Edward Reginald Frampton - Isabella and the Pot of Basil
Tempera on canvas; signed
The subject is from John Keats’ poem of the same name. Isabella, pledged to another man, instead falls for Lorenzo, her brothers’ servant. When her brothers discover their tryst they murder him. Isabella learns of the crime from Lorenzo’s ghost, and exhumes his body to bury his head in the pot of basil, which she spends the rest of her days tending obsessively. Vallance writes, 'In the Isabella, the idea which the artist intends to convey is that Isabella, having exalted her devotion to her murdered Lorenzo into a very religion, does not hesitate to set the pot of basil, containing his head, in the most sacred of all places, the very midst of the altar'.