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School of Art
Aberystwyth University
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Drawings and Water Colours / WD456

Iceland, or 'Fjallkonan' [The Lady of the Mountain]

Artist/Maker: Zwecker, Johann Baptist [1814-1876]

Watercolour on thick cream wove paper

354 x 227 mm.
Bequest: George Powell 1882

Cover illustration for the second volume 'Legends of Iceland' written by George Powell and Eirikur Magnusson, published by Richard Bentley in 1866. A letter from Zwecker to Powell indicates that Powell paid nine guineas for the watercolour and that a photograph was taken of it and sent to Mr. Pearson, who was the engraver in charge of the book illustrations. According to the handwritten Powell inventory this female personification of Iceland was commissioned from Powell's own design

The figure is known as 'Fjallkonan' or The Lady of the Mountain. It was drawn to specifications provided by Eiríkur Magnússon. In a letter to Jón Sigurðsson (11 April 1866), Magnússon described the crown of ice with flames indicating the woman as a representation of Iceland. On her shoulder sits a raven, common throughout Iceland and prominent in Icelandic traditional culture and beliefs. The runestaves represent the country's history and literature.

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