What's a country squire only recently come to England, too! to do with the Fragonard? That is worth something. Well Copplestone, we'd better meet in the morning at Petherton's. You be there at ten o'clock, and I'll get Sir Cresswell Oliver to be there, too." Copplestone betook himself to his rooms in Jermyn Street; it seemed an age several ages since he had last seen the familiar things in them.
I'd gone home to my chambers, to rest a bit after our adventures at Bristol and Falmouth, so Swallow had to act on his own initiative. He set off for the Fragonard Club, and outside it met his man. This particular man had been keeping a watch for days on that tobacconist's shop in Wardour Street. That afternoon he suddenly saw the Squire leave it, by a side door.
Through the ministrations of a certain Drouais, Fragonard was commissioned to decorate a special pavilion outside the chateau proper, destined for the "collations du Roi." The subject chosen was the "Progres de l'Amour dans le Coeur des Jeunes Filles." Just where these panels are to-day no one seems to know, but sooner or later they will doubtless be discovered.
She had heard several artists mentioned as competent to execute a little matter of the sort, Fragonard fils, young Ducis, as well as a certain Prudhomme; but she would rather apply to the citoyen Évariste Gamelin. However, she made no definite proposal on this head and it was evident she had mentioned the commission merely by way of starting the conversation.
We never thought much of them, and they're in a dark place, labelled in the catalogue 'Artist unknown: School of Fragonard'; but he swore they were authentic Fragonards, and would have backed his opinion to the tune of fifteen thousand pounds for the trio, or six thousand for the one he liked best. Isn't it aggravating?
His own momentary mood was for Correggio and Fragonard, the laughter of the Music Lesson and the bold pagan joys of the Antiope; and then he had missed her from his side, and when he came to where she stood, forgetting him, forgetting everything, had seen the glare of that tragic sky in her face, her trembling lip, the tears on her lashes. That was Susy....
Riesener, Roentgen, Gouthiére, Fragonard and Boucher are some of the names that stand out most distinctly as authors of the beautiful decorations of the time. Marie Antoinette's boudoir at Fontainebleau is a perfect example of the style and many of the other rooms both there and at the Petit Trianon show its great beauty, gayety and dignity combined with its richness and magnificence.
Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard worked for tyrants and for slaves. Their works show no feeling for good style or purity of line, no love of nature or truth. Masks, dolls, fripperies, monkey-tricks, nothing else! Posterity will despise their frivolous productions.
Having done all this, and finding that he could be of no more service at Scarhaven, Swallow returned to town to see me and to consult. Now, of course, we were in a position by then to approach that Fragonard Club " "Ah!" exclaimed Copplestone. "Just so!" "The man, whoever he is, had been there an hour on the day Swallow and his man tracked him," continued Gilling.
'This one, I think, I replied, as I gazed at a charming fragile beauty in a big bonnet, beneath which shy eyes looked bewitchingly; 'surely she was a Frenchwoman and painted by Fragonard? 'Aha! cried he, 'you are a bold man, for there are tales told of her strange tales of feminine and deadly jealousy for all her soft demureness.