Paul Falconer Poole. A Scene from the Tempest, 1856.

Oil on canvas, 35 x 38.5 inches. The Forbes Magazine Collection, New York.

This painting depicts Act II, Scene i, of The Tempest when Ariel prevents the murder of Alonso, the King of Naples, and his advisor Gonzalo by Antonio and Sebastian. Alonso and Gonzalo are sleeping, but Ariel sings into Gonzalo's ear,

While you here do snoring lie,
Open-eyed conspiracy
His time doth take.
If of life you keep a care,
Shake off slumber and beware.
Awake! Awake!

Gonzalo awakens Alonso and the two would-be assassins make excuses for their drawn knives. Poole has departed substantially from the text. He has Ariel awakening Alonso instead of Gonzalo and puts three women in the painting where none is in the play.

The arch of rocks on the beach interestingly frames Poole's composition, and this may be the effect of the original work. The painting was a triptych with the two side-panels arched by a frame with figures atop it. A preliminary oil-sketch of the painting still exists, but the two finished panels are now missing (Anderson 80-1).