SARGENT, John Singer
(b. 1856, Firenze, d. 1925, London)

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

1885-86
Oil on canvas, 174 x 154 cm
Tate Gallery, London

This painting is one of the few figure compositions he ever made out of doors in the Impressionist manner. The inspiration for this picture came during a boating expedition Sargent took on the Thames at Pangbourne in September 1885, when he saw Chinese lanterns hanging among trees and lilies. The title comes from the song 'The Wreath', by the eighteenth-century composer of operas Joseph Mazzinghi, which was popular in the 1880s. The refrain of the song asks the question 'Have you seen my Flora pass this way?' to which the answer is 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose'.