Mr and Mrs Cross with the artist John Wharlton Bunney

in Venice 1880


Synopsis


The dramatic incident in Venice on the morning of 16 June 1880, when the newly married John Walter Cross jumped into the Grand Canal from his hotel room's balcony, has attracted much curiosity and speculation. Understandably Mrs Cross (George Eliot) was reticent about the happening in her journal and letters, and also wrote little about her stay in Venice before and after the event. But there is another source of information about the couple's Venetian experiences - the personal recollections and correspondence of the English artist John Wharlton Bunney (1828-82).

Bunney, described by Marian as 'an excellent painter and an interesting man' in a letter to her husband's sisters Mary, Eleanor, and Florence on 13 June,1 had lived with his family in Venice since June 1870. He received the Crosses at his apartment in Castello, showed his pictures, lent his copy of Ruskin's Stones of Venice, and also left his work to escort them round some of the city's delights. There surely would have been other excursions if the canal incident had not happened. Bunney pointed out several things that 'we should not have seen without his aid', Marian told her sisters-in-law.2

Bunney noted a conversation with Marian at her hotel on 22 June, the day before she and her husband left Venice for Verona on the next stage of their honeymoon, but discreetly left unrecorded anything he knew about John's jump. So nothing Bunney wrote in his journal sheds new light on what triggered John Cross's extraordinary behaviour that hot day more than 130 years ago. But the artist's recorded conversations with Marian, before 16 June and on the twenty-second, certainly enlarge the story of the Crosses' time in Venice, as also do four letters - one each from Marian and John Cross to Bunney in Venice, one from Marian to Bunney's wife Elizabeth from Baden in July 1880, and a fourth from John to Bunney from London in March 1881, all previously unpublished and generally unknown.3



The dramatic incident in Venice on the morning of 16 June 1880, when the newly married John Walter Cross jumped into the Grand Canal from his hotel room's balcony, has attracted much curiosity and speculation. Understandably Mrs Cross (George Eliot) was reticent about the happening in her journal and letters, and also wrote little about her stay in Venice before and after the event. But there is another source of information about the couple's Venetian experiences - the personal recollections and correspondence of the English artist John Wharlton Bunney (1828-82).

Bunney, described by Marian as 'an excellent painter and an interesting man' in a letter to her husband's sisters Mary, Eleanor, and Florence on 13 June,1 had lived with his family in Venice since June 1870. He received the Crosses at his apartment in Castello, showed his pictures, lent his copy of Ruskin's Stones of Venice, and also left his work to escort them round some of the city's delights. There surely would have been other excursions if the canal incident had not happened. Bunney pointed out several things that 'we should not have seen without his aid', Marian told her sisters-in-law.2

 

Bunney Portrait

John Wharlton Bunney, self-portrait, c. 1870, charcoal, 27.5 x 21cm. Private collection.

 

Bunney noted a conversation with Marian at her hotel on 22 June, the day before she and her husband left Venice for Verona on the next stage of their honeymoon, but discreetly left unrecorded anything he knew about John's jump. So nothing Bunney wrote in his journal sheds new light on what triggered John Cross's extraordinary behaviour that hot day more than 130 years ago. But the artist's recorded conversations with Marian, before 16 June and on the twenty-second, certainly enlarge the story of the Crosses' time in Venice, as also do four letters - one each from Marian and John Cross to Bunney in Venice, one from Marian to Bunney's wife Elizabeth from Baden in July 1880, and a fourth from John to Bunney from London in March 1881, all previously unpublished and generally unknown.3

What will probably also be new to followers of George Eliot is that the Crosses commissioned not one but two small watercolour sketches from Bunney on the afternoon of 13 June 1880. In the letter written in the morning of that day to her sisters-in-law, Marian had in mind choosing only one sketch 'to have at home either at Chelsea or Whitley',4 but deciding on just one picture obviously proved too difficult. By an unknown route, one of these two sketches surfaced in London at Bonhams auction rooms in September 2008. I came across the sale afterwards quite by accident. The catalogue description gave me the clue (the artist's number 227) to identifying the picture as one that Bunney painted for the Crosses. It was pleasing to be able to pass on the sketch's history to the new owner, who has kindly allowed its reproduction here. The whereabouts of the second sketch are unknown. Sadly Marian never saw her pictures because for various reasons Bunney did not complete the commissions and send them to London until March 1881, by which time she had died.

When Marian met Bunney in Venice, they seem not to have realized that they had several mutual friends, including Mrs Frank Rodbard Malleson (Elizabeth Whitehead) and Thomas Adolphus Trollope. Both also had business associations, as well as friendships, with the London publisher George Smith. Nevertheless, without it seems any introduction, the Crosses were soon on friendly and informal terms with Bunney and his wife Elizabeth (1838-1934). The artist seems to have been an engaging, knowledgeable, and kind man, whose appearance, character, and artistic abilities were not as Deborah Weisgall imagined them in her recent novel set in Venice in the years 1880 and 1980, with the theme 'art, love and marriage'. For those who have not read Weisgall's book, it features the Crosses as the principal characters in 1880 (with James A. McNeill Whistler, the Bunneys and Franz Liszt among the personalities with bit parts) and a modern couple in a parallel story.5 Weisgall's portrayal of Elizabeth Bunney, too, bears no resemblance to the reality.

In June 1880, John and Elizabeth ('Lizzie') Bunney were living with their four children in an apartment on the second floor of a quayside house near the Arsenale, with windows facing the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. The ever-changing view from the rooms, with extra interest from fishing boats and visiting ships, gave Bunney a constant stream of different scenes all year round for the atmospheric sketches he sold to tourists. He also sketched elsewhere in Venice. To keep his portfolio representative he rarely sold his original sketches. Visitors chose a subject and Bunney would paint a similar view in watercolour or oil, perhaps adding a steamer or figures or both embellishments, and he would send it to them later. Sometimes he was given a deadline but often he was not. Bunney's small Venetian sketches - described by an obituarist as 'a poem of Venice in colours'6 - were much admired, including by John Ruskin, and many were bought by American and English visitors, usually for £8 or £9 (or guineas) each.

Bunney enjoyed conversing about Venice to English-speaking visitors. Some came to his modest home with a personal introduction to view his pictures or heard that he was a source of books and pamphlets by John Ruskin (Bunney acted for several years as an informal agent for Ruskin's publications in Venice). It was initially Ruskin's works that led John Cross to Bunney's studio on either 8 or 9 June.7 Cross would not have had far to walk to the house, which was almost next door to the church of San Biagio. The luxury Europa hotel, where he and Marian stayed from 2 to 23 June, was in the Palazzo Giustiniani on the Grand Canal, close to the Procuratie Nuove. It would, therefore, have been a pleasant stroll to Bunney's studio eastwards past the Palazzo Ducale and then along the Riva degli Schiavoni, almost to the Via Giuseppe Garibaldi.

Bunney recorded this first visit as happening on Wednesday 9 June but Marian noted it as being on the eighth.8 The ninth is more likely because Bunney was in the fishing village of Chioggia on the eighth according to his pocket diary (his main journal is missing entries for 5-8 June). Bunney returned to his journal-keeping on the ninth and he noted showing Cross some of his drawings. Before leaving, Cross asked Bunney if he could bring 'a lady friend' to see the pictures. The next visit, by both the Crosses, was on the afternoon of Friday 11 June about 4 o'clock (this time, Marian's and Bunney's recorded dates coincide).

The following morning at 9.30 the Crosses met Bunney on the Piazza San Marco and viewed his large oil painting of St Mark's (The Western Façade of the Basilica of San Marco, Venice is its formal title) that Marian mentioned the next day in her letter to her sisters-in-law.9 Haight, in his edition of George Eliot's letters, says in a footnote that Bunney 'spent much of the last four years of his life' on this painting.10 That statement is not quite correct. Bunney began the actual painting on his 'big picture' (as he called it) on 25 June 1877 and had as good as finished it on 19 May 1881. When he worked on the picture outside on the Piazza (which he did for the major painting on and off until 1 October 1880), it was only in the early mornings so he had plenty of time left in his day for work on other architectural commissions and for informal sketching. So although Haight correctly said that Bunney worked on his St Mark's painting for four years, it was not full-time - Bunney completed much other work in the same period. He did no more work on the painting until the end of August and beginning of September 1882, when he had six short sessions putting the finishing touches to the picture in readiness for sending it to London for exhibition. Bunney had about 570 sessions on it, not 600 days (as some commentators have said).11

On the morning of 12 June, Bunney and the Crosses had some interesting talk. For example, they discussed the painters Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese, Marian expressing her opinion (as recounted by Bunney) that she did not like Tintoretto's work as much as other Venetian painters. She thought that the painter's colour, especially in his Paradiso (in the Palazzo Ducale), was so unpleasant that 'it was almost a pain to her to look at it'. Bunney tried to persuade her otherwise, that in his view Tintoretto was the greatest of painters. They all went on a walk to see various things of interest. Marian especially wanted to see again an altarpiece showing a Madonna with her robe enclosing a group of men, but could not remember where it was. Fortunately Bunney thought he had seen the work in Santa Maria Formosa and when they got to the church it was the right picture - The Madonna of Mercy, the middle panel of a triptych by Bartolomeo Vivarini. On their way back to the Piazza, Bunney showed the Crosses the Porta del Paradiso, and the Adam and Eve (or Fig Tree) Angle at the south-west corner of the Ducal Palace, which was then being restored so the party could compare the new work with the old.

Marian was sufficiently relaxed in Bunney's company that morning to ask an impertinent question, which was whether there was any Italian blood in the Bunney family, saying (in Bunney's words) that his face, expression, and eyes reminded her of an 'old Florentine'. In reply, Bunney said he thought he had no Italian ancestry and that he was instead a 'compound of English Scotch and German' (he was correct in that assumption, but the German fraction was tiny). Later, as they all walked back to the Piazza, Bunney felt he could ask a personal question in return without, he hoped, seeming rude and curious, which was whether she really was George Eliot as somebody had told him and Lizzie a previous evening (the Bunneys knew her novels). Marian could not deny it but asked Bunney to keep it a 'profound secret'. It bothered her that her identity was known in Venice but in her 13 June letter to her sisters-in-law, she remarked 'that there is not much harm in this betrayal since we live in deep retirement, partly in our rooms and partly in our gondola, never going to sit in the Piazza in the evening'.12

It was awkward, therefore, the next afternoon (Sunday 13 June) when the Crosses went late (about 5.30 o'clock) to Bunney's studio on purpose so as be there on their own, but soon after they arrived two friends of the Bunneys also turned up. 'I was sorry because Mrs Cross did not wish to meet anyone', Bunney recalled afterwards, 'but we managed pretty well, and there was no awkwardness'. The Crosses had a good look at Bunney's sketches and decided on two subjects, especially liking one painted on the Zattere. Marian had described Bunney's sketches in her letter to her sisters-in-law that Sunday morning, as giving 'the most wonderful sky effects in the depths of winter, chiefly in January'.13

 

Bunney Picture

Evening light, Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice, 1881, watercolour and bodycolour, 16.5 x 25cm. Private collection.

 

The Zattere watercolour, called Evening Light, Santa Maria del Rosario, Venice (Bunney's no. 227) is the one reproduced above. The other sketch, San Giorgio Maggiore in the Mist, is probably the same size as 227. Because many visitors to Venice bought Bunney's sketches with San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance, only Bunney's number (226) could identify the view that the Crosses bought. It is not known whether Bunney stayed in his studio to paint his no. 227, using his earlier sketch as a model, or (more likely) whether he returned to the Zattere to paint a fresh one for the Crosses, adding the figures to it back home. Bunney's original sketch that so attracted the Crosses has disappeared - Lizzie Bunney probably sold it or gave it away after her husband's death.14

The Zattere is the long fondamenta (or quay) along the Canale della Giudecca on the southern side of Venice and, because it was some distance from San Biagio, Bunney seems to have done little sketching there. Santa Maria del Rosario is also called the church of the Gesuati, and Bunney did his sketch on the Fondamenta Zattere ai Gesuati near the Rio di S. Trovaso, a small canal that runs northwards to the Grand Canal. After his arrival in Venice from Florence in 1870, Bunney visited the area quite often to call on the Flemish artist Francois Vervleot (1795-1872), who had a house on the quay and who had befriended Bunney in 1860 on his first visit to Venice. After Vervleot's death, however, Bunney had little cause to visit the area.

Another picture that Marian was anxious to see in Venice was a painting by Vittore Carpaccio called Two Venetian Ladies on a Balcony that Ruskin praised as 'the best picture in the world' in his St Mark's Rest.15 The painting used to be called Due Cortigiane (The Two Courtesans) but scholars have argued that Carpaccio painted the featured two women as respectable ladies waiting the return of their husbands from a hunting party, so have changed the name.16 Bunney knew the picture well, having copied a detail from it for Ruskin in 1877. During the Crosses' visit, the painting was in the partly reconstructed and extended Fóndaco dei Turchi on the Grand Canal, then the home of the Museo Correr, but it could not be seen by the general public. Through his personal contacts, however, Bunney arranged a special viewing for Monday 14 June. The timetable of events now gets confused. Marian noted no visit to the museum in her journal, which is surprising considering how badly she wanted to see the Carpaccio, but Bunney did note one. His journal entry for 14 June reads:

It was a wet morning so could not work on the St Marco but it cleared up about 9 & Lizzie & I went up to the Europa to meet the Cross's to go to the Correr with them. We all went in a gondola together Lizzie & Mrs Cross talking very much.

There the entry stops. It is possible that the party got to the museum, found that the private viewing was not after all convenient that morning (Bunney had sought permission only the night before), and the four then did some other sightseeing. Marian's journal entry for 14 June puzzlingly reads: 'With Mr and Mrs Bunney to the Manfrini Palace and Casa de'quattro Evangelisti'.17 It is odd that Bunney did not note visiting the Casa degli Evangelisti - so-called by Ruskin because of the symbols of the four Evangelists in the spandrels of a window; its correct name is Palazzo Agnusdio. The building is just off the Grand Canal close to the back of the Ca' Pésaro. In the margin of his journal by his 14 June entry, however, Bunney wrote 'At Correr Manfrini'. So a visit to the Palazzo Manfrini (or, in full, Palazzo Venier-Priuli-Manfrini), which is on the Canale di Cannarégio off the Grand Canal and which used to house some interesting pictures, took place; the one to the Correr Museum remains uncertain. The Fóndaco dei Turchi is roughly between the Palazzo Venier and the Palazzo Agnusdio, however, so going by gondola to all three buildings would have been easy.

There is a further muddle over dates and events on the following two days. In his 1880 pocket diary, Bunney wrote 'at Europa Mr C ill' as his entry for Tuesday 15 June. We know that Marian called Dr Ricchetti on the morning of the sixteenth,18 and Cross jumped into the canal from another room while they were talking.19 The day before, Marian recorded that she and her husband (without Bunney) went to the Accademia to see paintings by Bellini and that they did 'not go out after lunch'.20 On the morning of the sixteenth, before Dr Richetti had arrived, Marian sent Bunney a note, which she mistakenly headed 'Tuesday morning':

My dear Sir
I am sorry to say that Mr Cross is very unwell & I have sent for a medical man. Our visit to the Correr must unhappily be renounced, but I trust that the trouble you have taken on our behalf will at least secure the pleasure of seeing the Museum with Mrs Bunney.
   With kind regards to her, I remain, my dear Sir,
Yours very sincerely,
M A Cross

I send with this a letter which Mr Cross wrote to send to you yesterday, but owing to his indisposition omitted to give it to the Porter & this morning he finds it in his pocket.

Marian's letter confirms that John was unwell, perhaps behaving oddly, on Tuesday afternoon (and could explain Bunney's diary note for 15 June if he had called at the hotel). But it muddles the issue of the Correr visit, unless a second visit was planned. The letter that John Cross wrote on 15 June, but forgot to send, also mentions the Correr trip.

Hotel de 'Europe
15 June 1880
My dear Sir,
   Many thanks for your note of yesterday. Wednesday (tomorrow) at 2 o'clock will suit us exceedingly well and it will be a pleasure we should be sorry to miss seeing the Correr Museum in your & Mrs Bunney's company.
   Mrs Cross is exceedingly obliged for your copy of the New Edition of the Stones of Venice which we will look into with very great interest and will take care to return it to you before leaving Venice.
   With our kind regards to Mrs Bunney
Believe me
Yours truly
J. W. Cross
John Bunney Esq.
San Biagio 2143

Bunney made no further entries in his journal until 22 June. It is clear from his pocket diary, however, that he was much occupied not only with his big painting of St Mark's but also views of the basilica's north-west corner and interior for two other clients. Then on 22 June, the day before Marian and John left Venice, he called at the Europa: 'Saw Mrs Cross who received me very kindly and we had some nice pleasant talk'.

The 'talk' seems to have included some soul-baring, judging by Bunney's summary of what he and Marian discussed. Nothing seems to have been off-limits in their conversation - Cross's illness, the ups and downs of their respective lives, whether Bunney sometimes felt depressed about his work (he did), the 'goodness' of Ruskin, and Bunney's strong faith all featured. Marian told Bunney (as he recounted it) that she had had to 'put out efforts & powers she had never been accustomed to use before in fact she did not think she possessed' to cope with the 'affliction that had come upon her'. She spoke, too, of, George Lewes, saying that 'he was always much elated & joyous in beginning a work and usually felt on completion how much it fell beneath what he had desired it to be', and that she herself 'was constantly dwelling upon the miserable experiences rather than upon the good ones'.

Bunney clearly knew all or much of what happened at the Europa on 16 June but chose not to record anything about John Cross's breakdown in his journal or pocket diary nor even that he met Cross's brother William. He ended his entry for 22 June sympathetically with these words about Marian: 'It is quite certain that the strain upon her nervous system was assuredly great and no wonder under the circumstances, for the experience is a terrible one'.

A month after the Crosses left Venice, Lizzie received a letter from Marian, written as she and John were about to head home to England. The frank words in this letter reflect the relaxed relationship Marian had had with Lizzie as well as with John Bunney during her brief and troubled time in Venice. To my knowledge Marian does not describe her husband's illness as a 'delirium' anywhere else.

Baden, July 19. 80
Dear Mrs Bunney
   I think that I promised to write to you, that in the pressure of things to be done on our arrival in England I should become forgetful of that promise, I use a few minutes of leisure this morning to send you the news which your tender sympathy desired to have.
   My dear husband is quite well. We were no sooner in the railway carriage that took us from Venice than the steady improvement, which has continued ever since, visibly began. I feel bitterly that if I could at once have procured for him the right conditions at Venice, the delirium would have been much more transient. Both you & Mr Bunney will, I know, feel your kind hearts gladdened by the sense that we are again glad. Our time has been passed very quietly in travelling by easy stages & resting where the scenery was most attractive. We got fond of Innsbruck & stayed there a week. Our next long stay was at Wildbad, among the pines & pastures of the Black Forest, & we had a delightful carriage journey from thence to this more showy place the day before yesterday. Mr William Cross left us at Wildbad, being wanted at home, so we are again enjoying our dual solitude. But we are rather longing to be at home in our quiet bit of Surrey, & we shall go on to Strasburg tonight. By easy stages we hope to get home at the beginning of next week.
   Did we tell you our English address? Until October or November, it will be 'The Heights, Witley, Surrey'. Through the Winter & early spring months it will be '4 Cheyne Walk, Chelsea'. It will be in this latter of the two houses that we shall hang Mr Bunney's bits of Venetian sunlight.
   I hope that you have been quite well & without trouble since we parted. Please, both of you remember me as
Yours most truly
M A Cross

Lizzie seems not to have replied to Marian's letter or, if she did, her letter went astray. Bunney's journal has no entries for the 23 June to 7 August 1880 and there is no hint anywhere why Lizzie may not have answered the letter. Lizzie's lack of response may have been for no other reasons than she was a busy mother (she taught her children herself) and was not a good correspondent.

Throughout the rest of the summer and into autumn 1880 Bunney continued with his big painting for Ruskin and several commissioned watercolour drawings for other patrons, and was clearly too busy to attend to the Cross commissions. On 10 October, he and Lizzie went to the Piazza to meet George Smith, who was in Venice on holiday. That evening Smith told Lizzie that George Eliot was never married to Lewes. Apart from noting what Smith told Lizzie, Bunney said nothing in his journal about how Lizzie reacted to the news; it must have come as a shock to her.

Bunney seems not to have begun the Crosses' commissions until 2 November 1880, when he noted some work on the S. Giorgio sketch. He continued painting it on six days in November, probably just for an hour or two in the afternoons, but on 11 November he recorded spending a whole day on the picture and probably finished it then. In December, Bunney was ill in bed for ten days and out of sorts for a longer time. He made no daily journal entries for January and February 1881 although he wrote short summaries of his work and other doings for those two months. His 1881 pocket diary lacks entries until 17 January. On that day and the following one, Bunney managed some work on a Cross sketch. After that, all we have is a record on 2 March that he sent off the two Cross pictures and he wrote a letter that he had done so on 3 March. My guess is that the Zattere sketch was the one he painted in January 1881 - perhaps Marian had told him how much she liked winter sky effects and he postponed work on the picture until conditions were right.

The sketches arrived in London very promptly and John Cross wrote warmly in acknowledgement.

4 Cheyne Walk,
Chelsea, S. W.
7 March 1881
My dear Mr Bunney,
   The beautiful drawings came safely to Cornhill on Saturday and your kind photo of 3rd inst reached me today. I enclose cheque for the £18.18/- and am very grateful for the charming mementoes of Venice. For although it proved a very fatal place to me at the end it still holds some of the sweetest memories of our short wedded life. My illness to me was like a hideous nightmare but I hope that the memory of it will continue to fade and grow dim till some day I may be able to return and see Venice as she first appeared to me - the joy given - the Superb - the Queen of cities. And I must before I die see again all the great & beautiful pictures which my wife & I saw together & which she taught me to love. Before I was taken ill it all seemed a poem - and again when I had got quite well & strong again our life at Witley seemed as if it were to be the continuation of the poem. But she never was really well from the day she set foot again on English soil - not well I mean in the way she had been well on the Continent. She was very dependent on the heat and on the light of the sun and during all Octr & Novr she was very ill - so much so that I got Dr Andrew Black down to see her in the country - she was wonderfully recovered however when we came to town at the beginning of Decr. One of the very last things we were talking of before her final illness was that we had never heard from you - nor from Mrs Bunney to whom my wife had written from Baden Baden. I said I would write to you & tell you how we were longing for a bit of Venetian colour. And then came the fatal chill which the previous illness had left her no power to resist - and I have had no heart to write since. But I am very glad to have heard from you at last although grieved at the cause of your delay. I daresay a trip to England will be the very best thing to set up your strength again and I shall look forward with great pleasure to seeing you at this house when you come to London. My brother too will be very pleased to see you. He is living with my sister at Campden Hill and I will be sure to give him your kind message when next I see him. If he knew I was writing he would wish I know to join me in kindest remembrances to Mrs Bunney & yourself. Although I wish the memory of my illness to grow dim I wish to keep very fresh the memory of those who shewed kindness then.
Believe me
Yours sincerely
J. W. Cross

Cross does not mention Bunney nor the two sketches in his biography of his late wife.21 As Cross intimated in his letter, Bunney expected to return to London (to see his St Mark's painting for Ruskin exhibited) later in 1881, but the exhibition had to be postponed because of Ruskin's mental illness. It was rescheduled for November 1882 but Bunney died on 23 September, just a few weeks before he was due to leave Venice for England.

Notes

  1. The George Eliot Letters, ed. Gordon S. Haight, 9 vols (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1954-78), VII, p. 297 (subsequently cited as Letters).
  2. ibid.
  3. I thank Jonathan Ouvry, great-great-grandson of G. H. Lewes, for allowing me to publish two letters from M. A. Cross, one to J. W. Bunney and the other to his wife Elizabeth; I have been unable to trace the copyright holder of the unpublished correspondence of John Walter Cross. All four letters remain in a family archive. The quoted extracts from Bunney's 1880 journal and 1880 pocket diary are courtesy of the Guild of St George and the Bunney family.
  4. Letters, p. 297.
  5. The World Before Her (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2008), chs. 1, 3, and 7.
  6. H. F. Brown, 'A painter of Venetian colours', Pall Mall Gazette, 20 October 1882.
  7. One of John Cross's purchases is likely to have been the pamphlet St Mark's Rest, Parts I and II (1877) and III (1879).
  8. The Journals of George Eliot, ed. Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p. 206 (subsequently cited as Journals).
  9. Ruskin commissioned this painting in 1877 for his newly founded Guild of St George and its Museum in Sheffield. The picture can be seen today hanging in a prominent position in the Guild's Ruskin Collection in the Millenium Gallery, Museums Sheffield.
  10. Letters, p. 297, n. 3.
  11. For J. W. Bunney's work on his large St Mark's painting, see Sarah Bunney, 'John W. Bunney's "big picture" of St Mark's, and the Ruskin-Bunney relationship', Ruskin Review and Bulletin, 4 (2007), 18-47 and 'J. W. Bunney's "big picture": an update', Ruskin Review and Bulletin, 4 (2008), 13-15. For some other aspects of Bunney's life and work, based on my recent (and ongoing) research, see Sarah Bunney, 'Mementoes of 19th century Italy: American patronage of John Wharlton Bunney (1828-82)', The British Art Journal, 10 (2009/10), 108-24. Biographical information about J. W. Bunney in books about Ruskin and online sources should not be relied upon for accuracy.
  12. Letters, p. 298.
  13. ibid.
  14. Louise Pullen, Curator of the Ruskin Collection in Sheffield, and Sarah Quill helped me reach this conclusion.
  15. Ch. 10, 'The Shrine of the Slaves' (First Supplement, 1877), reprinted in The Works of John Ruskin, ed. E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn, Library Edition, 39 vols (London: George Allen, 1903-12), XXIV (1906), p. 364. Ruskin's informal name for the painting was 'Two ladies with their pets'.
  16. See Stefano Zuffi (ed.), Art in Venice (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002), p. 148, also Jan Lauts, Carpaccio Paintings and Drawings: Complete Edition (London: Phaidon, 1962), pp. 251-2.
  17. Journals, p. 206.
  18. ibid.
  19. See Brenda Maddox, George Eliot: Novelist, Lover, Wife (London: Harper, 2009), pp. 215-19 for the sequence of events and coverage of the story by the local newspapers.
  20. Journals, p. 206.
  21. George Eliot's Life as Related in her Letters and Journals, arranged and edited by her husband J. W. Cross, 3 vols (Edinburgh and London: Blackwood, 1885).

Published on 7 March 2012

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