Fair Rosamund

Dublin Core


Fair Rosamund


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


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).


Hughes, Arthur


National Gallery of Victoria




National Gallery of Victoria


Oil on Wood Panel, 40.3 x 30.5cm;

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