In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes:

[Reginald]: "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely."

Firstly, does this quote from Reginald imply that he is adverse to being painted by Sargent (John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925), and if so why?

Secondly, how would one reach heaven prematurely, or quicker, than someone painted by Sargent? Is Heaven, in this context, defined not as the christian afterlife but, as Lexico defines it, "a place, state, or experience of supreme bliss."?


I believe that this is exactly the artist he is referring to, and the meaning of the phrase is to essentially say that being painted by Sargent is something that should be done in one's lifetime, with the mention of going to heaven being used as an allusion to dying. So if you die before you get your portrait painted by Sargent, you died too early.

Imagine a similar phrase of "If you die before you go to Disney World, you died too early."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.