Anthony Powell

A Dance to the Music of Time

References to Art

It is often said that Anthony Powell's great sequence of twelve novels has a strong theme of visual art running through it. The list below is my attempt to itemise some of the references.

The page numbers relate to the publication of the twelve novels as four paperbacks entitled Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter

The title is a reference to the painting by Poussin with the same title.


A Question of Upbringing

p. 2 Poussin. A Dance to the Music of Time, 'Poussin's scene in which the Seasons, hand in hand and facing outward, tread in rhythm to the notes of the lyre that the winged and naked greybeard plays.'

p. 8 Stringham's graffito, sixteenth century portraits with men in ruffs, Stringham likened to Veronese's Alexander receiving the children of Darius after the Battle of Issus.

p. 9 Eighteenth century coloured prints of racehorses, Trimalchio and The Pharisee with blue chinned jockeys in the room at Eton of Stringham, Templar and Nicholas Jenkins, the narrator.

p. 55 Romney (possibly) portrait of female, malachite urn from Russia, Stringham again likened to Veronese's Alexander receiving the children of Darius after the Battle of Issus.

p. 73 Templers' house likened to painting by Claude Lorraine, The Queen of Sheba, St. Ursula, or The Enchanted Castle.

p. 76 Isbister, R.A., oil painting of Templer's father

p. 158 graffito of Widmerpool

p. 190 ‘What very Monet weather it has been' spoken by Members, after leaving Sillery's rooms in an unnamed Oxford College .

p. 191 The Pharisee's Rider a picture hanging in Stingham's room in his Oxford College, brought with him from Eton. No artist given.

p. 215 Ivory elephants on mantel shelf in Stringham's rooms at Oxford.

A Buyer's Market, p. 235

p. 235 Mr. Deacons' painting in sale in Euston Road, 'dusty but not displeasing'.

p. 236 Mr. Deacon, four canvases, 'Pre-Raphaelite in spirit', influence of Burne-Jones, Alma-Tadema, Watts, 'decided weakness of drawing'.

p. 237 Mr. Deacon painting, upside down in saleroom, 'forest of inverted legs', 'flesh tints'

p. 238 Mr. Deacon 'Oil sketch of Antinous', 'charcoal studies of Spartan youth at exercise', disapproval of 'official art', bitternes at Royal Academy. Dislike of Impressionists and Post-impressionists.

p. 239 Mr. Deacon dislike of Cubism and Surrealists. Liked Puvis de Chavannes and Simeon Solomon. Refusal to decorate interior of fish restaurant in Brighton, collection of silhouettes.

p. 240 to 243, Mr. Deacon

p. 243 Mr. Deacon 'pictures recalled something given away with a Christmas number', Mr. Deacon met in Louvre

p. 244 and 245 Mr. Deacon in front of Perugino's St. Sebastian.

p. 246 Mr. Deacon 'More than one (Perugino) labelled Raphael.' sketching in cafes.

p. 247 Mr. Deacon 'like an artist of Whistler's time.'

p. 248 - 249, Edgar Bosworth Deacon, Boyhood of Cyrus, oil painting. Hanging in Walpole-Wilsons' house, Eaton Square.

p. 251 Achilles statue, Hyde Park, Albert Memorial

p. 252 Albert Memorial Arts and Sciences in high relief, 'Manufactures', Asia, elephant, Bedouin.

p. 253 Mr. Deacon in the Louvre.

p. 254 E. Bosworth Deacon, Boyhood of Cyrus, oil painting, previously owned by Lord Aberavon.

p. 262 Lavery, portrait of Lady Walpole-Wilson

p. 263 Edgar Bosworth Deacon, Boyhood of Cyrus.

p.264 Painting of Boyhood of Widmerpool, fantasy of Nicholas

p. 270 Colours of sofa cushions, peacock-green shot silk, like Mr. Deacon's colours

p. 273 - 275 Haig statue

p. 275 Haig statue, Mestrovic

p. 280 Mestrovic, Botticelli

p. 287 Edgar Bosworth Deacon, Boyhood of Cyrus

p. 292 Van Dyck, Prince Rupert conversing with a herald

p. 301 Murillo's school, Peasant boys playing with a calf

p. 316 Quadriga's horses on triumphal arch

p. 318 Mr. Deacon, Louvre, Peruginos

p. 319 Edgar Bosworth Deacon, Boyhood of Cyrus.

p. 320 Widmerpool, Mrs. Walpole-Wilson, Haig statue

p. 321 Mr. Deacon, Barnby, Isbister, R.A. Portrait of Cardinal Whelan, Wife of Solicitor-General

p. 321 - 329 Mr. Deacon

p. 324 Isbister, Haig statue

p. 370 Unsatisfying picture executed in the manner of Derain

p. 372 Modern dress version of Adam and Eve leaving the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Nicholas's fancy.

p. 387 Clusters of tumble-down dwellings depicted by Canaletto or Piranesi

p. 388 Pictures by Hubert Robert or Panini

p. 395 Barnby and Mr. Deacon

p. 397 Scrap screen, Bubbles and For He Had Spoken Lightly of a Woman's Name.

p. 398 - xxx Barnby and Mr. Deacon

p. 407 Barnby sold picture to Sir Marcus Donners, mural on Donners-Brebner building mentioned.

p. 411 lacquer cabinet, South American Indian carvings, portraits of Wilson forbears: painting of an admiral attributed to Zoffany, Lord Aberavon painted by Isbister.

p. 417 Holbein at Stourwater, Donners's castle

p. 420 Holbein, portrait of Erasmus in Long Gallery, Stourwater.

p. 423 Gobelin tapestres, Stourwater, Seven Deadly Sins, Luxuria.

p. 426 - 427 Isbister, Mr. Deacon

p. 430 Possible exhibition of pictures 'history of diplomatic relations between England and the rest of the world'.

p. 433 Gainsborough, Mrs. Siddons.

p. 434 Barnby

p. 435 'Masaccio to Matisse'

p. 449 Barnby

p. 450 Rubens, Le Chapeau de Paille

p. 457 Photograph of Prince Theodoric

p. 458 Albert Memorial, death of Mr. Deacon

p. 460 - 461 Mr. Deacon's death, Barnby

p. 462 typo? ' on upon ' para 2, line 6.

p. 476 Members 'like that picture in the Tate of the Sea giving up the Dead that were in it'. (Actually Frederick, Lord Leighton, 1830 - 1896, And the Sea gave up the Dead that were in it, Tate Collection.)

p. 492. Goya Maja nude, Manet, Olympia.

p. 496 'A picture called The Omnipresent'. Widmerpool's mother's flat.

The Acceptance World, p. 513.

p. 515 Temple of Janus

p. 516 Landseer, Bolton Abbey in the Olden Time, an engraving

p. 530 St. John Clarke's introduction to The Art of Horace Isbister, to be published by Nicholas's publishing house

p. 531 St. John Clarke supporting the erection of the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens

p. 532 St. John Clarke intervention in Haig Memorial, opposition to Post-Impressionists

p. 534 St. John Clarke and Isbister

p. 535 Barnby

p. 536 Barnby and his murals for the Donners-Brebner building

p. 537 Isbister, Barnby, 'St. John Clarke does not know a Van Dyck from a Van Dongen', Modernism, 'this side Surrealism'.

p. 538 Isbister 'portraits of politicians, business men and ecclesiastics'

p. 539 Bonnard, Bouguereau

p. 542 Isbister, 'The British Franz Hals', 'Van Dyck beard', The Art of Horace Isbister, book, published by Nicholas's company.

p. 543 Bronze nymph in the Ritz

p. 551 Isbister, painting of Templer's father

p. 565 St. John Clarke's Introduction to book on Isbister's paintings

p. 566 Mr. Deacon's flat, off Charlotte Street

p. 570 Appearance of Jean reminds Nicholas of Ruben's Chapeau de Paille and Delacroix's Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement.

p. 578 'ran across Sisley landscape', Isbister's huge portrait of Mr. Templer

p. 581 Reynolds, Boucher, Renoir, Barnby

p. 582 Barnby, painting girl met on train, Lady Anne Stepney, Mr. Deacon

p. 586 Augustus John, Epstein, Barnby, Isbister

p. 592, Isbister, indifferent nineteenth century seascapes in the Templers' house.

p. 597 Mr. Deacon, remarks on caprice quoted

p. 600 Quiggin examining pictures in the Templers' house

p. 618 Isbister Memorial Exhibition, graffito of Widmerpool at La Grenadiere.

p. 619 The book The Art of Horace Isbister, non appearance at exhibition. Isbister evolving satirical comments on his sitters.

p. 620 onwards mention of various Isbister paintings:

p. 620 'Saltonstall who always posed as a Man of Taste. Isbister has made him look more like a Christmas Tree of Taste.'

p. 620 Isbister painting of Sir Gavin's father-in-law, Lord Aberavon

p. 621 Fujita

p. 621 Isbister paintings of Sir Horrocks Rusby, Cardinal Whelan, Clergyman eating an apple, The Old Humorists.

p. 621 Mr. Deacons' Boyhood of Cyrus.

p. 624 Sillery, too late to be painted for his college, by Isbister. Isbister compared to Antonio Moro by the Warden. Possibility of Barnby for Sillery portrait.

p. 625 Isbister, The Countess of Ardglass with Faithful Girl.

p. 635 Matisse

p. 638 Cezanne

p. 640 Mr. Deacon

p. 648 Barnby 'Women can be immensely obtuse about all kinds of things, but where the emotions are concerned their opinions are always worth consideration.'

p. 656 Barnby

p. 657 Bakst 'suggested a Bakst design for one of the early Russian ballets'

p. 658 Degas, Guys, picture of Victor Emmanuel

p. 659 Jordaens

p. 660 Barnby

p. 662 Chardin

p. 666 Picture of Victor Emmanuel

p. 675 Barnby

p. 677 Mr. Deacon

p. 681, 684, 688 Barnby

p. 711 Braque, Dufy

p. 717 Eighteenth century coloured prints of racehorses, Trimalchio and The Pharisee, see p. 9.

p. 718 Modigliani drawing

p. 718 Wencelas Hollar, in style of, '... engraving of a seventeenth-century mansion, done in the style of Wencelas Hollar. This was Glimber ...'

p. 718 '... set of coloured prints illustrating a steeplechase ridden by monkeys mounted on dogs.'

p. 722 Isbister exhibition

p. 723 Isbister

p. 724 - 726 Erotic postcard from Jean

p. 725 Rodin Le Baiser


At Lady Molly's

p. 4 Spy's caricature in the Vanity Fair series of Mrs. Conyer's father, Lord Vowchurch

p. 10 Constable, in National Gallery, of Dogdene (imaginary stately home).

p. 11 Pastiche of Pepys, describing Dogdene, includes reference to Paul Veronese.

p. 11 and 12. Lovell and 'His insipid Barbizonish landscapes, ... '

p. 17 Isbister portrait of Lovell's 'first Sleaford uncle'.

p. 21 Oriental bowls and jars

p. 21 Richard Wilson

p. 21 Greuze

p. 21 pastels of Moroccan native type

p. 22 ' like the stone locks of a sculpted head of Caracalla'

p. 128 'the walls covered with large oil paintings of schools long fallen out of fashion' (Thrubworth House)

p. 149 full length portrait by Lawrence of an officer wearing the slung jacket of a hussar. It is 'The 4th. Lord Erridge and 1st. Earl of Warminster'

p. 151 long room hung with portraits 'The pictures too, apart from the Lawrence - the bravura of which gave it some charm - were wholly lacking in distinction.'

p. 151 Pitt's hat in glass case

p. 151 memorial window

p. 158 painters of the Paris School

p. 169 "marbled wall decorations recalled Mr. Deacon's name ... ", Pupils of Socrates or By the Will of Diocletian.

p. 169 "some boyhood memory of Quo Vadis or The Last Days of Pompeii.

Domine, quo vadis? is a painting by the Italian Baroque painter Annibale Carracci . Dating from c. 1602, it is housed in the National Gallery, London . (Powell does not name a painter.) The Last Days of Pompeii does not appear to be from a well-known artist.

p. 181 Lady Anne Stepney - Living in Paris, doing some painting, but "Cannot tell a Sargent from a 'Snaffles'", according to Dicky Umfraville.

p. 214 Dogdene Chippendale commodes

p. 227 Dogdene Veronese

p. 227 Van Troost belonging to General Conyers

p. 258 Moreland's face not looking like Bronzino's Folly.

p. 268 Ralph Barnby comment on his painting by Moreland 'why use combinations of colour that make you think that he is a Frenchman or a Catalan?'

p. 269 London Group (The London Group is an art society based in London, England founded in 1915 when the Vorticists came together to encourage and support young avant-garde artists to exhibit their work. Members of the group have included: Walter Sickert , William Roberts , Percy Wyndham Lewis , Robert Bevan , Stanislawa de Karlowska , Henry Moore , Vanessa Bell , Paula Rego and Paul Nash . As of 2006 it still existed.)

p. 269 conversation on painting in Paris

p. 270 The decor of Casanova's Chinese Restaurant ' .... bamboo shoots fried with pork ribbons, under panels depicting scenes from the career of the Great Lover.'

p. 271 Watteau???????

p. 278 Edgar Deacon, Lhote, Gleizes

p. 279 Ralph Barnby persuading a waitress to model for him

p. 280 Barnby subsequently sold picture to Sir Magnus Donners

p. 286 Edgar Deacon

p. 288 Rembrandt, Cezanne, Barnby

p. 291 French 18th Century engravings

p. 294 Picasso Blue Period


p. 305 Goya Winter, cubism


Anthony Powell




Books do furnish a room

p. 1 Trajan's column

p. 2 front page of Burton 's Anatomy of Melancholy

pictures of jaunty young men in Sillery's room

p. 7 Breughel's Antwerp Apes

p. 7 Douanier's tropical denizens

p. 30 Anti-French stickers in Cologne - 'Books-do-furnish-a-room' Bagshaw

p. 42 Portrait medallion in church at Thrubworth, lilac grey marble against an alabaster background of the so-called 'Chemist-Earl',
depicted in bas-relief with side whiskers and a high collar.

p.43 Two or three escutcheons in the chancel (of Thrubworth church), displayed the Tolland gold bezants - 'talents' in the punning connotation of the arms.

p. 45 'calling to mind old fashioned posters celebrating the Five Year Plan' (Gypsy Jones her head tied up in a red handkerchief.)

p. 54 Thrubworth churchyard crosses 'two unaccountably Celtic in design', an obelisk.



p. 101 Toulouse-Lautrec


p. 171 Roosevelt statue

p. 176 Modigliani drawing

p. 180 Modigliani drawing


p. 192 King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid


p. 267 Veronese at Dogdene


Fictional artistic characters

Ralph Barnby possibly modelled on real artist Adrian Daintrey

Mr. Edgar Bosworth Deacon, not very successful painter.

Hugh Moreland Composer

Real artists mentioned

Alma-Tadema, (Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema [Dutch-born English Classicist Painter, 1836-1912]) Spring p. 236.

Bakst, (Léon Nikolayevich Bakst [Russian born painter, 1866 - 1924]) Spring, p. 657.

Barbizon school (circa 1830 - 1870) of painters is named after the village of Barbizon near Fontainebleau Forest , Summer, p. 11 and 12.

Bonnard, Spring, p. 539

Botticelli, p. 280

Bouguereau, Spring, p. 539

Braque, Spring, p. 711

Bronzino, Summer, p. 258

Burne-Jones, Spring p. 236.

Cezanne, Spring, p. 638

Chardin, Spring, p. 662

Degas, Spring, p. 658

Delacroix's Femmes d'Alger dans leur appartement. Spring, p. 570

Derain, Spring, p. 370

Dufy, Spring, p. 711

Fujita, Spring, p 621

Gainsborough, p. 433

Goya, p. 305

Greuze, Jean-Baptiste, French Rococo Era Painter, 1725-1805, Summer, p. 21

Hollar, Wencelas, Spring, p. 718.

Jordaens, Spring, p. 659

Landseer, Spring, p. 516

Lawrence, Summer, p. 149

Matisse, Spring, p. 635

Mestrovic (sculptor), Spring, p. 275, 280.

Modigliani, Spring, p. 780

Monet, Spring, p. 190

Perugino, Spring p. 246.

Picasso, Summer p. 294 Blue Period

Pruna, Spring, p. 621.

Rodin, Spring, p. 725.

Rembrandt, Summer, p. 288

Rubens, Spring, p. 450, p. 570

Sargent, Summer, p.181

Van Dongen, Spring, p. 537

Van Dyck, Spring, p. 537

Van Troost, Summer, p. 227

Veronese, Summer, p. 227

Watteau, Summer, p. 271

Watts Spring p. 236.

Whistler, Spring, p. 247.

Wilson, Richard, Welsh Romantic Painter, ca 1713 - 1782. Summer, p. 21.

Zoffany, Spring, p. 411