"I need hardly tell you that its subject was Leda and the Swan"

Tiziano Vecelli (1490-1576), usually known as Titian, was an Italian painter of the Venetian school.  He was interested in the use of striking colours, and his work influenced both future Italian painters and Western art.  The majority of his early work illustrated Biblical themes, although he also created portraits of important contemporary figures.  In his last years, from 1550, he worked chiefly for Philip II of Spain on a series of mythological paintings drawn mostly from the works of Ovid.  

Titian was one of numerous painters of a similar era to depict the story of Leda and the Swan, although versions by Tintoretto and Michelangelo are probably more famous.  It is not entirely clear from the text why Walser assumes that the version on display in Ma Nelson's smoking room is the Titian, since it portrays a much calmer and more equal relationship between the swan and the girl than that which Fevvers describes.  The Michelangelo (actually a copy of an original painting by the artist) fits more closely with her words.

Leda and the Swan 16th century
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumLeda and the Swan 16th century - Credit: Titian

Leda and the Swan (1530)
Public DomainLeda and the Swan (1530) - Credit: Michelangelo