As James Bond enters the club Blades for his dinner with M and showdown at the bridge table with Sir Hugo Drax in Moonraker,  Ian Fleming, in sweeping through his descriptions of the interior of the club, makes mention of three paintings found therein. The first is this.:

M., with Bond beside him, wandered casually from table to table, exchanging greetings with the players until they reached the last table beneath the fine Lawrence of Beau Brummel over the wide Adam fireplace.

A little later we get this second note of portraits within the club.

At the far end, above the cold table, laden with lobsters, pies, joints and delicacies in aspic, Romney’s unfinished full-length portrait of Mrs Fitzherbert gazed provocatively across at Fragonard’s Jeu de Cartes, the broad conversation-piece which half-filled the opposite wall above the Adam fireplace.

I’m making the following assumptions about the artists – Lawrence is Thomas Lawrence, Romney is George Romney and Fragonard is  Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Seems safe.

George Bryan “Beau” Brummel and Mrs (Maria) Fitzherbert were both real people. They knew each other, through the future George IV.

The paintings however, as far as I can tell, do not appear to be real. I’ve found no Beau Brummel paintings by Lawrence and no “Jeu de cartes” (game of cards) from Fragonard.

George Romney was thought to have painted Mrs Fitzherbert, but it is not full-length and there is also considerable doubt that it is actually his work. Look at this page from The Metropolitan Museum of Art on that topic.

It’s possible Fleming was referring to that portrait mentioned in the link above (and shown below), but as the portrait is not full-length (but it is unfinished), I’ll have to say he wasn’t.

In looking over this topic, it is interesting (to perhaps only me) that Fleming referenced real artists but fictitious works by those artists when describing the interior of Blades, which was a fictional club, but very much based on a real one (Boodles).

Portrait once thought to be Mrs Fitzherbet by Romney.
Portrait once thought to be Mrs Fitzherbet by Romney.


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