Sunday, 20 May 2012



















I know what I was expecting from an exhibition called Age of Elegance ... and I came away feeling ever-so-slightly short-changed because it wasn't all about ladies in tea-gowns and ball dresses.

But there were a few, in among the portraits of City gentlemen by once fashionable artists that I'd never heard of. (The Hon John Collier anybody? Fred Roe? Albert Chevallier Tayler?)

These three young girls in a garden of roses and hollyhocks could be the heroines of a Persephone novel, don't you think? Their summer dresses reminded me of my mum's old family photos and all those great-aunts and cousins whose names none of us can remember. The painting is Amaryllis, by George Harcourt, 1924.


And this is definitely what I had in mind ... Lady Lavery in her grey chiffon negligée with that pink satin shoulder-strap simply crying out to be ripped off. No wonder Michael Collins was in love with her and a description of this painting was supposedly found on his body after he was killed.

Not the most coherent of exhibitions. But free to get in, so I'm not complaining.  And only a hop round the corner from a pot of Lapsang and scones and cream here.

Which is about as elegant as I can aspire to on a Sunday afternoon.

8 comments:

Lucille said...

Ah but you have just set the agenda for an outing I needed a plan for.

mary said...

You'll need to be quick, Lucille, as it's only on for a few more days. Don't expect too much, as there's only a handful of glamorous ladies and the rest is a mixed bag ... the Age of Elegance title is a bit misleading.

Toffeeapple said...

But you do have the ability to just go there whereas it would be a major planning operation for me.

mary said...

That's the best thing about living in London, Toffeeapple, you just put on your coat and go! For all the years I've lived here, I still don't take it for granted as I didn't grow up here.

Lucille said...

Oh no! I have raised someone's hopes and now I must dash them if it finishes before June 11th. New recommendations please.

mary said...

Ballgowns at V&A? I haven't been yet but will report back before June 11.

amaliabalash said...

Funny, I also made the link between 'Amaryllis' and Persephone. Great minds...

mary said...

Hello, Amalia, nice to hear from you. You're the only person I know who's been to this exhibition. I've just been reading your review ... it was a very mixed bag, wasn't it! But good to see so many paintings by women artists, though I didn't recognise their names.