This young woman, obviously from a high-status background with her fashionably cut and styled hair and her ornate dress, nonetheless has been captured with a most innocent and beguiling look. None of the fashionable dress or high-status trappings can disguise the fact that she is a most innocent and gentle person, perhaps even a little naive. She could be in her early twenties or even in her thirties, yet the artist has captured such an appealing quality about her.
One feels almost protective of her vulnerability. It is at once realistic and romantic. One feels the innocence and vulnerability of the young subject and at the same time, one also feels in awe of that innocence. The subject has an untouchable, queenly quality. One feels she is someone to be adored from afar. Also, the portrait is awash with pinks and gentle tones, one can almost see and feel and touch the innocence of the subject. This painting was acquired by the late art dealer Roy Miles, for his private collection.
This painting was the work of Sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, a follower of the romantic movement. The artist was born into an artistic family and trained as a painter under his father. Born in the Victorian era, he lived well into the 20th century. He was known as a great portrait painter and painted many renowned women of his time. Dicksee seems to be a more modern version of the legendary Hans Holbein the Younger. King Henry the VIIth was said to have fallen in love with Anne of Cleves when he viewed her in a Holbein portrait.
However, sadly, he did not fall in love with the lady when he met her in the flesh and their marriage was not successful. Dicksee, like the younger Holbein, appears to have had the ability to peer into the soul of a woman and paint her as she truly was. His portraits of literary/historical figures like Shakespeare’s Juliet are truly breathtaking. He is also known as a painter of historical pictures and legendary scenes. His paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1976. He served as the Academy's president in 1924. His body of work has shown some beautifully executed historical scene interpretations.