Opulent portrait of Elfrida Elizabeth Bird (1848-1928), wife of Luke Ionides (1837-1924), epitomising Aesthetic taste.

The sitter wears a salmon pink silk dress with a silver gilt buckle at the waist decorated with fretwork including the figures of Faith, Hope and Charity (the original buckle is currently on loan to the museum). She holds a 'Tesbih' string of amber beads which, along with the mother-of-pearl inlaid dark wood table in the right foreground, may be a reference to the Ionides' Middle Eastern origin. Elfrida sits on an Empire-style sofa (the height of Aesthetic fashion) behind which is a screen of patterned Japanese kimono silk (of which the museum has several comparable examples).

Provenance

Mr and Mrs Luke Ionides; by descent to anonymous vendor (through Christie's).


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