scottish museum of national art

John Singer Sargent (1856-1925)
“Lady Agnew of Lochna” (1892-1893)
Oil on canvas
Located in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

Andrew Noel Agnew, a barrister who had inherited the baronetcy and estates of Lochnaw in Galloway, commissioned this painting of his young wife, Gertrude Vernon (1865-1932), in 1892. It was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1898 and put Sargent on the map. The sculptor Auguste Rodin described him as ‘the Van Dyck of our times.’ Portrait commissions poured in and Sargent enjoyed something of a cult following in Edwardian society. It also launched Lady Agnew as a society beauty.

John Everett Millais (1829-1896)
“Sweetest eyes that were ever seen”
Located in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland

The title is a quote from a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning “Catarina to Camoens.”

ON the door you will not enter
I have gazed too long: adieu!
Hope withdraws her “peradventure”;
Death is near me,—and not you!
Come, O lover,
Close and cover
These poor eyes you called, I ween,
“Sweetest eyes were ever seen!”

When Children Are Asleep (1885). Thomas Faed (Scottish, 1826-1900). Oil on canvas. National Museums Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery.

Based on a clipping in Faed’s papers, inspiration may have come from popular ballad, “When the children are asleep.” First Line: “Ere the night has ended day.” R. March and Co., London, between 1877 and 1884.