Lady and Camellias
2015. h:72cms x w:55.5 (framed).
I have loved ‘La Traviata’ ever since I saw Zeferelli’s film version of Verdi’s glorious opera which was based on Dumas’ original novel ‘La Dame aux Camelias’ (Lady of the Camellias). In Dumas’ novel the ill-fated heroine is a courtesan called Marguerite, but in both the film and opera she is called Violetta. Early in the story she gives her aspiring lover a red camellia: “When can I bring it back?” he asks. “When it is withered.” she replies. It is such a short time until the plucked flower dies. I bought this Boudoir Doll (such dolls were fashionable accessories for young women in the inter-war years) at an auction: grey, dirty, neglected and well past her prime yet still with too vivid cheeks and vibrant pink dress I thought her most beautiful. She was certainly the sort of Boudoir Doll a dying courtesan would have had by her side. So there are three flowers in this work: Marguerite, Violetta and Camellia.
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