Come to Me, 2001-02Paula Rego

Come to Me, 2001-02

Lithograph in colours, on Somerset Velvet 
Signed, dated and numbered from the edition of 35
From Jane Eyre: The Guardians 
Printed by The Curwen Studio, Cambridge
Published by the artist and Marlborough Graphics, London
Image: 88.5 × 59 cm (34.8 × 23.2 in)
Sheet: 99.5 × 67 cm (39.2 × 26.4 in)

Paula Rego’s long fascination with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre culminated in a series of 25 lithographs published in 2003. In her highly dramatic visual responses to the text, Rego does not merely communicate the fictional fantasy worlds but interfuses them with social critique.

‘Come to Me’ is a wonderfully enigmatic portrait of Jane. Bertha Rochester has perished in the fire at the Hall. Mr Rochester is blind and he calls to Jane. [...] The sky is a crimson and yellow blaze as the house burns. Jane, her hands plucking at the fabric of her dress, is silhouetted against the white emptiness that leads on to the conflagration. Trying to make up her mind, whether or not to succour Rochester, she is clearly being torn apart by doubt, suspicion, even anguish at having to make the decision. Because Rego is, in her own way, just as strong a narrative artist as Brontë, this Jane knows even more than Brontë's Jane. She has more agonies and moral obliquities to filter through before she can, in freedom of spirit, go to Rochester.”

T. G. Rosenthal, Paula Rego:The Complete Graphic Work (London: Thames & Hudson, 2012)