• Research

    The Cleveland Museum of Art: Weapons, Historical Selfies and Victorian Prudery

    2015_CMA_ElenaOver the Easter weekend, I visited the Cleveland Museum of Art with my youngest daughter and a dear high school friend. Although I grew up in Cleveland, I haven’t been to the museum in years, so it was fun to tour the galleries and have lunch at the Café. Their Tandoor Grill has nice curries, Naan bread and chutneys. Mmmm….

    Here are a few items of Regency interest.

    2015_CMA_Napoleon_GunThe first item is in the Armor Court, an impressive collection of armor and weapons. Most of the collection is earlier than our period of course, but this “double-barrelled flintlock sporting gun” was made in 1809 for Napoleon Bonaparte. It was made by Jean Le Page, member of a family firm who supplied firearms to the French nobility. The description says such “deluxe” weapons were often made for display and as gifts and in this case, Napoleon did give this gun to a Polish count. Read more about Napoleon’s gun and check out the Cleveland in HDR blog for a closeup that shows more detail of the gorgeous workmanship.

    I picked up postcards of the next two items. Although photography without flash was permitted, I didn’t want to risk the flash going off accidentally (I am clumsy) and often the pictures in the postcards are better anyway.

    2015_CMA_Hardy_SistersHere’s one of my favorite Regency portraits, what my daughter likes to call “historical selfies”. It’s a portrait of Charlotte and Sarah Carteret-Hardy, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1801. Sarah was married the same year, Charlotte a few years later. The contrasting personalities of the two remind me of my own daughters—one more dreamy and introspective, the other more lively and outgoing. And of course the clothes are lovely. Here’s the link for more information on the Hardy sisters portrait.

    And lastly, I was charmed by a series, “Apollo and the Muses” by the French painter Charles Meynier in 1800. They include Polyhymnia, Muse of Eloquence; Erato, Muse of Lyrical Poetry; Apollo, God of Light, Eloquence, Poetry and the Fine Arts with Urania, Muse of Astronomy; Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry; and Clio, Muse of History. The one I’m showing here is Erato.

    2015_CMA_EratoHere’s a fascinating article on the restoration process. Restoring the Erato painting was particularly challenging, since another artist had over-painted Cupid’s body with a “prudish white veil” an estimated 75 years after Meynier completed the painting. Those Victorians! Fortunately, it was possible to remove the veil and restore the painting to its original beauty.

    On the CMA website, you can also see the individual paintings in the Apollo and the Muses series.

    Have any of you visited the Cleveland Museum of Art? (I highly recommend it.) Do you enjoy stories of restored treasures?

    Elena
    www.elenagreene.com

  • Research

    Pretty Pictures

    How is everyone doing this week??  I am closing in on the February 15th deadline, slowly but (hopefully) surely, and looking at summer clothes on shopping websites as I fantasize about sundress and sandal weather coming back again.  (Surely it has to be somewhere in the not too distant future??).  I’ve also been following the fascinating news about the discovery and identification of Richard III’s skeleton under a Leicester carpark (that was once the Greyfriars church).  So amazing.

    And I finally got some of the professional photos from my Dec. 15th wedding!

    Wedding1MeWedding2MeWedding3MeWedding4Me

    It made me wonder what sort of historical wedding portraits I could find.  I discovered things like Arthur Davis’s Mr and Mrs Atherton, ca. 1743 (it was originally thought to have been painted for their wedding a decade earlier, but was then given the later date):

    Atherton

    There was Gainsborough’s portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews (and more importantly, their grand estate!):

    AndrewsPainting

    There was Reynolds’s depiction of the marriage of George III:

    GeorgeIIIWedding

    Queen Victoria’s wedding:

    VictoriaWedding

    Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Marriage:

    Arnolfini

    And the famous image of Anne of Cleves by Holbein that enticed Henry VIII into marrying her–until he met her in person, then he “liked her not!”  (I don’t know–I think she looks pretty enough):

    AnneofCleves

    And then there is this lady, Antoine Vestier’s Portrait of a Lady With a Book.  I imagine she is thinking about throwing that book at her husband if he says One More annoying thing…

    LadyPortrait

    What is your favorite wedding portrait????

  • Former Riskies,  Jane Austen

    The New Jane?

    Have you seen this?

    It’s believed to be a new portrait of Jane Austen. You can read all about it here. Interesting story though it doesn’t sound like it’s been fully authenticated.

    Two out of three experts believe it’s Jane! 

    Drawn about 1815.

    She’s slouching, but probably thinking really deep and wonderful thoughts.

    Which brings me to a request.

    What do you think Jane is thinking?

    Opine in the comments. I will send a random commenter a copy of Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades ‘N Horrible Blunders
    You may elect to receive paper or the Kindle version. The rules are below:

    The Rules

    Void where prohibited. Must be 18 or older to win. Winner chosen from among the commenters at random. Leave a comment by Midnight Pacific on Friday December 16. If the book is not available by the time the prize is awarded, Risky Carolyn will provide an Amazon card equal to the value of the paperback book. Go.

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