Sunday, 6 January 2013

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

John Singer Sargent's painting "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" is pure enchantment.


The two little girls remind me of another time and other little girls. 

Church Lane, as the name indicates, led to a solid Norman church, opposite which was the entrance to my grandfather's farm. Further down the lane, where it narrowed to a single track, almost tunnel like from bramble filled hedges, lived a family of great interest to me. All the girls were named after flowers, which to me, surrounded by plain and simple, seemed unbelievably exotic. There were many of them but the only names I can remember now are

Primrose
Honeysuckle
Violet
and
Poppy

Sounds like the Larkin family in "The Darling Buds of May", so alike in so many ways I could believe they were the inspiration, although I know they are not. What I do realise, now, is all the flowers would have been very familiar, filling the hedges and fields of the Suffolk countryside.

The girls looked very much alike and were as lovely as their namesake flowers. It was generally agreed that any man lucky enough to marry one was destined for a happy life. They may not have been immortalised in a famous painting but their children and grandchildren all share the same features, their lineage instantly recognisable in their sweet faces.

16 comments:

  1. I have a granddaughter named Poppy. When choosing a name, my daughter and SIL knew they wanted it to be a flower. I was hoping for a Daisy or a Lilly, but this precious little girl could never be anything else other than a Poppy.

    Loved your very pretty post. It added a little spring into this overcast, cold January day.

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    1. I think I would like your daughter and SIL very much. A lovely name for your grandchild.

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  2. Susan there is something so special about naming a girl after a flower...I adore that painting as it reminds me of a time when I played in my Aunt's garden full of these wonderful flowers...thanks for sparking that memory!

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    1. I'm glad my post sparked a happy memory. Memories of a childhood garden are precious.

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  3. I was immediately attracted to your post when I saw it on Kirk's sidebar. John Singer Sargent's "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose" is one of my favourite paintings. He painted the picture near to where I live in the small town of Broadway in the Cotswolds.
    I have a granddaughter called Lily, and tend to associated this beautiful painting with her.

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    1. Visiting Broadway is now on my to do list. I wonder if the garden where CLLR was painted still exists. How lovely to have such an association for your grandaughter.

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  4. Dear Susan,

    I enjoyed this post. Not only the images, the pastoral and poetic story, and that wonderful painting; but the reference to the Darling Buds of May: a group of books that I really enjoyed reading (and the TV Series wasn't bad either!).

    My cousin named her daughter Poppy but that is as close as we get to floral names in our family.

    A happy new year to you!

    Kirk

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    1. Hi Kirk, I read the DBOM years ago and was a bit nervous about the T.V. series. Not bad but I prefer the books. If you have read My Uncle Silas by H.E. Bates you might recognise a forerunner of Pop Larkin.

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  5. Happy New Year Susan! I have always loved this painting and am a fan of John Singer Sargent perhaps because I love portraiture. The use of light in the artwork is magical. In their white dresses, the little girls are flowers, just like the white lilies behind them.

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    1. From accounts I've read JSS loved working on this painting.

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  6. I used to have a cat named Daisy and didn't name my daughter after a flower. But I admire people who do. I love the timeless character they bring.

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    1. My daughter shudders when I tell her flower names were on a list of possible names for her. She is such an outdoorsy girl maybe I should have called her Boots or Tent or something.

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  7. I love this painting and would love to be able to grow lilies that tall. You don't hear of many children being called flower names these days - except perhaps for Poppy and Holly, oh and maybe Lily - but I have never heard of a Pansy (there was Pansy Potter in a childrens comic). Oh dear now I've started I can remember lots of people with flower names, what about Hyacinth Bucket.

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    1. Wouldn't I love lilies that tall too.

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  8. Sweet. I have a friend whose two daughters are named Ivy and Holly. And my sister also named her daughter Holly. I never thought of it when my girls were little. Precious.

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    1. My niece is named Holly even though she was born in June. I suggested Summer but things got a little huffy.

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