Lady Helen Vincent, Viscountess of d’Abernon (1904). John Singer Sargent (American, 1856-1925). Oil on canvas. Birmingham Museum of Art.
Sargent elongated Lady Helen’s arms to accentuate her gracefulness. Correspondence reveals that near the end he repainted the color of her dress, changing it from white to black. In so doing, he accentuated her milky-white skin, a signifier of her noble status. The darker dress also lifts the viewer’s eye upwards to her renowned face. Lady Helen’s deep gaze refers to her reputed intellect.
Details from John Singer Sargent’s incredible portraits of:
Lady Helen Vincent, Viscountess d'Abernon (1904), Mrs. Cecil Wade (1886),Mrs. Joshua Montgomery Sears (Sarah Choate Sears) (1899), Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau)(1883–84), andElizabeth Winthrop Chanler (Mrs. John Jay Chapman) (1893)
This is Lady Helen Vincent, neé Helen Venetia Duncombe, better known as the Viscountess d´Abernon. She was the “face” of the “spanish grand duchess”, a fanfic i wrote about a “What if” grand duke George Alexandrovich had lived , married and had kids…lots of kids