cleopatra's banquet

Catherine Patchell posing with art at the National Gallery of Victoria (1956). Photograph by Bruno Benini.

Patchell is wearing Henry Haskin’s beaded ‘Gown of the Year' before The Banquet of Cleopatra (1743-44) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Tiepolo shows the dramatic moment at the end of Cleopatra’s repast when she wins the wager with Mark Anthony about a lavish feast with her trump card. Removing one of a pair of priceless pearl earrings, Cleopatra dissolves it in a glass of vinegar and drinks it.