Let me introduce you to someone:
Isn’t she wonderful?
This is Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1865-1932), painted by the equally fabulous John Singer Sargent in 1892 (oil on canvass 127x101cm), held by the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh.
Mr Tracks and I first met her at London’s National Gallery in 2006, as part of a stunning exhibition of ‘Americans in Paris’.
And here she was again in all her glory, along with a number of other favourite paintings, plus many other new ones in the Scottish National Gallery’s superb summer exhibition ‘American Impressionism: a new vision 1880 – 1900’, which we visited a couple of days ago. You can read a ‘biography’ on the gallery’s website here.
Look at that face; that beauty; her expression; her pose; the fabric – both her dress, the chair and the background. Is there anything about this painting that is not utterly perfect?
I discovered this commentary on the painting by Phil Jupitas, an English celebrity, on the Gallery website by chance. I urge you to watch the short video clip at the bottom of the page which includes brief words by PJ, close-ups of the painting and also has lovely snippets by other visitors to the exhibition. You can see that no-one is immune to Lady Agnew’s charms.
The experience on Saturday was one to be savoured. Mr Tracks and I sat quietly, pretty much on our own, among priceless works of art by Monet and others (to illustrate the inspiration for work by American artists). We marvelled at how different it was from times in London when we had looked across at similar paintings over seven or eight rows of heads in busy galleries. I know that this exhibition has been a major hit in Scotland, with many visitors passing through, which is great for the gallery itself. But we struck lucky by arriving at a point where we had the place nearly to ourselves.
And most of all, we could linger in front of Lady A to our hearts’ content and do her bidding – so completely under her spell as we were.