The Garden of Edendepicts a young couple walking through Kensington Gardens by Lancaster Gate on a rainy day. It is a touching scene of two otherwise ordinary people made extraordinary by the love they bear each other. Their fixed gazes show the depth of their affection that converts, for them, the dreariness of the chilly city into paradise; a transformation underscored by the title’s biblical reference. The pair are rapt in their own little world, isolated from the bustling realm of the city cabs by the park railings, and from the natural world by the low-level boundary rail. This isolation highlights that their respite from busy urban life is man-made and fleeting. The grey and blue tones convey the atmosphere of a London in winter, with bare trees and cold light. This contrasts with the warm flesh tones of the woman's face, which stands out from the bleak background. The couple who modelled for the painting were engaged to each other at the time: Beatrice Langdon-Davies, Rivière’s sister-in-law, and her fiancé Percy Silley, an architect. The pair were closely chaperoned during the making of the work and were married not long after it was completed.


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