As soft as a white rabbit’s fur: Edwin Landseer’s Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Titania and Bottom (1848–51). In a down of fur, the painting hanging in the National Gallery of Victoria depicts Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, besotted with Bottom, who has recently been reshaped into an ass, from William Shakespeare’s comedy of misplacement. A fairy queen and an ass, two of opposite realms entwined and for all to see in the fairy dell, accompanied by the requisite fairy folk and white rabbits. In an engraving of Titania and Bottom by Henry Fuseli they too, are encircled by a cast of magical inhabitants, and the print of ink assumes the blush of a rose. To look at both is to cross into the fairy realm. And now I shall add to this Liam Scarlett’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” created in 2016, in co-production between Queensland Ballet and Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Laura Hidalgo in the Queensland Ballet's “A Midsummer Night's Dream” by Liam Scarlett. Photograph by David Kelly