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Main subject of the painting ‘Salem’

The famous painting, Salem, was painted by Sidney Curnow Vosper in 1908. It depicts the pious, Victorian spirit of the Sunday morning service at Capel Salem near Llanbedr.

The main subject of the painting is Siân Owen, seemingly arriving late to the service, as the clock is almost at 10 a.m.

Some have suggested that she arrived late on purpose to attract attention to herself and that the shawl and hat she was wearing also attract considerable attention.

Siân Owen had probably borrowed the shawl from the vicar of Harlech, and such vanity was a sin in the eyes of the chapel. Some say that this is why the devil’s face can be seen in the shawl.

The painting is now on display at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight.

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