Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose
John Singer Sargent

Click on the image above to see a larger version

Perhaps one of the more famous of Singer Sargents images. At twilight one evening he was out on the river Thames at Pangbourne with one of his friends, Austin Abbey, when he saw two girls lighting paper lanterns among the rose bushes. He took this scene as inspiration for the painting Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose. The interesting fact about this painting is that although it was only a scene he saw briefly while on the river, Singer Sargent recreated it using Frank Barnards daughters as models at dusk every night. This restricted the amount of time he could spend on the painting as the light was only right for a few minutes each day. It is one of only a very few figure paintings that Singer Sargent painted outdoors in the impressionist manner
The title comes from a popular song of the 1880s 'The Wreath', by the eighteenth-century composer of operas Joseph Mazzinghi. Sargent would frequently with his friends sing around the piano at Broadway. The the song asks the question 'Have you seen my Flora pass this way?' to which the answer is 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose'..