The Keepsake1901 by Kate Elizabeth Bunce

The painting is filled with Arts and Crafts motifs, popular with the Birmingham School of Art at this time. Ethel Newill who modeled for the figure on the right was a friend of Bunce's and came from a prominent artistic Birmingham family. Katie Palmer is the figure second from the right holding a staff and was also a friend of the artist. Margaret Louisa Wright modeled for the throned figure and was Bunce's cousin. It is recorded in her diary that she was asked to sit replacing an ill model.

It is based on a poem by Rossetti and was first shown with this quotation:

'Then stepped a damsel to her side,
And spoke and needs must weep:
'For his sake, lady, if he died,
He prayed of thee to keep
This staff and scrip'.

Bequeathed by Kate Elizabeth Bunce, 1928.
(http://www.bmagic.org.uk/objects/1928P156)
Click to select the cover image for this artwork.