A Painted Devil

A Painted Devil

(1975) Penguin

‘Rachel Billington has a feeling for words, vivid and almost tactile.’ London Evening Standard

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The title A Painted Devil comes from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.:

The sleeping and the dead
Are but as pictures; ’tis the eye of childhood
That fears a painted devil.

The novel is set in Florence in winter and explores the complexities of creative egotism and its power first to enchant its victims and then to destroy them. The dominant character is Edward, a painter. He is bound to the other principle characters, a man and a woman, in a strange and destructive love affair. With the selfishness of a dedicated artist, he feeds upon the sufferings of others, unaware of the destruction and despair than crash around him.

When I finished writing this frightening novel, I was definitely ready to start on a new path. The result was A Woman’s Age, my saga spanning the twentieth century through the eyes of three generations of women.