I was going to include this video of the Lady of Shalott in my group five post on but after Dr. Ullyot showed a slide of the Waterhouse painting I figured that some intrepid googler would beat me to the punch to I decided to post it now just in case anyone wanted to hear the poem in addition to reading it. The animation of the painting is remarkably done but the song is very long so you might want to check out another video.
These were part of what Dr. Adrian Kessler (U. of C) called ‘The Cult of Dead Women’ images that were popular with the Victorians.
Many of these paintings featured pale complexioned women with bright red/pink cheeks and were representations of the growing admiration for the pale, ephemeral beauty that women had when they had contracted tuberculosis, then called consumption.
This also shows up in Operas like Manon Lescaut and La Boheme by Puccini and La Traviata where the main character dies at the end in the arms of her lover (usually while singing a bloody difficult aria. The Victorians were fascinated by death. If you want to see some of the more macabre customs search hair jewelry and memento mori.