Women Gathering Flowers
This oil on canvas depicting six women gathering flowers in a meadow is exemplary of the Pre-Raphaelite style of painting. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded by a group of British artists during the mid-19th century who desired to create paintings that diverted from the unimaginative academic approach to art of the Royal Academy of London. The group was inspired by the paintings of late medieval and early Renaissance artists – particularly those created before the time of Raphael (1483–1520). Their work explored themes of love, death, and morality as presented in literature and poetry. In addition, women were the typical subjects of their paintings and commonly portrayed as pure and unobtainable objects of beauty. It is likely that this painting was captured en plein air, as many Pre-Raphaelites enjoyed depicting their subjects in nature to convey minute botanical details. In the bright green meadow of pink and white flowers, the main subject of focus is soulfully gazing at a single flower in her hand. She is wearing white, a symbol of purity, and is illuminated with radiant, angel-like sunlight. The entire image is depicted using a saturated palette, and the edges and contours are soft, providing the painting with an overall delicate nature. This canvas has been layered on board, which was a common method of preparing a painting to retain the aesthetics of painting on a textured, woven fabric with the added long-term benefits of a rigid, solid support.
At this time in the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II (1926–) ascended to the throne at the age of 25 in 1952 after the death of her father, George VI (1895–1952). Her official coronation was held on June 2, 1953, after a sufficient period of mourning had passed. Held at Westminster Abbey in London, the coronation became the first major world event to be broadcast internationally on television. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of rule, in 2022.