By Dee Schaefer, Becketwood Member
In this piece written by Member Dee Schaefer, she imagines that she is the woman in the portrait hung in the main stairwell landing at Becketwood. Because this woman’s origins are unknown, she has been named Becky Wood.
For more than thirty years, I have been quietly observing you come and go on the Grand Staircase. Perhaps I have been silent too long. It now seems appropriate to tell you my story.
My presence is somewhat mysterious because I have forgotten who painted me. What I do know is that I was asked to pose for endless hours in my elegant gold and pink silks and satins. The bejeweled band on my head gave me a headache. Grazie a Dio, I could lean on an adjacent table or I would have collapsed.
It was comforting to me to have my beloved viol close at hand and a musical scroll at my fingertips. Both inspired me to hear music in my head for many hours as I sat very still.
As for the artist’s style, it suits me quite well. My elongated limbs, emotional expression, and shimmering colors suggest the sixteenth century in Italy. However, I may not be that old. Knowing how much young artists used to learn from copying others, this dark version may be inspired by a work in a gallery or private collection. That doesn’t bother me at all. All I know is that I am aging in place.
What bothers me is the name given to me by members, Becky Wood. It doesn’t suit me at all since I am from an aristocratic lineage. Had I been called Rebecca Maria de Boschi, my status may have been respected. At least you know from my portrait’s setting that I am from a privileged environment.
The artist may have seen me as the Muse of Music. Although I don’t remember discussing this possibility, such a role would have pleased me immensely. Men and women from my social class were expected to play musical instruments and even to compose.
Why the artist combined an exterior woodsy background with a sumptuous interior may have been a convention. Of course, I didn’t object. To me, it somehow suggests that nature inspires music. On my walks on garden paths and in the woods, I listened to the songs of birds and the sounds of the wind in the trees.
Melodies from musical events in the Wellington Room drift up the stairs. Know that I am never bored.
This is a good place for me to be.