Godward executed a number of 'ideal heads' during his career. Cleonice is a particularly striking example. The model is depicted in profile, like the medieval portrait prototype. Her pink dress, bound with a green scarf, makes a contemporaneous appearance in Absence makes the heart grow fonder (1912) and Le Billet Doux (1913) - both full-length compositions (see V. Swanson, John William Godward: The Eclipse of Classicism, 1997, pp. 95, 103). The girl herself, with her light-coloured hair, most closely resembles the sitter in The Belvedere, for which Godward won a gold medal in the 1913 Rome Internationale exhibition.
Godward moved to Rome in the summer of 1912. It was rumoured that his return was precipitated by the departure of a favoured Italian model for her homeland. The artist set up his studio in the Villa Strohl-Fern, situated on Monti Parioli - dubbed the 'English Hill'. It had a large garden filled with antique sculpture and formed the perfect backdrop for some of his greatest artistic achievements.
For a longer note on the artist please see lot 42.
We are grateful to Professor Vern Swanson of the Springville Museum, Utah, for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.