John William Godward, R.A. (1861-1922)
John William Godward, R.A. (1861-1922)

A Pompeian Lady

Details
John William Godward, R.A. (1861-1922)
A Pompeian Lady
signed and dated 'J.W. Godward. 1901' (upper right)
oil on canvas
24 x 20 in. (61 x 51 cm.)
Provenance
with Thomas McLean, London, by January 1901.
Purchased by the present owner's family in the first quarter of the 20th Century, and thence by descent.
Literature
V.G. Swanson, John William Godward: The Eclipse of Classicism, Suffolk, 1997, p. 274.
Exhibited
London, Thomas McLean, Winter Exhibition, January 1901, no. 47.

Brought to you by

Bernice Owusu
Bernice Owusu

Lot Essay

The dark haired Pompeian beauty is shown frontally and half-length, gazing directly at her admirers. She wears a golden necklace, a faithful copy of a fifth-century Greco-Etruscan original, and a sheer purple dress with a golden-coloured tunic. A green drape fills the background. While the picture is shamelessly direct it is also a tender evocation of young womanhood.

Godward executed a number of 'ideal heads' during his career, often in profile. Free of narrative and action they simply concentrate on the beauty of form and colour. A Pompeian Lady perfectly exemplifies Godward's superlative skill at depicting the different textures of warm skin tones and diaphanous and richly coloured fabrics. He depicts a type of feminine beauty rather than a specific identity and focuses on graceful sensual form and subtle colour harmonies to achieve an aesthetic form of Classicism.

We are grateful to Professor Vern G. Swanson for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.
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