Maggie O’Farrell: The Marriage Portrait

We are delighted (quite an understatement) to be hosting a special event with the incomparable Maggie O’Farrell, to mark the launch of her highly anticipated new novel, The Marriage Portrait. This breath-taking new novel from the author of Hamnet – the Sunday Times No.1 bestseller for 2021 and winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 – is a dazzling evocation of the Italian Renaissance in all its beauty and brutality.

Tickets are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.


The Marriage Portrait:

‘Someone swore that, as a little girl, he once saw you touch a tiger. And that the tiger didn’t harm you, it let you stroke it. It was always said that you had charmed the beast.’

Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de’ Medici, is free to wander the palazzo at will, wondering at its treasures and observing its clandestine workings. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d’Este, heir to the Duke of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: Alfonso is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appears before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?

As Lucrezia sits in uncomfortable finery for the painting which is to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferrarese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, her future hangs entirely in the balance.

The Marriage Portrait is an unforgettable reimagining of the life of a young woman whose proximity to power places her in mortal danger.


Sep 23 2022


2:00 pm




All Saints Church
All Saints Church, Penarth


Griffin Books