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Featured Print

Layla and Majnun in the wilderness with animals, from a Khamsa (Quintet)..., c. 1590-1600

Layla and Majnun in the wilderness with animals, from a Khamsa (Quintet) of Amir Khusrau Dihlavi, c. 1590-1600. Nestled in the multicoloured rocks are the reunited lovers Layla and Majnun, forced by society to remain separated for years. Majnun's name means "madman," since the separation drove him past the brink of sanity. Exiling himself to the wilderness, he became emaciated. When Layla found him after a prophetic dream, the wild animals gathered around, drawn to the purity and depth of their love. This painting illustrates a version of the story as told by an Indian author who wrote in Persian. He altered the ending given by previous Persian authors to the ancient Bedouin tale that originated among nomadic tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, in which Layla dies before the couple can be physically reunited.

© Heritage Art/Heritage Images

Featured Print

'"Did not you say could sing at sight?" - "Yes, sir, but not at FIRST sight

'"Did not you say could sing at sight?" - "Yes, sir, but not at FIRST sight!"', (1907). The German composer Handel works on his "Messiah" in 1741: 'detained at Chester for some days by contrary winds, he got together at his inn several of the choir boys from the cathedral in order to try over some of the choral passages in the work. One at least of these trial performers must have carried away an unpleasant experience of the great man's impetuous temper. 'Can you sing at sight?' was the question put to each before he was asked to sing, and one broke down lamentably at the start. 'What de devil you mean!' cried Handel, snatching the music from his hands. 'Did not you say you could sing at sight?' 'Yes, sir, I did,' responded the confused singer, 'but not at first sight!' An episode from the life of German composer George Frideric Handel (1685-1759). From "Story-Lives of Great Musicians", by F.J. Rowbotham. [Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. Ltd, London, 1907]

© The Print Collector/Heritage Images

Featured Print

'Siege of Yorktown', 1781 (c1836). Artist: Auguste Couder

'Siege of Yorktown', 1781 (c1836). French General Jean de Rochambeau (1725-1807) and American General George Washington (1732-1799) giving the last orders for the attack, October 1781. The British under Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) were defeated in the battle, the decisive engagement in the American War of Independence.

© Ann Ronan Picture Library / Heritage-Images