This ornament of Isabella Stewart Gardner is directly inspired by her portrait painted by John Singer Sargent and displayed in the Gothic Room.
Mrs. Gardner sat for Sargent during his visit to Boston in January 1888. He was paid $3000 for the portrait, which was exhibited to great acclaim at Boston’s St. Botolph Club. The work also inspired gossip and legend: someone jokingly titled it “Woman: An Enigma,” while others believed that the sensuous display of flesh deliberately echoed the scandal recently created by Sargent’s Madame X. Mrs. Gardner herself said that she rejected eight renderings of the face until she was satisfied.
Jack Gardner seems to have asked his wife not to publicly show the portrait again while he was alive, and indeed the portrait was placed in the Gothic Room, which remained private until Mrs. Gardner’s death. In its gallery, surrounded by altarpieces, stained glass, and religious statuary, the sacramental quality noted by nineteenth-century reviewers is even more pronounced.
Ornaments of other subjects and artists featured in the Gardner Museum also available. Complete your collection of Gardner Museum-inspired ornaments with Sargent's vision of the Museum's founder!
Now Offering In-Store Pickup
We have reopened to the public and we can’t wait to see you! We are pleased to offer in-store pickup as a way for you to get your order quickly when you come to visit us. We have greatly limited our capacity in the store, which may incur a wait time. If you are coming to the Museum, we encourage you to place your order with us before your visit so we can have it ready right away for you. Just select "pickup" as your delivery method at checkout and we will notify you when your order is ready.