Urgent Museum Notice

Lords and Ladies

Close up of Lords and Ladies

A man, modeled after Philip IV of Spain, wears a black cape and gold garments and stands facing away from a bride atop a wedding cake.They are painted in a cartoonish style. Behind them, capitalized text reads, “for better for worse divorce is always stressful but.” A disembodied head peeks in profile on the lower right side.

Rose Wylie, Lords and Ladies, 2006; Oil on canvas, 84 x 136 in.; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Gift of UK Friends of NMWA in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the museum; © Rose Wylie and Union Gallery

Lords and Ladies
Rose Wylie

Rose Wylie paints bandy-bodied figures drawn from an array of sources, including old master and contemporary paintings, cartoons, Christmas cards, film stills, newspapers, or things she has seen around her neighborhood. Wylie removes figures from their original context and combines them with texts and other figures to develop allusive new scenes. She terms this associative process “personal-visual-diary-making.”

Typical of Wylie’s signature working method, Lords and Ladies was inspired by a story about finding emotional support during divorce that the artist read in London’s The Guardian newspaper. The painting features a bride standing on a wedding cake beside her groom, who is modeled after the portrait of Philip IV of Spain (1620) by Rodrigo de Villandrando in the Museo del Prado, Madrid.

In her studio in Kent, England, Wylie paints on large swathes of unstretched canvas placed on the floor, a process that enhances the gestural quality of her brushwork. She stresses the improvisational quality of her art by building up thick layers of paint, scratching out and repainting sections of compositions, and gluing on extra pieces of canvas as “corrections.”

With a visually compelling image as her primary goal, Wylie does not assign a fixed meaning to her works. The text captions in Lords and Ladies complement the witty appearance of the figures, but Wylie also values the patterns that lettering contributes to her compositions.

Artwork Details

  • Artist

    Rose Wylie
  • Title

    Lords and Ladies
  • Date

  • Medium

    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions

    84 x 136 in.
  • Donor Credit

    Gift of UK Friends of NMWA in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the museum
  • Photo Credit

    © Rose Wylie and Union Gallery
  • On Display