside 41F
395 posts
6/7/2006 4:57 am

Sir Frederic William Burton, R.H.A.

‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’

‘The Meeting on the Turret Stairs’ is one of the better-known works of Frederic William Burton. Taken from a medieval Danish ballad in which Hellelil fell in love with Hildebrand, Prince of Engelland. He was one of her twelve personal guards. Her father orders his seven sons to kill him.

They stood at the door with spear and shield:
‘Up Lord Hildebrand! out and yield!’
He kissed me then mine eyes above:-
‘Say never my name, thou darling love’
Out of the door Lord Hildebrand sprang;
Around his head the sword he swang.

Hildebrand kills her father and six brothers before Hellelil intercedes to save the youngest. Hildebrand dies of his wounds and Hellelil herself dies shortly afterwards.

Burton chose not to depict a violent episode.

His invention of the kiss on the woman's outstretched arm and the lack of eye contact adds to the poignancy of the painting.

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