Paperblog A Brie Grows in Brooklyn

A Brie Grows in Brooklyn

"Mabel's not crazy... she's unusual."

Icon of the Week: Irene Forsyte

In second part of The Forsyte Saga, the main protagonist, Young Jolyon Forsyte, recalls the first time that he saw Irene. He describes her as such:

"He remembered having seen her sitting in the Botanical Gardens waiting for Bosinney—a passive, fascinating figure, reminding him of Titian’s ‘Heavenly Love.’"

One could only imagine that Irene is not quite so robust as the goddess that Titian painted above, although the house that she was meant to inhabit, designed for her by her great love, the architect Bosinney (a man not her husband), would be no less idyllic than that landscape in the great painter’s rendition of Sacred and Profane Love

(This is starting to sound like a half-assed book report, but I’m going to go with it.)

For your perfect abode, Irene, and the weight of you perfect love, as described by  your crank of a great uncle, the decidedly constipated Swithin:

"But from him, thus slumbering, his jealous Forsyte spirit travelled far, into God-knows-what jungle of fancies; with those two young people, to see what they were doing down there in the copse–in the copse where the Spring was running riot with the scent of sap and bursting buds, the song of birds innumerable, a carpet of bluebells and sweet growing things, and the sun caught like gold in the tops of the trees; to see what they were doing, walking along there so close together on the path that was too narrow; walking along there so close that they were always touching; to watch Irene’s eyes, like dark thieves, stealing the heart out of the Spring."

Before things get so heady and condescending that I lose your attention (is anyone reading this?), here is a modern rendition of the goddess in Heavenly Love:

Call me a cynic, but for some reason I can’t imagine that Irene could have been quite so charming if she had possessed this monster bust. Or if she had the gumption to wear this outfit, pose for such a picture, and put it on the Internet. In my silly little head, I don’t see Irene being quite such a wackadoo.

For copses, for carriage rides, for the English countryside. For riding frocks and veils to cover one’s face from the dirt kicked up by a horse’s hooves. For being so beautiful as to deserve a great home, a Victorian mansion with classic proportions overlooking the best of the world in a single view, Irene Forsyte, you’re my icon of the week.

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  1. briennewalsh posted this