A Florentine Masquerade
Russell Flint painted this scene in the summer of 1920 on his Grand Tour of Europe which took him and his wife Sibylle through France, Spain and Italy by train. The tour took three months and cost the two of them £300. The artist’s father-in-law, Admiral Seuter, gave the picture to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The fashionable masqueraders are promenading in the bright sunlight of the spectacular Vasca dell’Isolotto of the Boboli gardens in Florence. The subject is perfectly suited to the artist’s brush, and with brilliant handling, he renders the instant, the lost moment of Marcel Proust. In particular, the woman in the foreground, posing as for a fashion plate in magazine, seems to epitomise the beginning of the 1920s, excluding the dashing glamour of the post-war Jazz Age. The composition is similar to that of Japanese prints, as indeed were many of his early waterside studies, but it principally the fresh modernity of the watercolour that gives it such remarkable charm.