An Adoration of Beauty
Darius Bukhari, lecturer of Renaissance Art at The Courtauld Institute of Fine Art in London, is left with a mystery after the visit of Judith St John James, who brings him letters from long ago concerning the disappearance of a painting by famed Florentine artist Sandro Botticelli.
Back in the 15th century, Botticelli creates a wondrous new painting in his artist’s studio in Florence. The painting, the first copy of The Birth of Venus, is overpainted, stolen and vanishes.
In London of the mid-Victorian era, two young men – Dr Thomas Fielding, physician to the elite, and Viscount Dearly, famed poet and forebear of Judith – set out for Italy to follow in the footsteps of the Romantic poets. They end up in a dingy Roman junk shop where they make an extraordinary discovery.
Following their return to London, Tom Fielding, chased by a criminal gang, is forced to leave England immediately, taking the painting with him. He travels through Central Africa with Dr David Livingstone and then once more the painting disappears.
Finally, Darius and Judith embark on a journey through Africa attempting to discover the final resting place of the missing painting.