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The title of this work derives from Edmund Spenser's 'Prothalamion' (1596). Nymph-like figures adorn a meadow along a riverbank, some gather flowers in their wicker baskets for a bride and groom. Two swans approach and a child leans over about to place a garland of flowers on one of them:
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strow
Did never whiter show,
Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear…
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
Sweet Thames! run softly, till I end my song.
This is a painted Victorian interpretation of Spenser’s marriage poem by the female illustrator and calligrapher who married Arts and Crafts enthusiast, and later Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Sydney Cockerell. Cockerell's brother was the bookbinder of Ashendene Press, publisher of Spenser’s poems, where the artist worked.
oil on canvas
H 39.5 x W 62 cm
accepted by HM Treasury in lieu of inheritance tax and transferred, 2002