Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Effie and the Foxgloves
In 1853 Millais painted Effie with Foxgloves which depicts her wearing the flowers while doing needlework.
I didn't realise the symbolism of this.
While in Scotland with Ruskin (still her husband) and Millais, she gathered foxgloves to place in her hair. She wore them at breakfast despite being asked by her husband not to do so, a gesture of defiance, at a time of growing crisis in their relationship, that came to the critical notice of Florence Nightingale.
Suzanne Fagence Cooper (2010) The Model Wife: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, Ruskin and Millais. Florence Nightingale's observations regarding the foxgloves are noted in correspondence of her friend, the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, whose acquaintance with Effie Ruskin dated back to their schooldays.