Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
is an oil-on-canvas
painting made by the Anglo-American painter John Singer Sargent
The painting depicts two small children dressed in white who are lighting paper lanterns
as day turns to evening; they are in a garden strewn with pink roses, accents of yellow carnations and tall white lilies
(possibly the Japanese mountain lily, Lilium auratum
) behind them.
The painting is dominated by green foliage, with no horizon or other horizontal line to give a sense of depth. The viewer seems to be on a level with the children but also looking down on them.
The two subjects of the painting are the daughters of the illustrator Frederick Barnard
– a friend of Sargent's. Dolly, left, was 11 years old and Polly, right, seven years old; they were chosen for their blonde hair, replacing Sargent's original model, Francis Davis Millet
's five-year-old daughter, dark-haired Katherine.
The title comes from the refrain of a popular song "Ye Shepherds Tell Me" by Joseph Mazzinghi
, a pastoral glee for a trio of male voices, which mentions Flora wearing "A wreath around her head, around her head she wore, Carnation, lily, lily, rose". Read more...