Friday, March 12, 2010
Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale - Petrarch's Laura at Avignon
signed within a cartouche l.r.: E F Brickdale
watercolour with bodycolour in a frame designed by the artist
14 by 10 in.
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 12,000 GBP
The poet Petrarch, whose original name was Francesco Petrarca and who had been expelled from Florence with his family by the Black Guelphs in 1312, met the young woman to whom he addressed his love poetry, calling her Laura, in Avignon in 1327. Her true identity is unknown, and yet she is immortalised as the object of his undying love, as described in the series of poems in which he praises her beauty and sweetness of character. These are collected together as 'Rime Sparse'.
Fortescue-Brickdale shows Laura half-length and holding a posy of anemones at her breast. She seems to stand on a terrace within the shadow of an unseen building. The expanse of water that forms the middle ground is presumably intended to signify the Rhone. In the distance, standing on a hill, is seen the curtain walls and turrets of an Angevin castle, inspired by the medieval architecture of Provence.