Tuesday, April 24

Daily Art : The Snow Goose

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Today’s Daily art features “The snow goose”, painted in 1946 by Sir Peter Scott, is a portrait of his first wife - the beautiful novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard. The painting depicts Howard as Fritha in the iconic book Snow Goose by Paul Gallico, which Scott illustrated in 1946.

The painting has a strange moodiness. Partly because of the awkward way in which Fritha is holding the wounded goose and the drawn, wary look in her big expressive eyes. The palette of dull washed out colours add to the sense of sadness. 

In her autobiography, Howard recalls how, on a passage to New York on board the Aquitania with four hundred GI brides, Scott had searched the ship for a suitable model for Fritha, but “with the general prostration and the fact that the brides were unexpectedly a series of ‘no oil paintings’, he had to fall back on me. I stood for hours holding a pillow, which he turned into the wounded snow goose.”

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