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Picturing a World

Venice

Originally, I meant for the Dolsons just to vanish. People do (or did before the internet) and Jeanette’s circle of friends in Paris must inevitably break apart. Novels, however, make demands their own. When I reread my almost completed manuscript, I realized it was unsatisfactory not to find out what happened to Robbie and Emily, yet their story had moved beyond Jeanette’s. Having Winkie visit them and report back let me semi-dramatize it. Several sources merged in my mind while I was imagining the episode:

• Whistler’s etchings, paintings, and circle of friends from the time that his London bankruptcy in May 1879 forced him to go where the living was cheaper. For the etchings, click here and here.

• Sargent’s luscious watercolors of the city and his connection to the Palazzo or Ca’ Barbaro.

• Henry James’s novel The Princess Casamassima.

• the tantalizing knowledge that Venetian palaces harbored hidden gardens, invisible from the canals.

For glimpses of the courtyard of the Ca’ Barbaro: click here. For more about the palace, click here.
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