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Héloïse (or Eloisa) is lying on her deathbed, a priest gesticulates heavenwards and two nuns kneel beside her. This is the conclusion of the tragic medieval story of Héloïse (1101–1164), niece of Fulbert, a canon of Notre Dame Cathedral, and Peter Abelard (1079–1142), a preacher and her teacher. The lovers are immortalised in the poem by Alexander Pope (1688–1744) by which Kauffmann was inspired on more than one occasion.
oil on canvas
H 40.5 x W 40.5 cm
gift from Sir Henry Hugh Arthur Hoare along with the estate, house and its contents, 1946