Hope Deferred, and Hopes and Fears that Kindle Hope

Image credit: Rochdale Arts & Heritage Service

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This painting is a typical Victorian depiction of a young woman whose romantic hopes have been dashed. The objects surrounding the woman act as symbols for the viewer to interpret. Her gloves are discarded on the floor signifying her despair or perhaps compromised virtue; a book is also discarded on the floor perhaps a romantic tale which had fuelled her hopes; the painting on the wall depicts a ship sailing through icy seas reflecting her own turbulence and the primroses on the table mean ‘I can’t live without you’. The title of the painting is taken the poem 'Love' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) which he wrote for his wife Sara. The poem ends in the marriage of the two characters involved, perhaps conveying that the young woman in the painting has only had her hopes temporarily dashed.

Touchstones Rochdale



Hope Deferred, and Hopes and Fears that Kindle Hope


before 1877


oil on panel


H 76 x W 62 cm

Accession number


Acquisition method

gift from Robert Taylor Heape, 1911

Work type



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Touchstones Rochdale

The Esplanade, Rochdale, Greater Manchester OL16 1AQ England

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