L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Girl With a Peacock Feather Fan, by George Frederic Watts, circa 1860s


George Frederic Watts (23 February 1817, London – 1 July 1904, Compton, Surrey), popular English Victorian painter and (late in life) sculptor associated with the Symbolist, Pre-Raphaelite, and Aesthetic movements. A successful painter of rather sombre portraits, he is best remembered for his allegorical works.

Of a serious, humorless disposition, in 1864 - three days before his forty-seventh birthday - he married the young, soon-to-be-legendary actress Ellen Terry - who was seven days short of her seventeenth birthday. The rashness of this decision was put to proof when the marriage survived a mere ten months. (More than twenty years later, Watts remarried, and much more satisfactorily.)

As far as I can tell, we don't know the exact date of the painting or the identity its model - but isn't she lovely? There has been conjecture that, though the artist would have intentionally obscured the likeness, it may have been posed for by his wife Ellen Terry during their brief union. That same year, Watts painted a very well-known image of Terry entitled "Choosing", in which she appears to be wearing a similar or possibly the same necklace, which looks to be of ivory beads.

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