Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting


By Hugh Brewster

If you have ever seen a print of this classic painting, you will remember it (see the book cover above). The lanterns seem to glow with a light all their own on, and the year and a half that John Singer Sargent put into trying to capture the warm colours of twilight were well-spent! Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose chronicles that year and a half through the eyes of a young girl who was really there, who posed for the great painter. The author, Hugh Brewster, gives a personal, true look at a historical figure, while weaving through it a little girl’s story of disappointment and jealousy which fade with time.

The book and pages themselves are attractive as the publishers did an excellent job, using many of Sargent’s own paintings throughout the story, as well as some old photographs of relevant times and places (without making the book look tedious or encyclopedia-ish).


Readers will definitely gain an appreciation for the massive amount of time and thought that goes into a great work of art, and perhaps be inspired to pick up a paintbrush themselves… The author, Brewster, is rightly praised for his “experience at bringing historical subjects to life for young readers,” and I am excited to look into his other books as recommended on the back cover. I wish all art appreciation books were so wonderful!

Non-fiction, Biography, History

Harcover, picture book, 42 pages

Ages: approximately 7 -12


Reviewer: Doreen


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