Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Engaged Venus: The Betrothed by John William Godward

The Betrothed (1892)

As it's Valentine's Day today we thought we would go for a nice, romantic image.  Agent Triple P attended an event at the Guidhall Art Gallery last night where they have a small but significant collection of Pre-Raphaelite and classicist paintings.  Latterly most of these have been buried in the basement but we were pleased to see that they have now been restored to the main floor once more.

Of these, Triple P's favourite is The Betrothed by John William Godward which was painted in 1892 whilst he was living in Chelsea; one of sixteen paintings he produced that year.

A typically langorous Godward girl contemplates her engagement ring in an equally typical marble-ous Mediterranean setting.  This painting marks the first appearance in one of Godward's paintings, of the spotted stola around her hips.  It would appear in many more of his pictures, which makes you wonder whether it was an actual piece of costume from his studio.

Sir Harry Vanderpant

This was also the first of Godward's paintings that ended up in a major gallery. It was bought by Sir Harry Sheil Elster Vanderpant (1866-1955), later the Lord Mayor of Westminster, who gave it to the Guildhall Art Gallery in 1916.

It's quite a small painting, just 24 inches across, but confers the idea that she is thinking about her man extremely well.  Godward has rendered the leopard skin superbly in this.

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