Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself.
So, famously, does Mrs. Dalloway begin.
Although I’ve tried without success to read the physical version of Virginia Woolf’s story, I have listened to it, through the voice of the English actress Juliet Stevenson. (She’s done numerous classics and each one is a joy to listen to on a series of long walks; I download them to my phone from my local library.)
So this cover needed flowers and a dignified woman. The Cleveland Museum of Art came through. This painting is from 1882 and thus well precedes the 1925 novel and the subject is 26, well younger than Mrs. Dalloway. It is Madame Lerolle by the French artist Henri Fantin-Latour.
From the museum:
Fantin-Latour exhibited this portrait of Madeleine Lerolle, wife of fellow artist Henry Lerolle, at the Paris Salon of 1882. The Salon was the official, annual exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts, the national art academy of the French government. At the time of this portrait, Madeleine Lerolle was 26 years old. Albert Besnard portrayed her more formally in his painting Madeleine Lerolle and Her Daughter Yvonne, currently on display in the other Romanticism to Realism gallery.