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10 March 2020Fizz and Crackle: imagination, innovation and curiosity in the work of John Singer-Sargent
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Fizz and Crackle: imagination, innovation and curiosity in the work of John Singer-Sargent Mary Alexander Tuesday 10 March 2020

Booking in January and February 2020

Born in Florence in 1856 to American parents, multilingual but without any formal school education, Sargent soon became a celebrity artist with an international reputation. 

Whether you know his work well or not at all, this Special Interest Day will provide insights to his work across a range of subjects and media. We will explore Sargent's inventiveness, modernity and technical brilliance; also his sense of human empathy and fun. There will be many intriguing surprises. Caricatures, letters and diaries will be used to bring the characters to life and to shed light on the life and interests of this charismatic and complex individual. A visual Sargent feast!

10.30 Lecture 1 – “At Home Everywhere and Nowhere” – an itinerant childhood and student years in Paris

11.30 Coffee

12.00 Lecture 2 – “The Edwardians knew they were rich, but they did not know how rich until Sargent painted them” – the portrait years

13.00 Lunch

14.15 Lecture 3 – “To make the most of an emergency” – a true radical

15.30 Approximate finish

Cost: £38 : to include a buffet lunch, wine, soft drinks and tea/coffee


Jenny Boler
Jessamine Cottage, Limetree Road, Goring, Reading RG8 9EY
01491 873481

Suggested Further Reading by Mary Alexander
Historical biography

  • The Hon Evan Charteris, John Sargent, Heinemann, 1927

Catalogue raisonné

  • Richard Ormond & Elaine Kilmurray, John Singer Sargent:The Complete Paintings/watercolours, multiple volumes, Yale University Press (the best available source for text and superb photographs) 2004 - ongoing
  • Stanley Olson, John Singer Sargent: His Portrait, Macmillan, 1986
  • Devon Cox, The Street of Wonderful Possibilities: Whistler, Wilde and Sargent, Francis Lincoln, 2015 (about Tite Street Chelsea)
  • Trevor Fairbrother, Sargent the Sensualist, (Seattle Art Museum exhibition catalogue) Yale University Press, 2000
  • Carter Ratcliff, John Singer Sargent, Abbeville Press, 1982
  • Sargent and the Sea, Royal Academy exhibition, 2010
  • Sargent at Broadway: the Impressionist Years, essays by S Olson, W Adelson & R Ormond, John Murray,1986
  • Sargent and Italy, Princeton University Press, 2003
  • Gabriel Badeau-Paun, The Society Portrait: Painting, Prestige and the Pursuit of Elegance, Thames & Hudson, 2007

Historical/social/cultural background

  • Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, The Glitter and the Gold, (written 1953) Stodder & Houghton, 2011
  • David Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, Macmillan, 1996
  • Joe Mordaunt Crook, The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches, John Murray, 1999