Fumée d'ambre gris (Smoke of Ambergris)

Oil on canvas
Acquired by Sterling Clark, 1914

The pictrue was begun in a small Moorish house which Sargent had hired in the Moraccan town of Tetuan in January 1880.

Sargent had a horror of the convensional and banal, which is why his picture is different from the ordinary run of orientalist subject pictures with their obvious stories and allusions. To Vernon Lee, he later wrote, when sending a photograph of the picture:"It is very unsatisfacotry because the only interest of the thing is the colour". While that is not strictly true, nevertheless the clour scheme of white and white is the most striking feature of the painting. It is a tone poem demonstrating Sargent's outstanding technical skills and his aesthetic sensibility.



Lady Agnew of Lochnaw(1892)

Medium Oil on canvas

Size 127.00 x 101.00 cm (framed: 157.00 x 133.35 x 13.97 cm)

Credit Purchased with the aid of the Cowan Smith Bequest Fund 1925


According to Sargent, the picture was completed quickly; writing to the acress Ada Rehan, who sat to him in 1894, he said "some of my best results have happened to be obtained with few sittings(Lady Agnew was done in six sittings)"


Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose(1885-6)

Medium: Oil paint on canvas

DimensionsSupport: 1740 x 1537 mm
frame: 2185 x 1970 x 130 mm

Collection: Tate

Acquisition: Presented by the Trustees of the Chantrey Bequest 1887

The method:

Instantly, he took up his place at a distance from the canvas, and at a certain notation of the light ran forward over the lawn with the action of a wag-tail, planting at the same time, rapid dabs of paint on the picture, and then retiring again, only, with equal suddenness, to repeat the wag-tail action. All this occupied but two or three minutes, the light rapidly declining, and then, while he left the young ladies to remove his machinery, Sargent would join us again, so long as the twilight permitted, in a last turn at lawn tennis.
(quoted in Charteris, pp.74-5)


The title comes from the song 'The Wreath', by the eighteenth-century composer of operas Joseph Mazzinghi, which was popular in the 1880s. Sargent and his circle frequently sang around the piano at Broadway. The refrain of the song asks the question 'Have you seen my Flora pass this way?' to which the answer is 'Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose'.


Lord Ribblesdale


Medium and support: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 258.4 x 143.5 cm

Collection: The National Gallery, London

Seeing the sitter years later, Virginia Woolf wrote to Duncan Grant: 'Directly I left you, by the way, I ran straight into Lord Ribblesdale, the very image of the his picture-only obviously seedy and dissolute'


标签: Sargent


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