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Picturing a World

Twelfth Night, or what you Will

I don’t much like 19th C caricatures, but I love the punch drinker’s salute to William Shakespeare’s bust here. As you probably know, the play Twelfth Night was written by Shakespeare in the winter of 1601–1602 (the first recorded performance was on Candlemas Night,  Read More 

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Thérèse Schwartze

Blog post tip: James Gurney’s recent blog post on the Dutch portraitist Thérèse Schwartze, which includes photographs of her at work on this portrait, alerted me to a woman painter who studied in Paris in 1879 with Carolus-Duran’s associate Jean-Jacques Henner. They just keep turning up!

For more of Schwartze’s work, including portraits of the Dutch royal family, click hereRead More 

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Path onward and over

I generally avoid posting photographs because of copyright issues, but Roger Kidd kindly includes the acknowledgment he requires for a Creative Commons reuse, and I do love this picture as an emblem for writing fiction, for facing an uncertain future in the new year, and for the power of nature. The tree is magnificent, and, look, that green, green path leads over an unseen canal. What could be more out there and yet more mysterious? Read More 

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Morisot Exhibition catalogue

My Christmas gift to myself this year was the exhibition catalogue for the show Berthe Morisot: Woman Impressionist, which is at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia until January 14, 2019. From there it will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art and on to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. If you can, go see it!  Read More 

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Edwardian Christmas morning

An Edwardian Christmas by John S. Goodall is a gentle treat, an indulgence in nostalgia that can surely be forgiven in unsettling times. I bought a used copy a few years ago and happily turn its wordless pages every December.

For this and other images from the book, click here.

And Merry Christmas! Read More 

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Christmas commerce and celebration

I was looking for a seasonal image and found this “Christmas gifts” issue of Vogue for 1918. A hundred years later, it reminds us of the joyous and tattered end of World War I. And it’s by an American woman artist! Helen Dryden. Born in Baltimore in 1882, she moved to New York in 1909 to sell artwork to magazines—just about the time that ANONYMITY’s Mattie would have known her. Perfect. Read More 

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Visit from Saint Nicholas

Website alert: The American Antiquarian Society has posted a digitized version of a recent donation—a copy of the first illustrated, book-length edition of Clement Moore’s poem, A Visit from Saint Nicholas, published in 1848. The interior of the house is depicted as furnished more sparely than we have grown accustomed to seeing it, and the Santa Claus clearly predates the Norman Rockwell—Coca-Cola version! I wonder whether looking at this version might prompt a 21st C writer to a new response to the old favorite? Read More 

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Views from above

Although I live in a country town where some friends and I will decorate the town library this week with greens cut from our own properties, there’s a part of me that still associates Christmas shopping with big cities: Atlanta, where I grew up; Boston; Paris, where I spent an enchanted holiday with an aunt and cousins. It’s the Paris connection that popped into my mind when I ran across Caillebotte’s Boulevard again today. Read More 

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17th Century watercolors

Blog tip: Although Erik Kwakkel's fascinating post on a 17th C artist’s manual on mixing watercolors is four years old, its link to a Colossal blog post with additional images is still live. The original manuscript is Aix-en-Provence, Bibliothèque municipale/Bibliothèque Méjanes, MS 1389 (1228) Read More 

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Murder, She Wrote

Blog tip: If you are thinking about writing a murder mystery set in medieval London, check out Cambridge University’s medieval murder map. It not only locates 142 fourteenth-century homicides but also supplies documentation for each and provides some useful short essays. Via The History BlogRead More 

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