Maggie O’Farrell, ‘The Marriage Portrait’ – Author Event: Book and Ticket


Saturday 3 September, 7.30pm. 

The Assembly Hall, Walthamstow Hall School, Sevenoaks, TN13 3UL

Ticket price includes a copy of The Marriage Portrait (RRP: £25) which will be published on 30 August.

Couples Book and Tickets are now sold out.

You do not need to bring ticket confirmation with you – we will be able to check your name at the door from your order. Books will be ready to collect on the night.

Because this book will be available to collect at the event, if you want to order any other books to be posted or collected from the bookshop, please do this as a separate transaction.

See Customer Service for terms and conditions.


We are so excited to have the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction winner, Maggie O’Farrell, joining us for an incredibly special event this September. Maggie will be discussing her new novel, ‘The Marriage Portrait’.

I thought I had made myself clear. I want something that conveys her majesty, her bloodline. Do you understand? She is no ordinary mortal. Treat her thus.’

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.

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