Fair Rosamund

Dublin Core

Title

Fair Rosamund

Subject

Arthur Hughes (1832-1915), Eleanor of Aquitaine, fleur-de-lys, flowers, foxgloves, garden, Henry II of England, iris, maze, mistress, poison, Rosamund, secret garden, symbolism, VIC, Victoria, Walter de Clifford, Woodstock

Description

This work by English artist Arthur Hughes depicts the twelfth-century figure of Rosamund in the garden that King Henry II of England created for her at his royal residence in Oxfordshire. Rosamund was Henry’s mistress. She was reputedly poisoned in 1176 by Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry's wife. Eleanor can be seen in the background of the painting discovering the entrance to the secret garden, which was only accessible by way of a maze. As Ted Gott et al suggest,the selection of flowers in the painting add important symbolism - blue foxgloves, a source of poison, line the queen’s path, while purple irises are visible in the foreground. Irises were associated with the Greek Goddess Iris who chaperoned the souls of dead women to the Elysian Fields, and also with the fleur-de-lys, a symbol of the French crown. Eleanor of Aquitaine was the Queen of France from 1137-1152. (See Ted Gott et al, 19th Century Painting and Sculpture in the International Collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, 2003, p.78).

Creator

Hughes, Arthur

Source

National Gallery of Victoria

Date

1854

Rights

National Gallery of Victoria

Format

Oil on Wood Panel, 40.3 x 30.5cm;
Hyperlink

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Citation

“Fair Rosamund,” Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory, accessed October 15, 2019, http://ausmed.arts.uwa.edu.au/items/show/728.