Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many of the secrets of the classical civilisation were revealed by the excavations of many celebrated archaeologists. This created an unprecedented public interest throughout Europe in the classical period with many European artists continuing the tradition and re-assessment of the representation of the classical subject in art.
Although previously the antiquity had been studied within a traditionally historical context, the artists of the nineteenth century developed a Victorian genre which focused upon the domestic and everyday life of the classical civilisation. In England, this genre was dominated by the work of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema who indisputedly influenced the work of many Victorian artists including John William Godward who first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1877.
In this painting, a dark haired Greek maiden in a green tunic carefully examines a new bracelet whch was a birthday gift from her lover to which she has mixed emotions. The composition displays rather more objects than most of the artist's paintings of this period, with an animal fur on a tesselated floor, an ornamental bronze table supporting a range of ointment jars and other objects, all of which indicate the artist's concern for the trappings of a classical interior.
We are grateful to Professor Vern Swanson for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.