The American Artist
John Singer Sargent in the Cotswolds
The most celebrated portrait painter of
the Edwardian age.
Born in Florence, his childhood was
spent travelling from one European city or resort to another. He
studied art in Paris and developed a realistic, traditional style,
but he was also touched by the spirit of impressionism. His natural
fluency and the brilliant accuracy of his portraits brought him
outstanding success in America and England.
When he became disillusioned with the demands of
portraiture, Sargent concentrated on his mural and ceiling decorations
for public buildings in Boston. He also travelled extensively,
painting a vast number of landscape and figure subjects in oil
An essentially shy and private man, he was charming
and accomplished and, although he never married, was devoted to
his family and circle of friends.
John Singer Sargent paid his first visit to Broadway in September 1885 to recuperate from a bad head wound received while diving from a weir. He had been invited to go to this little Worcestershire village by his friend, the American painter Edwin Austin Abbey.
Broadway, then little known and remote from the railway, was the home of a small colony of artists, many of whom were, like Sargent, expatriate Americans. It was here that Sargent painted what was later to become one of his best loved pictures, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.
In 1905 Sargent was commissioned to paint the 9th Duke of Marlborough and his American wife at Blenheim Palace.
Carnation Lily Lily Rose - Painted by Sargent in Broadway, Cotswolds; subjects were Dolly, aged 11,
and Polly, 7, the daughters of the illustrator Frederick Barnard, who lived in Broadway (1885/1886 )
Sargent's painting of 9th Duke of Marlborough with
and children (Blenheim Palace 1905)