" portraits by Machard "
Jules Machard, Young Woman in Evening Dress
Jules-Louis Machard (1839-1900) was a French artist known for his portraiture and his allegorical paintings.
" my room in the Grand Hôtel de la Plage "
Grand Hôtel Cabourg
In Cabourg, Proust's model for Balbec, there is a Grand Hôtel Cabourg on the seafront. Proust stayed here in the summers of 1907 and 1914. It is the likely real-life equivalent of the Grand Hôtel de la Plage, and has acknowledged this by callings its restaurant Le Balbec. See also the bookmark to p. 155 "you're going to Balbec
" the illuminated fountains at the Exhibition "
The Paris Exhibition 1889
The 1889 Paris Exhibition, the Exposition Universalle, was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution. The exhibition included a series of illuminated fountains designed by G. Bechman. The event is now most famous for having erected the 'temporary' Eiffel Tower.
" those towns through which the train passed "
Again, Proust is bending reality to suit his needs. It would be an intrepid train that was able to take in all of these stops. He is signalling to the reader that this is a journey into the realm of the imagination, ending up in the fictional pleasure town of the narrator's dreams, Balbec.
" a dazzling golden background like those in Fra Angelico's pictures "
Fra Angelico's Madonna and the Saints
Guido di Pietro, known as Fra Angelico, (c. 1395-1455) was an Early Italian Renaissance painter of religious subjects. He is mentioned in Vasari's influential Lives of the Artists.
" after reading the Chartreuse "
La Chartreuse de Parme (The Charterhouse of Parma) is a 1839 novel by the French writer Marie-Henri Beyle, known as Stendhal (1783-1842). It tells the story of an Italian noble, Fabrice del Dongo, and, along with The Red and the Black, is considered Stendhal's best work.
" billowing over a Poussin landscape "
Poussin's Landscape with Calm
Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) was a French classical painter who influenced Cezanne, amongst others.