Emanuel Phillips Fox

A love story

  • Artist
    Emanuel Phillips Fox
  • Born
  • Died
  • Title
    A love story
  • Date of Production
  • Medium
    oil on canvas
  • Dimensions
    101.8 x 152.7 cm
  • Credit Details
    Martha K. Pinkerton Bequest, 1944

Fox, who spent much of his working life in England and France, developed a style that epitomises the gilded era marked by the reign of King Edward VII.  A student of the National Gallery School, Melbourne (1878-1886), Fox went to France in 1887 where he studied at École des Beaux Arts and spent some time with plein air artists in France and England before returning to establish an art school in Melbourne with Tudor St George in 1893.

One of three paintings exhibited by Fox when he made his debut at the Royal Academy, A love story was considered to be one of the most truthful representations of atmosphere and light in the exhibition.  Based on an earlier version painted in 1901 for which one of his students Ursula Foster was the model, the painting shows an elegantly dressed young lady reading a novel while lying in a hammock in the shade of a tree on a summer's day.  With its restricted palette and liberal use of white and broken brushwork, Phillips Fox has created an image of carefree relaxation which is bathed with colour and light.