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Cleopatra held a banquet for her lover Mark Antony, and when he expressed surprise at its magnificence she removed a priceless pearl from her ear and dissolved it in her glass of wine which she then drank. This was, apparently, to indicate her indifference to luxury. Lady Felton, in a suggestive pose and wearing loose clothing, plucks one of her large pearl earrings and we suppose she is going to place it in the gold goblet she is holding.
oil on canvas
H 114.5 x W 84 cm
bequeathed by Ralph Bankes, 1981