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This painting is set in a garden in the Cotswolds village of Broadway, where John Singer Sargent stayed in the summer of 1885. The children lighting Japanese lanterns with tapers are Dolly (left) and Polly Barnard. Their father was the illustrator Frederick Barnard – a friend of Sargent’s.Sargent wanted to capture the exact level of light at dusk so he painted the picture out of doors, in the Impressionist manner. As autumn came and the flowers died he resorted to painting flowers in pots. The title comes from the refrain of a popular song The Wreath by Joseph Mazzinghi.

July 2007