30 January 2011

Sunday Painting: Moment Musicale by Charles Frederic Ulrich

This could be a vintage Virago cover.

Moment Musicale, 1883
Charles Frederic Ulrich 1858-1908
de Young Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

In honor of the last day of Virago Reading Week, I thought I would choose a painting this week that looks like it could be a vintage Virago cover. I think this one fills the bill quite nicely. I don't think Virago ever has (or will) publish any E. M. Forster titles, but the image image also reminds me of the scene in Forster's A Room With A View where Lucy Honeychurch is playing piano in the Pension Bertolini in Florence.
It so happened that Lucy, who found daily life rather chaotic, entered a more solid world when she opened the piano. She was then no longer either deferential or patronizing; no longer either a rebel or a slave.
And of course the Reverend Mr. Beebe's assessment of her playing:
If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting -- both for us and for her.
I feel a re-read of this book coming on. But given my TBR Dare, I can't until after April 1st. Then again I could watch the film for the 400th time.


  1. Oh I love this! Would make a wnderful Virago cover (and better than some of the vintage ones - I was looking back over mine this wee and there are a lot of dreadfully dull portraits of females)

  2. A Room With a View is one of my favorite books, and favorite films of all time. I find the 1986 version with Helena Bonham Carter to be far superior to the recent BBC updated version. I would have liked it if it wasn't for the ridiculous epilogue.

  3. Verity: I think publishers would do well to plumb the offerings of American art more frequently for cover images. It might cut down on all the duplicates as well.

    Karen: Everything you said is spot on. Except that there was almost nothing I liked about the recent BBC version. After some early amusement over how some of the characters were played I quickly found the whole thing to be an abomination. The Merchant Ivory version is not only a wonderful adaptation, but it is one of the best movies ever made. (In my humble opinion of course.)


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