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Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting

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Young Kate Millet is the model for the painting John Singer Sargent is working on in her parents' garden. Everyone says she is posing well, even though she finds it very hard to stand still. Then, one of her father's friends arrives with his two daughters. They're older, taller and have lighter hair than Kate. Sargent decides to use them as models instead. Kate is devastated. Based on numerous letters and recollections from the period, Hugh Brewster's story describes Kate's disappointment, the many difficulties ...
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Overview

Young Kate Millet is the model for the painting John Singer Sargent is working on in her parents' garden. Everyone says she is posing well, even though she finds it very hard to stand still. Then, one of her father's friends arrives with his two daughters. They're older, taller and have lighter hair than Kate. Sargent decides to use them as models instead. Kate is devastated. Based on numerous letters and recollections from the period, Hugh Brewster's story describes Kate's disappointment, the many difficulties experienced by the painter through the long artistic process, Kate's reconciliation with him and how she is immortalized on canvas after all. Illustrated with over 35 of Sargent's paintings and sketches, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose recreates the 1880s milieu of the famed American painter during an extended trip to England, and the thoughts and days of a girl who was there alongside him.
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Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children’s Book News
... a fascinating story ... Brewster makes accessible the rarefied world of art ... Sargent’s work ... offer a feast for the eyes.
Toronto Star
A great introduction to the world of art ...
Quill & Quire
... well-researched and engaging volume ...
The Admirals Blog
This is an exquisite book, gently written and beautifully produced ... one of the most charming and instructive of art-making stories ... compelling, essential reading for anyone of any age who is interested in painting ...
From the Publisher
... a fascinating story ... Brewster makes accessible the rarefied world of art ... Sargent’s work ... offer a feast for the eyes.

A great introduction to the world of art ...

... well-researched and engaging volume ...

This is an exquisite book, gently written and beautifully produced ... one of the most charming and instructive of art-making stories ... compelling, essential reading for anyone of any age who is interested in painting ...

This is an exquisite book ...

Elizabeth Ward
The book is gorgeously illustrated with other paintings and sketches by Sargent as well as photographs of the Millets' house, family and friends—and the real, fierce-eyed Kate.
—The Washington Post
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
"The summer I was five, John Singer Sargent came to visit us. He wasn't a famous artist then. But he painted a picture in our garden that became famous." So begins Kate Millet's story of how Sargent's Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose came to be painted in her parents' garden in the English village of Broadway. Brewster makes Kate the narrator of events in the summers of 1885 and 1886, when Sargent first asks Kate to pose, but then decides to paint the taller Barnard sisters, dressed in ruffled white smocks, lighting Chinese lanterns. While the Millets and their artist friends play tennis, have musical soirees, and take a boat trip on the Avon, Sargent dashes into the flower-filled garden each evening to capture on his huge canvas the white lilies, smocks, and the rosy glow of lanterns in the evanescent twilight. Though this account is partly fictional, Brewster has done meticulous research on related sketches and drawings, other paintings (carefully documented at the end), and photos of the village at the time. Thrilled when Sargent presents her with a small portrait of herself, Kate describes seeing the "big picture" in 1887 at London's Royal Academy, where it became a huge success. Kate's distinctive voice and abundant illustrations arranged as an album will draw readers of all ages into the artists' charmed circle. Includes biographies of people mentioned in the book as well as a selected bibliography. For a different take on Sargent, enchanted readers might try Douglas Rees's The Janus Gate (Watson-Guptill, 2006). Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5
Nervous, quiet, and excited Kate describes John Singer Sargent's visits to her home and his artistic endeavors in her English village. She is disappointed when the gruff artist drops her as a featured subject in his Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose in favor of some other children, but eventually becomes the subject of one of his portraits. The calm, mood-setting text captures elements of the more affluent lifestyles of the late 1800s. Brewster deftly develops Kate's personality, with strong emphasis on her feelings, while the painter remains a secondary character, with readers learning of his artistic technique through the child's observations. The illustrations come from a variety of sources and include mostly old, black-and-white photos (some of the real-life Kate Millet Adlard) and some recent color ones of Kate's home and of Victorian artifacts, plus many reproductions of Sargent's sketches and paintings. Soft, delicate cream-and-white borders frame the text and artwork; dark-green endpapers give the book a Victorian feel. The handsome cover reinforces Singer's interesting use of light. Libraries looking for art-related fiction should consider this carefully packaged work. Bear in mind, however, that as a picture book with lots of text, it may have a limited audience and will need to be booktalked.
—Lynn K. VancaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
In the 19th-century equivalent of being asked to model for a Vogue spread shot by Annie Leibovitz, little Kate Millet is noticed by the famous painter John Singer Sargent and asked to pose for him. Like Leibovitz, Sargent left nothing to chance, using wigs, designing clothes and sending a peacock and lily bulbs in preparation for his painting the following summer. Kate experiences the thrills and the tribulations of being a model: One day when Sargent chooses to paint two other girls instead, Kate spends the evening in her room crying. In the end, Kate poses for one of Sargent's most famous paintings: Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. Anyone interested in the life of Sargent will find the portrait of the artist and his painting through the eyes of a child model fascinating. Splendid reproductions, photos and sketches. (Nonfiction. 12+)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554531370
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/28/2007
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 910L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Hugh Brewster has written and produced several critically acclaimed titles, such as Inside the Titanic, Anastasia's Album and On Juno Beach. His books have won him a Silver Birch Award, a Red Cedar Award, and the Children's Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.
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