If One Could Have That Little Head of Hers…

June 11, 2021

The painting was used as an illustration in two volumes of Robert Browning’s poetry, Dramatis Personae and Dramatic Romances and Lyrics. It is a response to Browning’s poem ‘A Face’. The poem was inspired by the Renaissance paintings that Browning saw in Florence. The poem starts: If one could have that little head of hers, Painted upon […]

Venus Verticordia

June 8, 2021

The title of the painting refers to a quotation from the Roman poet Ovid, who describes one of Venus’ attributes as being able to assist Roman women to turn their hearts towards virtue and modesty. This does seem somewhat contradictory for such a heavily sensual and sexual image, but perhaps it is a warning of […]

Aurora Triumphans

June 8, 2021

The painting tells the story of Aurora, goddess of Dawn, overcoming the bonds of night. She is in the right-hand corner, and is nude, with carefully draped ropes of pink roses, her body is white, a symbol of goodness, purity and spirituality. Three angels with pink wings and wearing golden tunics are blowing their trumpets […]


June 8, 2021

The Old Testament Jezebel is a Phoenician princess who married King Ahab of Israel.  She persuaded her husband to order the death of a farmer for his vineyard.  The prophet Elijah predicted death as divine punishment for covetousness.  Jezebel is later thrown from a window by her own sons.  Her corpse was left to be […]

The Annunciation

June 8, 2021

Solomon was born in London to a rich Jewish family whose wealth was made by selling straw hats and ostrich feathers. He was 16 when he entered the Royal Academy Schools and his work was first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of 18. Around the same time, he met Dante Gabriel Rossetti […]

Little one who straight has come Down the heavenly stairs…

June 8, 2021

The painting represents the birth of a child. The mother and father wait at the bottom of the stairs following the delivery of a baby from heaven by a group of angels. This painting was probably inspired by the birth of Hughes’ first grandchild, Dorothy. She was used as the model for the baby. It […]

On the Cornish Coast

June 8, 2021

This painting by John Brett is of Poercurnow, and was painted on 13th September 1880. It is identical in size to ‘Land’s End, Cornwall’, which was painted two weeks later, and is also on display on the Balcony. ‘ Brett depicts geological elements and atmospheric conditions with minutely observed detail. This lends his subjects a […]

The Death Journey of the Lily Maid of Astolat

June 8, 2021

This work is one of 16 original illustrations produced by Crane for the book King Arthur’s Knights:  The  Tales Retold for Boys and Girls, 1911 by Henry Gilbert (1868-1937). It depicts Elaine, the young maid of  Astolat, who dies of unrequited love for the Arthurian knight, Sir Lancelot.  Her funeral barge is being punted down […]

Maria Virgo

June 8, 2021

The painting shows a medieval style portrait of a woman, Maria Virgo or the Virgin Mary, with a halo around her thinly veiled head and some lilies in her hand. The title appears in the top left corner of the image in a medieval style script. The Annunciation Lily signifies Divine Love. The three fully […]

Benedicite Domino Laudate Et Superexaltate Eum In Saecula

June 8, 2021

This collection of paintings forms an altar screen, intended to be hung above and behind the altar in a church. The text used for the titles on this work are from The Benedicite or A Song of Creation – a canticle used in Christian worship which speaks of the creation of the world as described […]