Oil painting on canvas, Damon and Musidora by John Opie, RA (St Agnes 1761 – London 1807). The country girl Musidora seated, full-length, by a pool. Her shoulders and right breast are bare; and she is wearing a white dress with a blue sash. In the left upper corner Damon can be seen behind a tree. From James Thomsons' s The Seasons - Summer (1727):
"Thrice happy swain!
A lucky chance, that oft decides the fate
Of mighty monarchs, then decided thine.
For lo! conducted by the laughing Loves
This cool retreat his Musidora sought:
Warm in her cheeks the sultry season glow’d,
Her fervent limbs in the refreshing stream.
What shall he do? in sweet confusion lost,
And dubious flutterings, he awhile remain’d:
A pure ingenuous elegance of soul,
A delicate refinement known to few,
Perplex’d his breast, and urg’d him to retire:
But Love forbade."
Owned by Sir John Leicester Bart., and displayed in his gallery at Tabley House, Cheshire. In the collection of the 3rd Earl of Egremont (1731-1857) by 1835. Thence by descent, until the death in 1952 of the 3rd Lord Leconfield, who had given Petworth to the National Trust in 1947, and whose nephew and heir, John Wyndham, 6th Lord Leconfield and 1st Lord Egremont (1920-72) arranged for the acceptance of the major portion of the collections at Petworth in lieu of death duties (the first ever such arrangement) in 1956 by H.M.Treasury.
Makers and roles
John Opie, RA (St Agnes 1761 – London 1807), artist