Artist: De Morgan, Evelyn
Object Number: P_EDM_0017
Date: 1894
Category: Highlights, Oil on canvas, Paintings Highlights, and Paintings
Material: Oil on canvas
Dimensions: Canvas: H 1990 x W 880 mm Framed: 2230 x 1125 x 101.4 mm
Inscriptions: Signature, 1894: ‘EDeM Maggio 1894’

Flora is the Roman Goddess of flowers, especially associated with spring, her festivals, the Floralia, were from 28 April to 3 May. The scroll is in Italian and translates as follows:

I come down from Florence and am Flora,
This city takes its name from flower
Among the flowers I was born and now by a change of home
I have my dwelling among the mountains of Scotia
Welcome, and let me treasure amid northern mists be dear to you.

Flora is depicted in front of a Nescola or Loquat tree which bears fruit in the spring. Little birds, such as Chaffinch and a Siskin can be identified within the tree. Flora’s robe is patterned with Florentine flowers and blossoms drop from her clasp and lie scattered in front of her feet.

The painting was made entirely in Florence and is a celebration of the city and its Renaissance artists – it is clearly inspired by Botticelli’s Primavera. It was bought by one of Evelyn’s few regular patrons, the Scottish ship-owner William Imrie, perhaps attracted by the reference to Scotia. He also commissioned Cassandra and Helen of Troy, all of which use Jane Hales as the model.

The beautiful frame is made from carved pine with an oil gilded finish. It is based on the ‘tondo’ frame style of the early Italian Renaissance. It is adorned with a ‘ribbon & floral’ motif on the ‘torus’ section of the profile and is probably contemporary with the painting.