The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell – Fringe by the Sea
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The Marriage Portrait – Maggie O’Farrell

Sunday 6th August, 2023
Lodge Stage, Lodge Grounds
10.45am – 11.45am


The breathtaking new novel from the author of Hamnet, the Sunday Times No.1 bestseller (2021) and winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020, The Marriage Portrait is a dazzling evocation of the Italian Renaissance in all its beauty and brutality. The Marriage Portrait is an unforgettable reimagining of the life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger.

‘I have always loved Robert Browning’s dramatic monologue, ‘My Last Duchess’ – in which a duke pulls back a curtain to reveal his wife’s portrait, while confidently relating how he murdered her – but it suddenly struck me one day that it might have been based on real events. Who was this duchess who paid a terrible price for displeasing her husband? It didn’t take me long to track down the image, attributed to Bronzino, of a young girl with a dark-eyed gaze and a slightly troubled expression. I knew the instant I saw her that I would write about her. Very little is known about the real Lucrezia – her life was brief and mostly undocumented. In writing THE MARRIAGE PORTRAIT, I hoped to tell her side of the story, to bring her out from behind Browning’s curtain and into the light.’

‘Maggie O’Farrell ‘O’Farrell is simply outstanding’ Guardian

‘Her writing is exquisite. Immersive and compelling’ Marian Keyes.