About Eva Mudocci
She was born Evangeline Hope Muddock to a bohemian musical family in the village of Brixton, south of London, in 1872. By the time she was nine, she was performing in public as Miss Rose Lynton—the stage name by which she was known for the next decade.
In her early twenties, she moved with her family to the Continent, where in the first years of the 20th century she literally made a name for herself: the blossoming Miss Rose Lynton became the enigmatic Madame Eva Mudocci.
Performing on one of the world's great Stradivari violins, the 1703 Emiliani, Eva Mudocci established a reputation across Europe for elegant performances of works by J.S. Bach, Edvard Grieg, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Pablo de Sarasate, and others. No recordings of Mudocci's playing have surfaced, but you can hear one of her signature pieces, Bach's Chaconne, as recorded by Spanish virtuoso Eva León.
While studying in Berlin in 1898, Eva Mudocci met Bella Edwards, a gifted pianist and composer born to British parents living in Denmark. The two young women decided to share a studio, and when Mudocci completed her conservatory training in late 1900, they moved together to Paris. For the next half century, they lived and worked together.
The duo played chamber music that suited perfectly the refined tastes of the French audiences who applauded them in Parisian recital halls and salons. Over the next two decades, Mudocci and Edwards performed across Europe, making repeated trips to Scandinavia. They were so popular there that in time, they were known to their appreciative French, Danish and Norwegian following simply as "Eva and Bella."
Eva & Bella & Edvard
As Eva Mudocci and Bella Edwards were getting settled in Paris, Edvard Munch--the Norwegian artist best known for "The Scream"--was moving restlessly around northern Europe. He was painting, exhibiting, and connecting with dealers. His evening were spent drinking, avoiding enemies (real and imagined), and generally trying to find relief from an exhausting fixation on his ex-fiancée. Their traumatic breakup in the summer of 1902 had left him with considerable pain (a gunshot had blown off the tip of his finger) as well as legal woes.
Not long after the breakup, Munch received a letter from a Norwegian friend who was spending time in Paris. The friend told him about a beautiful, "unfortunate" violinist who was living in a relationship with a pianist named Bella. He was writing with a proposal and a request: would Edvard arrange to meet Eva, rescue her from Bella's clutches, and make her normal?
Within months of receiving this letter, Munch arranged to meet Eva and Bella in Paris. He and Eva were soon enmeshed in a relationship that was tumultuous and intense. Eva, Bella, and Edvard tried socializing as a threesome, spending evenings together in Left Bank cafés that were predictably fraught. Drained by the effort, and by his ex's presence in Paris, Munch left for Germany, but over the next several years he and Mudocci carried on an ardent correspondence and continued to meet from time to time.
Lady with a Brooch tells the rest of the story. In the process, the book solves several century-old mysteries.