Sunday Salon: Portrait of Katie Lewis

It’s 1883.  Artist Edward Burne Jones begins painting  a portrait of his best friends young daughter, Katie Lewis, a child known to be “headstrong and highly intelligent, with a wicked sense of humour and explosive vitality.”   The perfect subject for Jones, who delighted in creating non traditional portraits and other “fanciful” artwork.   The portrait of Katie  began when the girl was four, and evolved over time as did the relationship between artist and subject, into the finished product which now adorns the top of this page.   Burne Jones own children were grown and gone, and he relished the opportunity to play father figure once more.  Katie herself, the youngest child in her family and accustomed to much attention being lavished upon her, was perfectly happy to add this famous artist to her list of admirers. 

When I first saw this portrait, I was struck immediately by the girls posture – so unusual in comparison to the staid, seated portraits common in the late 19th century.  She’s so intent on her reading, completely absorbed in the story (which is St. George and the Dragon, by the way) – too intent to eat the orange tossed down casually behind her.  And of course, I love the devoted little Pekingese curled at her side, with its chin propped on her ankle (smiles).

Aside from looking at portraits for a new banner, I’ve also spent some time reading today.  It’s cold and chilly here in southwest Florida, which is quite unusual.  The sun was out this morning, and we took the dogs for what we’ve now dubbed “the nine bridge walk,” meaning we walk across nine of these bridges in our trek around the lake.

 By mid-afternoon the sun was gone, and a chill wind was blowing across gray skies.  I did a bit of shopping at Target where I bought some cleaning supplies and a birthday card for my daughter in law.  Then I came home and settled in on the couch with some hot tea, a blanket, my two little puppies at my feet, and An Outrageous Affair, this huge potboiler of a novel by Penny Vincenzi.   I figure this one will keep me good company on the road the next two days as we drive back home to the really frigid north.

Future reading will include In the Woods, by Tana French, which I bought at the local Barnes and Nobles.  And I just this minute ordered the Mosaic Bible, after reading about it on Dolce Bellezza.  It should be waiting for me by the time I get home. 

The year has gotten off to a good start, at least in terms of reading ~ may everything else fall into place to nicely!

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10 thoughts on “Sunday Salon: Portrait of Katie Lewis

  1. I love how absorbed she looks in her book, like she’s turned her back on the world almost. I hope you enjoy In the Woods when you get to it. Have a safe trip home!

  2. I must look out for this. We have Burne Jones tapestries in our local Art gallery and I go to see them every five years when they are allowed out for a few weeks. Most of the tiem they have to be kept locked away because of the potential light damage. They are stunning and have just the same intensity as this does.

  3. OMG, I used to have that exact painting in my blog header! In fact, I designed a whole blogskin around it. But I never knew the back story. Fantastic.

  4. Perfect picture, and I loved the story behind it! I hope this new year continues as well as it has begun, and that the only bridges you have to cross are to good experiences!

  5. I’m looking forward to your thoughts on In The Woods. I loved the mystery, but I want to discuss the ending with you.

    I’m so excited you bought The Mosiac! We’ll be reading that together, too, then.

    Your header makes me question mine. I loved the angels I had for Christmas, but when Christmas ended I had to change. Now I have a photograph of a library in Venice, but it seems a little ‘dark’ to me. Not nearly as engaging as yours. Which is only to say I love your heading. Really.

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