John Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight

Known for his city night-scenes and landscapes, John Atkinson Grimshaw was a Victorian artist described by British art historian Christopher Wood as a “remarkable and imaginative painter”.

Hailing from Leeds in England, Grimshaw’s first job was as a clerk for Great Northern Railway.

Much to the dismay of his parents, he left the job at age 24 to pursue a career as a painter.

John Atkinson Grimshaw and the Great Northern Railway
John Atkinson Grimshaw and the Great Northern Railway

Leaving a steady job with a growing industry must have seemed foolhardy, but Grimshaw’s passion and talent for art were all he needed to make a success of his life.

Exhibiting for the first time just a year later under the patronage of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, he showed paintings of birds, fruit, and blossom.

It wasn’t until the 1870s that his career really took off.

Influenced primarily by the Pre-Raphaelites, he painted landscapes with precise use of colour and lighting, often focusing on the changing seasons or the weather to bring vivid detail and realism to his work.

But it is the moonlit views of cities and suburban streets, of Docklands in London, Hull, Liverpool, and Glasgow that he is best remembered for.

paintings of dampened gas-lit streets and misty waterfronts conveyed an eerie warmth as well as alienation in the urban scenePhilip J. Waller.

Sharply focused, almost photographic, Grimshaw poetically applied the tradition of rural moonlit scenes to the city, with its rain puddles, mists, and the smoky fog of late Victorian industrial England.

Grimshaw evokes the very feeling of chill in the night air or the damp of mists at dawn’s early light.

John Atkinson Grimshaw was the Painter of Moonlight.

London Bridge - Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
London Bridge – Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
Park Row, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Park Row, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Westminster Bridge by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Westminster Bridge by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Liverpool Quay by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
Liverpool Quay by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
The Gossips, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
The Gossips, Bonchurch, Isle of Wight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Hull Docks at Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Hull Docks at Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Evening Scene by the Docks, Hull by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Evening Scene by the Docks, Hull by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Burning Off, a Fishing Boat at Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
Burning Off, a Fishing Boat at Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
On the Clyde, Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
On the Clyde, Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
Lights in the Harbour, Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
Lights in the Harbour, Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
Moonlight on Lake by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Moonlight on Lake by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Liverpool Docks attributed to John Atkinson Grimshaw
Liverpool Docks attributed to John Atkinson Grimshaw
Bonchurch, the Isle of Wight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Bonchurch, the Isle of Wight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Night Vigil by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Night Vigil by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Liverpool from Wapping by John A Grimshaw, 1875
Liverpool from Wapping by John A Grimshaw, 1875
A moonlit street after rain by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
A moonlit street after rain by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Blackman Street, Borough, London by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1885
Blackman Street, Borough, London by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1885
Hampstead by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Hampstead by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Glasgow, Saturday Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Glasgow, Saturday Night by John Atkinson Grimshaw
A Moonlit Landscape by John Atkinson Grimshaw
A Moonlit Landscape by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Humber Docks Hull, John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
Humber Docks Hull, John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
A Yorkshire Home by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
A Yorkshire Home by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Nightfall down the Thames by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Nightfall down the Thames by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Street after the Rain in the Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Street after the Rain in the Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Glasgow Docks by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Glasgow Docks by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
The Thames by Moonlight with Southwark Bridge, London by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
The Thames by Moonlight with Southwark Bridge, London by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
The Old Hall Under Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw
The Old Hall Under Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Figure Overlooking Waterloo Lake, Rounday Park, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1872
Figure Overlooking Waterloo Lake, Rounday Park, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1872
Old Chelsea by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Old Chelsea by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Near Hackness, a moonlit scene with pine trees by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875
Near Hackness, a moonlit scene with pine trees by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875
Canny Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
Canny Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
Heath Street, Hampstead by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Heath Street, Hampstead by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Street after the Rain in the Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Street after the Rain in the Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Whitby by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Whitby by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Under the Moonbeams by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
Under the Moonbeams by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1887
The Broomielaw Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1889
The Broomielaw Glasgow by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1889
Forge Valley, near Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875
Forge Valley, near Scarborough by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875
Whitby, from the East Side by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
Whitby, from the East Side by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
Heaven's Lamp by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1886
Heaven’s Lamp by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1886
Lovers in a Wood by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1873
Lovers in a Wood by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1873
The Lovers by John Atkinson Grimshaw
The Lovers by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Briggate, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Briggate, Leeds by John Atkinson Grimshaw
A moonlit country road by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
A moonlit country road by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
Reflections on the Thames, Westminster by Grimshaw, John Atkinson, 1879
Reflections on the Thames, Westminster by Grimshaw, John Atkinson, 1879
The Tryst by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1886
The Tryst by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1886
At the Park Gate by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
At the Park Gate by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Full Moon behind Cirrus Cloud from the Rounday Park Castle Battlements by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1872
Full Moon behind Cirrus Cloud from the Rounday Park Castle Battlements by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1872
Home Again by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
Home Again by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1877
November by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
November by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1879
Scarborough by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1876
Scarborough by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1876
Boar Lane, Leeds by Lamplight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Boar Lane, Leeds by Lamplight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1881
Whitby Harbor by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1862
Whitby Harbor by Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1862
Moonlight, Wharfedale by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Moonlight, Wharfedale by John Atkinson Grimshaw
Silver Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Silver Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
London Bridge - Half Tide by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
London Bridge – Half Tide by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
A Moonlit Evening by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
A Moonlit Evening by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Harbor Scene by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Harbor Scene by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1878
Greenwich, Half Tide by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
Greenwich, Half Tide by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1884
The Custom House, Liverpool, Looking South by John Atkinson Grimshaw , 1890
The Custom House, Liverpool, Looking South by John Atkinson Grimshaw , 1890
Gloucester Docks by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1890
Gloucester Docks by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1890
Thames Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Thames Moonlight by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Nightfall down the Thames by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Nightfall down the Thames by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Southwark Bridge and St. Paul's by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1883
Southwark Bridge and St. Paul’s by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1883
A Moonlit Lane by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1874
A Moonlit Lane by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1874

The Art of Autumn

Autumn is a time of contemplation.

A time to reflect on the changing of the seasons from growth to decay.

Each year is a cycle of life that repeats.

Mother Nature bears the fruits of her labor, celebrating life in a festival of colour before the long winter months set in.

It’s as if nature is reminding us that life is to be enjoyed, that there is so much to be grateful for, and that we can look forward to renewal again in the spring.

Artists through the centuries have been inspired by the beauty and melancholy of autumn.

Here are 40 beautiful paintings of the season of red and gold along with quotes from poets and writers.

Autumn Regrets by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Autumn Regrets by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1882
Autumn in Cornwall by Walter Elmer Schofield (1869 - 1944)
Autumn in Cornwall by Walter Elmer Schofield (1869 – 1944)
And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question ‘Whither?’
Robert Frost, The Poetry of Robert Frost
Setting Sun, Autumn in Eragny by Camille Pissarro, 1900
Setting Sun, Autumn in Eragny by Camille Pissarro, 1900
Autumn Festival by Willard Leroy Metcalf, 1915
Autumn Festival by Willard Leroy Metcalf, 1915
Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.George Eliot
Autumnal Forest with Houses by Walter Moras (1856 - 1925)
Autumnal Forest with Houses by Walter Moras (1856 – 1925)
The Sussex lanes were very lovely in the autumn . . . spendthrift gold and glory of the year-end . . . earth scents and the sky winds and all the magic of the countryside which is ordained for the healing of the soul.Monica Baldwin
A Country Road in Autumn by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1918
A Country Road in Autumn by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1918
There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!Percy Bysshe Shelley
Autumn Sunlight by John F. Carlson (1875 - 1945)
Autumn Sunlight by John F. Carlson (1875 – 1945)
Autumn by Stanislav Zhukovsky (1873 - 1944)
Autumn by Stanislav Zhukovsky (1873 – 1944)
Autumn Days
Yellow, mellow, ripened days,
Sheltered in a golden coating;
O’er the dreamy, listless haze,
White and dainty cloudlets floating;
Winking at the blushing trees,
And the sombre, furrowed fallow;
Smiling at the airy ease,
Of the southward flying swallow.
Sweet and smiling are thy ways,
Beauteous, golden Autumn days.
Will Carleton
Autumn in Gloucestershire by Alfred East (1844 - 1913)
Autumn in Gloucestershire by Alfred East (1844 – 1913)
Autumn Gold by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Autumn Gold by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1880
Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.Robert Browning
A Woodland Path in Autumn by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1918
A Woodland Path in Autumn by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1918
Autumn Colouring by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1894
Autumn Colouring by Edward Wilkins Waite, 1894
You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen.Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast
Autumn Alley by Johan Krouthén, 1917
Autumn Alley by Johan Krouthén, 1917
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks
Autumn in Pavlovsk by Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin, 1888
Autumn in Pavlovsk by Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin, 1888
Late Autumn by Robert Vonnoh (1858 - 1933)
Late Autumn by Robert Vonnoh (1858 – 1933)
Autumn Day, Sokolniki by Isaak Levitan, 1879
Autumn Day, Sokolniki by Isaak Levitan, 1879
Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.Jane Austen, Persuasion
Autumn on the River by Julian Alden Weir, 1906
Autumn on the River by Julian Alden Weir, 1906
The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.John Greenleaf Whittier
Autumn on the River by Jasper Francis Cropsey, 1877
Autumn on the River by Jasper Francis Cropsey, 1877
Autumn Poplars by Camille Pissarro, 1893
Autumn Poplars by Camille Pissarro, 1893
It was one of those days you sometimes get latish in the autumn when the sun beams, the birds toot, and there is a bracing tang in the air that sends the blood beetling briskly through the veins.P.G. Wodehouse
Cresheim Glen, Wissahickon, Autumn by Thomas Moran, 1864
Cresheim Glen, Wissahickon, Autumn by Thomas Moran, 1864
Along the woods in Autumn by Alfred Sisley, 1885
Along the woods in Autumn by Alfred Sisley, 1885
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run
John Keats, Complete Poems and Selected Letters
Autumn Effect at Argenteuil by Claude Monet, 1873
Autumn Effect at Argenteuil by Claude Monet, 1873
Autumn Leaves by William McTaggart (1835 - 1910)
Autumn Leaves by William McTaggart (1835 – 1910)
Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.Leo Tolstoy
Alley in Autumn by Walter Moras (1856 - 1925)
Alley in Autumn by Walter Moras (1856 – 1925)
The Water's Edge by William M. Hart, 1881
The Water’s Edge by William M. Hart, 1881
Give me juicy autumnal fruit ripe and red from the orchard,Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems
Autumn in Eragny by Camille Pissarro, 1900
Autumn in Eragny by Camille Pissarro, 1900
All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath’d with nodding corn.Robert Burns, Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns
Autumn on the Farm by Charles Harold Davis (1856 - 1933)
Autumn on the Farm by Charles Harold Davis (1856 – 1933)
Such days of autumnal decline hold a strange mystery which adds to the gravity of all our moods.Charles Nodier, Smarra & Trilby
Edge of a Forest in Autumn by Alfred Sisley, 1883
Edge of a Forest in Autumn by Alfred Sisley, 1883
New England Autumn Landscape by John Joseph Enneking, 1894
New England Autumn Landscape by John Joseph Enneking, 1894
The goldenrod is yellow,
The corn is turning brown…
The trees in apple orchards
With fruit are bending down.
Helen Hunt Jackson
Autumn Evening by Ferdinand Hodler, 1893
Autumn Evening by Ferdinand Hodler, 1893
The gold and scarlet leaves that littered the countryside in great drifts whispered and chuckled among themselves, or took experimental runs from place to place, rolling like coloured hoops among the trees.Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals
Burnham Beeches by Myles Birket Foster (1825 - 1899)
Burnham Beeches by Myles Birket Foster (1825 – 1899)
The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances as often as dance it can,
Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Christabel
Autumn Roadside, Kentucky by William Forsyth, 1903
Autumn Roadside, Kentucky by William Forsyth, 1903
the fallen leaves in the forest seemed to make even the ground glow and burn with lightMalcolm Lowry, October Ferry To Gabriola
Autumn Leaves by John Singer Sargent, 1913
Autumn Leaves by John Singer Sargent, 1913
Every season hath its pleasures;
Spring may boast her flowery prime,
Yet the vineyard’s ruby treasures
Brighten Autumn’s sob’rer time.
Thomas Moore
Autumn Landscape by Charles Courtney Curran, 1928
Autumn Landscape by Charles Courtney Curran, 1928
Autumn Tints by Maurice Braun (1877 - 1941)
Autumn Tints by Maurice Braun (1877 – 1941)
In Heaven, it is always AutumnJohn Donne
The Arc de Triomphe, Autumn Effect by Jean-François Raffaëlli, 1907
The Arc de Triomphe, Autumn Effect by Jean-François Raffaëlli, 1907
Autumn Landscape by Paul Madeline, 1905
Autumn Landscape by Paul Madeline, 1905
Methinks I see the sunset light flooding the river valley, the western hills stretching to the horizon, overhung with trees gorgeous and glowing with the tints of autumn — a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.John Greenleaf Whittier, Tales and Sketches
A Late Autumn Day in Dyrehaven, Sunshine by Theodor Philipsen, 1886
A Late Autumn Day in Dyrehaven, Sunshine by Theodor Philipsen, 1886
The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-raysElizabeth Gaskell, North and South
.

The Bridge at Argenteuil in Autumn by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
The Bridge at Argenteuil in Autumn by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
And every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.
Edward Hirsch, Wild Gratitude
A Wooded Path In Autumn by Hans Andersen Brendekilde (1857 - 1942)
A Wooded Path In Autumn by Hans Andersen Brendekilde (1857 – 1942)

Renoir: an Impression of Beauty

Famed for his paintings of bustling 19th-century Parisian life, pretty women and sensual nudes, Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s eye for beauty captured the day’s fashions and scenes of contented domestic bliss.

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Celebrated as a colorist, Renoir (1841 – 1919) was masterful at capturing the interplay of light and shadow as seen in the dappled sunlight of dancers at the Moulin de la Galette.

In the 19th century, Le Moulin de la Galette was a pleasant diversion for Parisians seeking entertainment, a glass of wine and bread made from flour ground by the famous windmill of the same name.

Bal du moulin de la Galette by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.Pierre Auguste Renoir
Click here to learn more about Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Painting for two months in the summer of 1869 at a boating and bathing complex outside Paris called La Grenouillère, Renoir and his friend Claude Monet captured the effects of the sun streaming through the trees on the rippling water.

La Grenouillere by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1869
La Grenouillere by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1869

Using broad, loose brushstrokes in a sketch-like technique and a brightened palette, they developed what would become known as the Impressionist aesthetic.

La Grenouillere by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1869
La Grenouillere by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1869

Organized with the help of friends Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, and Camille Pissarro, Renoir and Monet held exhibitions dedicated to Impressionism as a means to bypass the strict tradition of the more conservative Salon de Paris—the official art exhibition of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Although a founding member of the Impressionist movement, Renoir ceased to exhibit after 1877.

His love of portraiture and images of well-dressed Parisian pleasure seekers created a bridge from Impressionism’s more experimental aims to a modern, middle-class art public.

The Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1877
The Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1877

On a trip to Italy in 1881, Renoir became enamored with the “grandeur and simplicity” of High Renaissance artists like Raphael and his figures consequently became more crisply drawn and sculptural in character.

The Artist's Family by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1896
The Artist’s Family by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1896

Integrating more line and composition into his more mature works, Renoir created some of his era’s most timeless canvases.

Dance at Bougival by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1883
Dance at Bougival by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1883

Painting dozens of nudes, Renoir specialized in marble-like figures against quickly improvised impressionistic backgrounds.

Bather by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1893
Bather by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1893

Renoir’s combination of modernity and tradition was highly influential on the next generation of artists including Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Maurice Denis.

Join us as we celebrate Renoir accompanied by the music of Chopin.

Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1892
Young Girls at the Piano by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1892
Woman with a Parasol in a Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
Woman with a Parasol in a Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
The Two Sisters, On the Terrace by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
The Two Sisters, On the Terrace by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Picking Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
Picking Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
Young Woman with a Japanese Umbrella by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Young Woman with a Japanese Umbrella by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Place de la Trinite, Paris by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
Place de la Trinite, Paris by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
At the Concert by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
At the Concert by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
Claude Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
Claude Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
Bougival by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1888
Bougival by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1888
The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876
The Swing by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1876
Cagnes Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1910
Cagnes Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1910
Noirmoutiers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1892
Noirmoutiers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1892
Woman with a Black Dog by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1874
Woman with a Black Dog by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1874
The Port of Pornic by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
The Port of Pornic by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
Sunny Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
Sunny Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
The Harvesters by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
The Harvesters by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1873
The Covered Lane by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
The Covered Lane by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
The Children of Martial Caillebotte by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1895
The Children of Martial Caillebotte by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1895
Geraniums in a Copper Basin by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
Geraniums in a Copper Basin by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
Landscape at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1908
Landscape at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1908
Le Pont-Neuf, Paris by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
Le Pont-Neuf, Paris by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
The Theater Box by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1874
The Theater Box by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1874
The Farm by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1914
The Farm by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1914
Basket of Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir - 1890
Basket of Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir – 1890
The Lovers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
The Lovers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
Chapel of Our Lady of Protection, Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1905
Chapel of Our Lady of Protection, Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1905
A Cup of Tea in the Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1907
A Cup of Tea in the Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1907
Houses at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1905
Houses at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1905
The Fountain by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1885
The Fountain by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1885
Chrysanthemums by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1878
Chrysanthemums by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1878
Among the Roses by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
Among the Roses by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
Flowers in a Vase by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
Flowers in a Vase by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
Cagnes Landscape with Woman and Child by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1910
Cagnes Landscape with Woman and Child by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1910
The Fisherman by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1874
The Fisherman by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1874
Girls with Lilacs by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
Girls with Lilacs by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
The Great Boulevards by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
The Great Boulevards by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
The Terrace at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1908
The Terrace at Cagnes by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1908
Country Dance by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1883
Country Dance by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1883
Bouquet of Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1878
Bouquet of Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1878
The Canoeist's Luncheon by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
The Canoeist’s Luncheon by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1880
Head of a Little Girl by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1900
Head of a Little Girl by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1900
Oarsmen at Chatou by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1879
Oarsmen at Chatou by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1879
Madame Chocquet Reading by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Madame Chocquet Reading by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Girl Gathering Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
Girl Gathering Flowers by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1872
The Seine at Chatou by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1881
The Seine at Chatou by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1881
Spring Bouquet by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
Spring Bouquet by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
Algerian Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir
Algerian Landscape by Pierre Auguste Renoir
The Piazza San Marco, Venice by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1881
The Piazza San Marco, Venice by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1881
Place de la Trinite by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
Place de la Trinite by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1875
The Seine at Asnieres by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1879
The Seine at Asnieres by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1879
Vase of Chrysanthemums by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
Vase of Chrysanthemums by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1882
Garden Scene in Brittany by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1886
Garden Scene in Brittany by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1886
Young Woman in Red in the Fields by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1900
Young Woman in Red in the Fields by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1900
Madame Renoir and Her Son Pierre by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
Madame Renoir and Her Son Pierre by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1890
Under the Arbor at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Under the Arbor at the Moulin de la Galette by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
In St Cloud Park by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
In St Cloud Park by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1866
Girl with a Watering Can by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Girl with a Watering Can by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Children by the Sea by Pierre Auguste Renoir - 1894
Children by the Sea by Pierre Auguste Renoir – 1894
Nini in the Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Nini in the Garden by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1876
Mlle Charlotte Berthier by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1883
Mlle Charlotte Berthier by Pierre Auguste Renoir, 1883

Francois Flameng: Interpreter of Beauty

Beautiful places, beautiful people, beautiful clothes—Francois Flameng loved to paint them all.

Born in an art studio in Paris in 1856, Flameng may have known from an early age that he was destined to be an artist.

Indeed, in many ways, he had everything going for him.

Paris was the center of the art world and his father was a celebrated engraver who had once wished to be a painter.

All of his father’s regrets were channeled into making his son a success.

Specializing in history painting and portraiture, Francois Flameng became a professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts—the premier institution of fine art in France.

If you’d like to add a little atmosphere as we view a gallery of Flameng’s work, press play.

Napoleon I and the King of Rome at Saint-Cloud in 1811 by Francois Flameng
Napoleon I and the King of Rome at Saint-Cloud in 1811 by Francois Flameng
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna by Francois Flameng, 1898
Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna by Francois Flameng, 1898

Many of his studies in Italy are rich in architectural detail in the most vivid light and color.

The Carnival in Venice by Francois Flameng
The Carnival in Venice by Francois Flameng
Ile Pointeaux by Francois Flameng
Ile Pointeaux by Francois Flameng
Equestrienne Au Cirque Fernando by Francois Flameng - c. 1890
Equestrienne Au Cirque Fernando by Francois Flameng – c. 1890
Intelligence by Francois Flameng
Intelligence by Francois Flameng
Reception at Malmaison in 1802 by Francois Flameng, c.1894
Reception at Malmaison in 1802 by Francois Flameng, c.1894
A Concert in Versailles by Francois Flameng
A Concert in Versailles by Francois Flameng
Napoleon I and the King of Rome at Saint-Cloud by Francois Flameng, 1896
Napoleon I and the King of Rome at Saint-Cloud by Francois Flameng, 1896
Portrait of a Lady by Francois Flameng
Portrait of a Lady by Francois Flameng

Flameng would often use a camera lucida to create an optical superimposition of his subject.

Allowing him to duplicate key points of the scene on the drawing surface, it would aid in the accurate rendering of perspective.

How a camera lucida device is used to help with drawing composition
How a camera lucida device is used to help with drawing composition

Once he had the sketch to ensure proportion and perspective were correct, he would paint rapidly yet with such fine detail that within an hour he had what took most artists four hours to complete.

Princess Zinaida Yusupova with her sons Felix and Nikolai at Arkhangelskoye by Francois Flameng - 1894
Princess Zinaida Yusupova with her sons Felix and Nikolai at Arkhangelskoye by Francois Flameng – 1894
Mrs Adeline M. Noble by Francois Flameng
Mrs Adeline M. Noble by Francois Flameng
Napoleon I hunting in the Forest of Fontainebleau, 1807 by Francois Flameng
Napoleon I hunting in the Forest of Fontainebleau, 1807 by Francois Flameng
An Elite Soldier of the Imperial Guard by Francois Flameng
An Elite Soldier of the Imperial Guard by Francois Flameng
I have always thought that portraits ought to be arranged as pictures.Francois Flameng

Flameng said that fashions and hairstyles changed so often that the exact likeness captured in a portrait was gone within a few short years.

Therefore, he said, portraits should aim to be pleasant works of art that one would purchase to adorn the wall of a drawing room, even if it were not a portrait of one’s own image.

Zinaida Yusupova with the famous Yusupov family La Pelegrina pearl by Francois Flameng - 1894
Zinaida Yusupova with the famous Yusupov family La Pelegrina pearl by Francois Flameng – 1894
Maria Fedorovna by Francois Flameng, 1894
Maria Fedorovna by Francois Flameng, 1894

Flameng found that he learned as much about the social aspects of his work as he did the actual practicing of his art.

Making sittings more agreeable for models he had to learn their tastes and habits, likes and dislikes.

That way, he could encourage them to pose in ways that reflected their personality and remain in one position for a long time without noticing it as much.

Portrait of the Duchess Dora Leichtenberg by Francois Flameng - 1896
Portrait of the Duchess Dora Leichtenberg by Francois Flameng – 1896

Of equal importance to remaining true to his artistic integrity was producing a work that was pleasing to the subject and also to her friends and acquaintances.

Portrait of Mme D by Francois Flameng - 1911
Portrait of Mme D by Francois Flameng – 1911

When subjects disagreed with his choice of arrangement or style of composition, he would use all his skill to gradually encourage her to see his point of view without contradicting or offending, always admitting she was right, but gently helping her drop her own preconceived mental image.

Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book by Francois Flameng, 1900
Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book by Francois Flameng, 1900
The Chess Game by Francois Flameng
The Chess Game by Francois Flameng
The People of Paris Come to Versailles by Francois Flameng
The People of Paris Come to Versailles by Francois Flameng
Offizier des Chasseurs à Cheval Regiments of the Napoleonic Imperial Guard by Francois Flameng
Offizier des Chasseurs à Cheval Regiments of the Napoleonic Imperial Guard by Francois Flameng
Portrait of Madame Max Decougis by Francois Flameng
Portrait of Madame Max Decougis by Francois Flameng
Even the ordinary woman is a thousand times more worthwhile to paint than the ordinary man. But women are never ordinary.Francois Flameng
Portrait of a Lady by Francois Flameng
Portrait of a Lady by Francois Flameng

Flameng painted the colors and pageantry of war.

But he was no stranger to its violence.

At age 14, he was playing with fellow students at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, when a bombshell exploded in the courtyard.

It was a gift from the Prussians to mark the onset of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, and it prompted him to enlist.

Accepted in the ambulance corps, when Paris fell to the Prussians, he saw seven children killed under the window of his father’s house in Montparnasse.

Napoleon and his staff reviewing the mounted chasseurs of the Imperial Guard by Francois Flameng
In the Woods by Francois Flameng
In the Woods by Francois Flameng
A portrait painter should not only be endowed with talent, but also possess the qualities of a philosopher, of an observer, of a psychologist, and be provided with inexhaustible patience.Francois Flameng
Lady Duveen, née Salamon by Francois Flameng, 1910
Lady Duveen, née Salamon by Francois Flameng, 1910
Portrait Of Mademoiselle Herpin by Francois Flameng - 1908
Portrait Of Mademoiselle Herpin by Francois Flameng – 1908
Picnic by Francois Flameng
Picnic by Francois Flameng
Evening by Francois Flameng
Evening by Francois Flameng
Napoleon After The Battle Of Waterloo by Francois Flameng
Napoleon After The Battle Of Waterloo by Francois Flameng
Portrait of a mother with her children in the garden by Francois Flameng
Portrait of a mother with her children in the garden by Francois Flameng
An Evening's Entertainment for Josephine by Francois Flameng
An Evening’s Entertainment for Josephine by Francois Flameng

Francois Flameng didn’t only paint beauty.

Renowned for his paintings that showed some of the horrors of the First World War, he was an accredited documenter for the War Ministry and named honorary president of the Society of Military Painters.

Flameng’s war paintings were derided by many critics for being too realistic and not including heroic drama.

World War I by François Flameng
World War I by François Flameng
The offensive of the Yser, First French line near Het-Sas, by François Flameng
The offensive of the Yser, First French line near Het-Sas, by François Flameng
World War I Attack by François Flameng
World War I Attack by François Flameng

The Light that Inspired the Skagen Painters

Skagen is a village in the northernmost part of Denmark.

From the late 1870s until the turn of the century, a group of Scandinavian artists descended on Skagen every summer.

It was the light that drew them.

A translucent light that merged the sea and the sky—especially during the evening “blue hour”.

Influenced by the “en plein air” techniques of French Impressionist painters like Claude Monet, they broke away from traditions taught at the academies and developed their own unique styles.

The long beaches stretched for miles and miles …

Listen to Claude Debussy’s haunting Clair de Lune as we travel back in time to late 19th-century Skagen through the eyes of the Skagen Painters.

Summer Evening at Skagen Beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1899
Summer Evening at Skagen Beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1899
Summer Evening on Skagen's Southern Beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1893
Summer Evening on Skagen’s Southern Beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1893
Nor moon nor stars were out.
They did not dare to tread so soon about,
Though trembling, in the footsteps of the sun.
The light was neither night’s nor day’s, but one
Which, life-like, had a beauty in its doubt;
And Silence’s impassioned breathings round
Seemed wandering into sound.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, A Sea-Side Walk
Summer evening at the South Beach, Skagen by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1893
Summer evening at the South Beach, Skagen by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1893
Skagen by Michael Peter Ancher, c.1900
Skagen by Michael Peter Ancher, c.1900
Summer evening on the south Beach of Skagen by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1897
Summer evening on the south Beach of Skagen by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1897
The Skagen Beach by Oscar Gustaf Bjorck, 1882
The Skagen Beach by Oscar Gustaf Bjorck, 1882
Summer Day at Skagen South Beach by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1884
Summer Day at Skagen South Beach by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1884
Boat at Skagen's South Beach by Oscar Gustaf Bjorck, 1884
Boat at Skagen’s South Beach by Oscar Gustaf Bjorck, 1884
I have loved hours at sea, gray cities,
The fragile secret of a flower,
Music, the making of a poem
That gave me heaven for an hour
Sara Teasdale, I Have Loved Hours At Sea
A Stroll on the Beach by Michael Ancher, 1896
A Stroll on the Beach by Michael Ancher, 1896

Rendering light with paint in such a way that it makes you feel you are there and you need to squint at the sun’s reflections on the water.

Artists on the Beach by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1882
Artists on the Beach by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1882
The North Sea in Stormy Weather. After Sunset by Laurits Tuxen, 1909
The North Sea in Stormy Weather. After Sunset by Laurits Tuxen, 1909

One of the shared interests of the Skagen painters was to paint scenes of their own social gatherings—eating together, celebrating, or playing cards.

At Lunch by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1883
At Lunch by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1883

As if you could reach out and touch them, Krøyer’s characters are full of movement, full of life.

A breakfast. The artist, his wife and the writer Otto Benzon by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1893
A breakfast. The artist, his wife and the writer Otto Benzon by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1893

The group gathered together regularly at the Brøndums Inn in Skagen, which still operates as a hotel today.

Filled with the paintings the artists donated to cover the cost of board and lodging, the Brøndums’ dining-room became the center of their social life.

The dining room from Branden's hotel, Skagen Museum. Credit Bengt Oberger
The dining room from Branden’s hotel, Skagen Museum. Credit Bengt Oberger

Can you feel the excitement in the air and hear the clinking of glasses?

Hip, Hip, Hurrah! by P.S. Krøyer, 1888
Hip, Hip, Hurrah! by P.S. Krøyer, 1888
The Actor's Lunch, Skagen by Michael Peter Ancher, 1902
The Actor’s Lunch, Skagen by Michael Peter Ancher, 1902
An Artists' Gathering by Viggo Johansen, 1903
An Artists’ Gathering by Viggo Johansen, 1903

Deep in concentration, an after-dinner game of cards continues into the small hours.

A game of l'hombre in Brøndums Hotel by Anna Palm de Rosa, 1885
A game of l’hombre in Brøndums Hotel by Anna Palm de Rosa, 1885

Many of the Skagen painters are depicted here enjoying Midsummer Eve celebrations on Skagen beach around a bonfire, traditionally lit to ward off evil spirits believed to roam freely when the sun turned southward again.

The painting includes Peder Severin Krøyer’s daughter Vibeke, mayor Otto Schwartz and his wife Alba Schwartz, Michael Ancher, Degn Brøndum, Anna Ancher, Holger Drachmann and his 3rd wife Soffi, the Swedish composer Hugo Alfvén and Marie Krøyer.

Midsummer Eve bonfire on Skagen's beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1906
Midsummer Eve bonfire on Skagen’s beach by P.S. Krøyer, 1906

Anna Ancher was the only one of the Skagen Painters to be born and grow up in Skagen.

Her father owned the Brøndums Hotel where the artists stayed during the summer months and she married Michael Ancher, one of the first members of the Skagen colony of artists.

Expressing a more truthful depiction of reality and everyday life, she was a pioneer in observing the interplay of color and natural light.

Harvesters by Anna Ancher, 1905
Harvesters by Anna Ancher, 1905
Harvest Time by Anna Ancher, 1901
Harvest Time by Anna Ancher, 1901
Sewing Fisherman's Wife by Anna Ancher, 1890
Sewing Fisherman’s Wife by Anna Ancher, 1890
They love the sea,
Men who ride on it
And know they will die
Under the salt of it
Carl Sandburg, Young Sea

Combining realism and classical composition, Michael Ancher painted heroic fishermen and their experiences at sea.

Becoming known as monumental figurative art, his strict training at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts was tempered by his wife Anna’s more naturalistic approach.

Painted in 1885, Michael Ancher’s ‘Will He Round the Point?” (below) earned him and the Skagen colony particular attention since it was sold to King Christian IX of Denmark.

Will He Round the Point by Michael Ancher, 1885
Will He Round the Point by Michael Ancher, 1885
Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
The Boat is Set in the Sea by Oscar Björck, 1885
The Boat is Set in the Sea by Oscar Björck, 1885
The lifeboat is driven through the dunes by Michael Ancher, 1883
The lifeboat is driven through the dunes by Michael Ancher, 1883
Fishermen on the Beach on a Quiet Summer Evening by Michael Ancher, 1888
Fishermen on the Beach on a Quiet Summer Evening by Michael Ancher, 1888

Life was hard.

A fisherman’s life was not an easy one.

Better to die surrounded by people who would give their life for you.

That’s what close-knit communities were made of.

The Drowned Fisherman by Michael Peter Ancher, 1896
The Drowned Fisherman by Michael Peter Ancher, 1896
Fishermen at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1894
Fishermen at Skagen by Peder Severin Kroyer, 1894
Now is no time to think of what you do not have. Think of what you can do with that there is Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea
Fishermen on the Beach at Skagen byPeder Severin Kroyer, 1891
Fishermen on the Beach at Skagen byPeder Severin Kroyer, 1891

The Skagen artists also painted each other and their children going about everyday aspects of life—collecting flowers, walking the dog, reading in the shade of the garden or inside the house, meal times with the children, and saying prayers before bed.

Anna Ancher returning from the field by Michael Ancher, 1901
Anna Ancher returning from the field by Michael Ancher, 1901
Portrait of my wife. The painter Anna Ancher by Michael Ancher, 1883
Portrait of my wife. The painter Anna Ancher by Michael Ancher, 1883
Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist's Wife and Dog by the Shore by P.S. Krøyer, 1892
Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist’s Wife and Dog by the Shore by P.S. Krøyer, 1892
Roses by P.S. Krøyer, 1893
Roses by P.S. Krøyer, 1893
Interior with poppies and a woman reading by Anna Ancher, 1905
Interior with poppies and a woman reading by Anna Ancher, 1905
Living room with light blue curtains and blue Clematis, 1913
Living room with light blue curtains and blue Clematis, 1913
Midday Meal in the Garden by Anna Ancher, 1915
Midday Meal in the Garden by Anna Ancher, 1915
The Benzon daughters by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1897
The Benzon daughters by Peder Severin Krøyer, 1897
Evening Prayer by Anna Ancher, 1888
Evening Prayer by Anna Ancher, 1888

The Language of Flowers – the secret Victorian love code

For Victorians, flowers were the language of love.

Proclaiming feelings in public was considered socially taboo, so the Victorians expressed intimacy through flowers.

Myriad market stalls and street sellers sprang up to cater to the Victorians’ need to communicate covertly.

Learning the particular meanings and symbolism assigned to each flower gave Victorians a way to play the subtle game of courtship in secret.

The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
The Lower Market, Paris by Victor Gabriel Gilbert, 1881
The Lower Market, Paris by Victor Gabriel Gilbert, 1881
The Flower Seller, Avenue de L'Opera, Paris by Louis Marie de Schryver, 1891
The Flower Seller, Avenue de L’Opera, Paris by Louis Marie de Schryver, 1891
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Young Girl with a Rose by Emile Vernon
Young Girl with a Rose by Emile Vernon
Lovers under a Blossom Tree by John Callcott Horsley (English, 1817 - 1903)
Lovers under a Blossom Tree by John Callcott Horsley (English, 1817 – 1903)

To express adoration, a suitor would send dwarf sunflowers.

Sun and Moon Flowers by George Dunlop Leslie, 1889
Sun and Moon Flowers by George Dunlop Leslie, 1889

Myrtle symbolized good luck and love in a marriage.

At her wedding in 1858, Princess Victoria, the eldest child of Queen Victoria, carried a sprig of myrtle taken from a bush planted from a cutting given to the Queen by her mother-in-law.

Thus began a tradition for royal brides to include myrtle in their bouquets.

In the royal wedding of 2011, Catherine Middleton included sprigs of myrtle from Victoria’s original plant in her own wedding bouquet.

The Marriage of Victoria, Princess Royal, 25 January 1858 by John Phillip
The Marriage of Victoria, Princess Royal, 25 January 1858 by John Phillip

Displaying small “talking bouquets” or “posies” of meaningful flowers called nosegays or tussie-mussies became popular.

The Posy by Edward Killingworth Johnson
The Posy by Edward Killingworth Johnson

Decorative “posy holders” with rings or pins allowed them to be worn and displayed by their owners.

1854 Bouquet holders. metmuseum
1854 Bouquet holders. metmuseum

Made from brass, copper, gold-gilt metal, silver, porcelain, glass, enamel, pearl, ivory, bone and straw, the holders often had intricate engravings and patterning.

19th century bouquet holders. metmuseum
19th century bouquet holders. metmuseum

Other Flower Meanings

BurdockImportunity. Touch me not.
Buttercup (Kingcup)Ingratitude. Childishness.
CamomileEnergy in adversity.
Carnation, StripedRefusal.
Chrysanthemum, WhiteTruth.
ColtsfootJustice.
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
CrocusAbuse not.
DaffodilRegard.
DaisyInnocence.
JasmineAmiability.
At the Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
At the Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
DandelionRustic oracle.
DogwoodDurability.
DragonwortHorror.
IvyFidelity. Marriage.
Flower Seller with Child by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Flower Seller with Child by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Everlasting PeaLasting pleasure.
ElderflowerZealousness.
FennelWorthy all praise. Strength.
Lemon BlossomsFidelity in love.
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
The Flower Market by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
FlytrapDeceit.
FoxgloveInsincerity.
AnemoneForsaken.
LavenderDistrust.
Flower offering to a child by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Flower offering to a child by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
MarigoldUneasiness.
HemlockYou will be my death.
HibiscusDelicate beauty.
HoneysuckleGenerous & devoted affection.
Flower Seller by Victor Gabriel Gilbert
Flower Seller by Victor Gabriel Gilbert

Who will buy?

The film versions of Oliver! and My Fair Lady made the London flower sellers famous, but their life was far harsher than their Hollywood depictions.

So high was the demand for flowers that it created many opportunities for street traders and the exploitation of child labour.

Victorian social researcher Henry Mayhew wrote about flower sellers in his book London Labour and the London Poor, 1851—a groundbreaking and influential survey of the city’s poor:

Sunday is the best day for flower selling, and one experienced man computed, that in the height and pride of the summer four hundred children were selling flowers on Sundays in the streets. The trade is almost entirely in the hands of children, the girls outnumbering the boys by more than eight to one. The ages of the girls vary from six to twenty, few of the boys are older than twelve, and most of them are under ten. They are generally very persevering and will run along barefooted, with their, “Please, gentleman, do buy my flowers.  Poor little girl!” or “Please kind lady, buy my violets. O, do! please!  Poor little girl!   Do buy a bunch, please, kind lady!”

St Martin-in-the-Fields by William Logsdail, 1888
St Martin-in-the-Fields by William Logsdail, 1888

A Slice of American Life in a Gilded Age by William Merritt Chase

William Merritt Chase was an American painter who thrived during America’s Gilded Age.

He is best known for his portraits and landscapes in the impressionist “en plein air” (painted outdoors) style.

He captured the domestic comforts of his own family and the blissful lifestyle of some of the wealthy.

While working in the family business, Chase showed an early talent for art, studying under local, self-taught artists in Indianapolis, who urged him to further his studies at the National Academy in New York.

Declining family fortunes cut short his training and he left New York to join his family in St Louis—working to help support them, but continuing his art.

Catching the eye of wealthy St Louis art collectors, Chase was sent on an expense-paid trip to Europe in exchange for some of his paintings and help in procuring others for their collections.

As one of the finest centers for art training in Europe, Chase joined the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, where his figurative and impressionist loose brushwork began to shine.

Further travels in Italy rounded out his skills and he returned to the United States as one of a new wave of highly accomplished European-trained artists.

Seated, left to right: Edward Simmons, Willard L. Metcalf, Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Robert Reid Standing, left to right: William Merritt Chase, Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Joseph DeCamp
Seated, left to right: Edward Simmons, Willard L. Metcalf, Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, Robert Reid Standing, left to right: William Merritt Chase, Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. Tarbell, Thomas Wilmer Dewing, Joseph DeCamp

American statesman Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin once said of Chase’s style,

A noble sense of color is perceptible in all his works, whether in the subtle elusive tints of flesh, or in the powerful rendering of a mass of color. In the painting of a portrait he endeavors, sometimes very successfully, to seize character

Whether relaxing in the country, strolling in the park, playing with children at the beach, boating on a summer afternoon or simply contemplating life, his paintings show us a slice of American life at a beautiful time. A time tinted with gold. A Gilded Age.

Mrs Chase Playing the Piano by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Mrs Chase Playing the Piano by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Going to see Grandma by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Going to see Grandma by William Merritt Chase, 1889
The Actress Linda Dietz Carlton by William Merritt Chase, c.1879
The Actress Linda Dietz Carlton by William Merritt Chase, c.1879
Afternoon by the Sea by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Afternoon by the Sea by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Sketch for the Portrait of Mother and Child) by William Merritt Chase, c.1915
Sketch for the Portrait of Mother and Child) by William Merritt Chase, c.1915
Afternoon in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1887
Afternoon in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1887
Dorothy and Her Sister by William Merritt Chase, c.1900
Dorothy and Her Sister by William Merritt Chase, c.1900
Contemplation by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Contemplation by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Connoisseur - The Studio Corner by William Merritt Chase, c.1883
Connoisseur – The Studio Corner by William Merritt Chase, c.1883
Children Playing Parlor Croquet by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Children Playing Parlor Croquet by William Merritt Chase, c.1888
Child with Prints by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
Child with Prints by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
Chase Homestead, Shinnecock by William Merritt Chase, c.1893
Chase Homestead, Shinnecock by William Merritt Chase, c.1893
Beach Scene - Morning at Canoe Place by William Merritt Chase, c.1896
Beach Scene – Morning at Canoe Place by William Merritt Chase, c.1896
In the Studio by William Merritt Chase, 1892
In the Studio by William Merritt Chase, 1892
An Afternoon Stroll by William Merritt Chase, 1895
An Afternoon Stroll by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Landscape Shinnecock, Long Island by William Merritt Chase, 1896
Landscape Shinnecock, Long Island by William Merritt Chase, 1896
Young Woman in Pink by William Merritt Chase , 1905
Young Woman in Pink by William Merritt Chase , 1905
Portrait of Miss Dorothy Chase by William Merritt Chase, c.1913
Portrait of Miss Dorothy Chase by William Merritt Chase, c.1913
Sunlight and Shadow in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Sunlight and Shadow in Prospect Park by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Alice Dieudonnee Chase, Shinnecock Hills by William Merritt Chase, c.1901
Alice Dieudonnee Chase, Shinnecock Hills by William Merritt Chase, c.1901
The Sisters (also known as The Sisters - Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Oskar LIvingston; The Sisters - Mrs. Oskar Livingston and Mrs. James Francis Sullivan) by William Merritt Chase, 1905
The Sisters (also known as The Sisters – Mrs. Sullivan and Mrs. Oskar LIvingston; The Sisters – Mrs. Oskar Livingston and Mrs. James Francis Sullivan) by William Merritt Chase, 1905
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Prospect Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Susan Watkins by William Merritt Chase, 1914
Susan Watkins by William Merritt Chase, 1914
Terrace at the Mall, Cantral Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Terrace at the Mall, Cantral Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Sunlight and Shadow by William Merritt Chase, 1884
Sunlight and Shadow by William Merritt Chase, 1884
Summertime by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Summertime by William Merritt Chase, 1886
The Song by William Merritt Chase, 1907
The Song by William Merritt Chase, 1907
Woman with a Large Hat by William Merritt Chase, 1904
Woman with a Large Hat by William Merritt Chase, 1904
Woman in Kimono Holding a Japanese Fan by William Merritt Chase
Woman in Kimono Holding a Japanese Fan by William Merritt Chase
William Launt Palmer by William Merritt Chase, 1887
William Launt Palmer by William Merritt Chase, 1887
Weary (also known as Who Rang) by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Weary (also known as Who Rang) by William Merritt Chase, 1889
Wash Day - A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Wash Day – A Back Yard Reminiscence of Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase, 1886
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase,1887
Tompkins Park, Brooklyn by William Merritt Chase,1887
Dr Benjamin Taylor by William Merritt Chase, 1902
Dr Benjamin Taylor by William Merritt Chase, 1902
Child on a Garden Walk by William Merritt Chase, 1888
Child on a Garden Walk by William Merritt Chase, 1888
The Blue Kimono by William Merritt Chase, 1898
The Blue Kimono by William Merritt Chase, 1898
Bessie Potter by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Bessie Potter by William Merritt Chase, 1895
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Bank of a Lake in Central Park by William Merritt Chase, 1890
The Birthday Party by William Merritt Chase, 1902
The Birthday Party by William Merritt Chase, 1902
August B. Loeb, Esq by William Merritt Chase, 1905
August B. Loeb, Esq by William Merritt Chase, 1905
At the Shore by William Merritt Chase, 1886
At the Shore by William Merritt Chase, 1886
At the Seaside by William Merritt Chase, 1892
At the Seaside by William Merritt Chase, 1892
A Long Island Lake by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
A Long Island Lake by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
The Little Garden by William Merritt Chase, 1895
The Little Garden by William Merritt Chase, 1895
The Lake for Miniature Yachts by William Merritt Chase, 1890
The Lake for Miniature Yachts by William Merritt Chase, 1890
Lady in White by William Merritt Chase
Lady in White by William Merritt Chase
Lady in Pink by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Lady in Pink by William Merritt Chase, 1883
Girl at a Bureau by William Merritt Chase
Girl at a Bureau by William Merritt Chase
A Friendly Visit by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
A Friendly Visit by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
Friendly Advice by William Merritt Chase, 1913
Friendly Advice by William Merritt Chase, 1913
For the LIttle One (also known as Hall at Shinnecock) by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
For the LIttle One (also known as Hall at Shinnecock) by William Merritt Chase, c.1895
The Fairy Tale (also known as A Summer Day) by William Merritt Chase, c.1892
The Fairy Tale (also known as A Summer Day) by William Merritt Chase, c.1892
End of the Season by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
End of the Season by William Merritt Chase, c.1884
An Early Stroll in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
An Early Stroll in the Park by William Merritt Chase, c.1890
Afternoon Shadows by William Merritt Chase, c. 1897
Afternoon Shadows by William Merritt Chase, c. 1897

An Impression of Winter by Claude Monet

What impression do you have of winter?

Perhaps you’re a snowbird who escapes the cold for warmer climes.

Perhaps you’re a winter sports fan who loves nothing more than gliding down the slopes with the wind in your hair and the scenic beauty whizzing past.

Perhaps you love to snuggle up next to a roaring fire, hot drink in hand, watching the snow fall.

We all have a slightly different impression of winter depending on our perspective.

In 19th-century France, a group of artists led by Claude Monet made quite an impression on the art world.

They realized that how we see the world is not in all its detail, but as an “impression”, with our minds filling in the gaps.

Capturing this “impressionistic image” in paint was their specialty.

It gave them the opportunity to use color and light to convey those “fleeting moments” that stay with us as memories.

Monet loved the changing light of the seasons.

In his paintings of winter, we can feel the cold yet bask in the warmth of their beauty.

A feast for the senses. Food for the soul.

The Boulevard de Pontoise at Argenteuil, Snow Effect by Claude Monet - 1875
The Boulevard de Pontoise at Argenteuil, Snow Effect by Claude Monet – 1875
Snow Scene at Argenteuil by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
Snow Scene at Argenteuil by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
Skaters at Giverny by Claude Oscar Monet - 1899
Skaters at Giverny by Claude Oscar Monet – 1899
The Banks of the Fjord at Christiania by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
The Banks of the Fjord at Christiania by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Snow at Argenteuil by Claude Oscar Monet - 1874-1875
Snow at Argenteuil by Claude Oscar Monet – 1874-1875
Sandviken Village in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
Sandviken Village in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Route, effet de neige, soleil couchant (Snow Effect along a Road with Setting Sun) by Claude Oscar Monet
Route, effet de neige, soleil couchant (Snow Effect along a Road with Setting Sun) by Claude Oscar Monet
Road to Giverny in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet - 1885
Road to Giverny in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet – 1885
Road at Louveciennes, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1869-1870
Road at Louveciennes, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1869-1870
Red Houses at Bjornegaard in the Snow, Norway by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
Red Houses at Bjornegaard in the Snow, Norway by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Mount Kolsaas, Rose Reflection by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
Mount Kolsaas, Rose Reflection by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Mount Kolsaas by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
Mount Kolsaas by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Lavacourt, Sun and Snow by Claude Oscar Monet - 1878-1881
Lavacourt, Sun and Snow by Claude Oscar Monet – 1878-1881
Lavacourt in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet - 1879
Lavacourt in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet – 1879
Ice Floes, Misty Morning by Claude Oscar Monet - 1894
Ice Floes, Misty Morning by Claude Oscar Monet – 1894
Ice Floes on the Seine at Bougival by Claude Oscar Monet - 1867-1868
Ice Floes on the Seine at Bougival by Claude Oscar Monet – 1867-1868
Houses in the Snow, Norway by Claude Oscar Monet - 1895
Houses in the Snow, Norway by Claude Oscar Monet – 1895
Grainstacks in the Morning, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1891
Grainstacks in the Morning, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1891
Grainstacks at Sunset, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1890-1891
Grainstacks at Sunset, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1890-1891
Frost by Claude Oscar Monet - 1885
Frost by Claude Oscar Monet – 1885
Frost by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
Frost by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
Floating Ice near Bennecourt by Claude Oscar Monet - 1893
Floating Ice near Bennecourt by Claude Oscar Monet – 1893
Floating Ice by Claude Oscar Monet - 1880
Floating Ice by Claude Oscar Monet – 1880
Entering the Village of Vetheuil in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet - 1879
Entering the Village of Vetheuil in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet – 1879
Coming into Giverny in Winter, Sunset by Claude Oscar Monet - 1885
Coming into Giverny in Winter, Sunset by Claude Oscar Monet – 1885
Church at Jeufosse, Snowy Weather by Claude Oscar Monet - 1893
Church at Jeufosse, Snowy Weather by Claude Oscar Monet – 1893
Boulevard St-Denis, Argenteuil, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
Boulevard St-Denis, Argenteuil, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
Amsterdam in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet - 1874
Amsterdam in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet – 1874
A Cart on the Snow Covered Road with Saint-Simeon Farm by Claude Oscar Monet - c. 1865
A Cart on the Snow Covered Road with Saint-Simeon Farm by Claude Oscar Monet – c. 1865
White Frost by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
White Frost by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
View of Argenteuil in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
View of Argenteuil in the Snow by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
Train in the Snow, the Locomotive by Claude Oscar Monet - 1875
Train in the Snow, the Locomotive by Claude Oscar Monet – 1875
The Seine at Port Villez, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1885
The Seine at Port Villez, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1885
The Seine at Bougival by Claude Oscar Monet - 1869
The Seine at Bougival by Claude Oscar Monet – 1869
The Road to Vetheuil, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet - 1879
The Road to Vetheuil, Snow Effect by Claude Oscar Monet – 1879
The Road in Vetheuil in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet - 1879
The Road in Vetheuil in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet – 1879
The Road by Saint-Simeon Farm in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet - 1867
The Road by Saint-Simeon Farm in Winter by Claude Oscar Monet – 1867
The Magpie by Claude Oscar Monet - 1869
The Magpie by Claude Oscar Monet – 1869
The Effect of Snow at Limetz by Claude Oscar Monet - 1886
The Effect of Snow at Limetz by Claude Oscar Monet – 1886
The Church at Vetheuil, Snow by Claude Oscar Monet - 1878-1879
The Church at Vetheuil, Snow by Claude Oscar Monet – 1878-1879

In the Bleak Mid Winter

The story of shepherding begins some 5,000 years ago in Asia Minor.

As the name implies, a shepherd is a sheep herder — derived from the Old English sceaphierde, where sceap means sheep and hierde, herder.

Kept for their milk, meat and most importantly their wool, sheep flock together for fear of danger and instinctively follow any of their group that takes the lead.

It is this herding characteristic that made sheep farming comparatively easy and low cost for most of the year.

With just a crook and a dog, a lone shepherd could control a flock and lead them to market for shearing in the spring.

The sheepdog helped keep the flock together and protect it from predators such as wolves.

But when winter came, it was a different story.

Cold, lonely, and bleak.

Since the fertile lowlands and river valleys were used to grow grains and cereals, sheep farming was restricted to the rugged upland and mountainous areas.

One such area was the Highlands of Scotland.

Constantly on the move, the flock grazed as best it could, navigating woodlands, streams, open fields, stone walls, and wooden fences.

Blizzards. Deep snow. Snow on snow.

Until the thaw arrived once more in the spring.

19th-century artist Joseph Farquharson captured the shepherd’s winter struggle perfectly.

There is something ethereal in these windswept, yet romantic paintings from the Scottish Highlands.

Perhaps someone was watching over the shepherd, his flock, and his trusty dog.

The Stormy Blast by Joseph Farquharson, 1898
The Stormy Blast by Joseph Farquharson, 1898
Study for At Freezing Point by Joseph Farquharson
Study for At Freezing Point by Joseph Farquharson
Sheep in the Snow by Joseph Farquharson
Sheep in the Snow by Joseph Farquharson
Sheep in a Snowstorm by Joseph Farquharson, 1893
Sheep in a Snowstorm by Joseph Farquharson, 1893
O'er Snow Clad Pastures, When the Sky Grew Red by Joseph Farquharson
O’er Snow Clad Pastures, When the Sky Grew Red by Joseph Farquharson
Herding Sheep in a Winter Landscape at Sunset by Joseph Farquharson
Herding Sheep in a Winter Landscape at Sunset by Joseph Farquharson
In Deep Mid Winter by Joseph Farquharson
In Deep Mid Winter by Joseph Farquharson
The Joyless Winter Day by Joseph Farquharson, 1883
The Joyless Winter Day by Joseph Farquharson, 1883
The Edge of the Wood by Joseph Farquharson
The Edge of the Wood by Joseph Farquharson
The Day Was Sloping towards His Western Bower by Joseph Farquharson, 1912
The Day Was Sloping towards His Western Bower by Joseph Farquharson, 1912
Blow, Blow, Thou Wintery Wind by Joseph Farquharson
Blow, Blow, Thou Wintery Wind by Joseph Farquharson
Evening at Finzean by Joseph Farquharson
Evening at Finzean by Joseph Farquharson
The Sun Peeped o'er yon Southland Hills by Joseph Farquharson
The Sun Peeped o’er yon Southland Hills by Joseph Farquharson
The Shortening Winter's Day is near a Close
The Shortening Winter’s Day is near a Close
Through the Crisp Air by Joseph Farquharson, 1902
Through the Crisp Air by Joseph Farquharson, 1902
A Walk in the Snow by Joseph Farquharson
A Walk in the Snow by Joseph Farquharson
West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson
West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson
When snow the pasture sheets by Joseph Farquharson, 1915
When snow the pasture sheets by Joseph Farquharson, 1915
When Snow the Pasture Sheets by Joseph Farquharson
When Snow the Pasture Sheets by Joseph Farquharson
When the West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson, 1910
When the West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson, 1910
When the West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson, 1901
When the West with Evening Glows by Joseph Farquharson, 1901
Where Winter Holds its Sway by Joseph Farquharson
Where Winter Holds its Sway by Joseph Farquharson
Winter by Joseph Farquharson
Winter by Joseph Farquharson
Winter by Joseph Farquharson
Winter by Joseph Farquharson
A Winter's Morning by Joseph Farquharson
A Winter’s Morning by Joseph Farquharson
Sun Pepped o'er the Hill by Joseph Farquharson
Sun Pepped o’er the Hill by Joseph Farquharson
The Sun Had Closed the Winter's Day by Joseph Farquharson, 1904
The Sun Had Closed the Winter’s Day by Joseph Farquharson, 1904
The Sun Fast Sinks in the West by Joseph Farquharson
The Sun Fast Sinks in the West by Joseph Farquharson

20 Exquisite Paintings of 18th-Century Ladies by Joshua Reynolds

Sir Joshua Reynolds
Sir Joshua Reynolds

Sir Joshua Reynolds RA FRS FRSA (1723 – 1792) was an influential eighteenth-century English portrait painter.

He promoted the “Grand Manner” of painting which idealized subjects to convey a sense of nobility.

Knighted by King George III in 1769, Reynolds was a founder and first president of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Although he had little technical training as an artist, he possessed an instinct for color and composition. His figures appear in a natural attitude of grace and he gives them an air of distinction. Even the most ill-tempered sitters were elevated to a position of dignity.

Reynolds had a gift for capturing the personality of the sitter—what critics called “realizing their individuality.” Using his imagination, he would weave a story into each portrait.

His compositions have a symmetry of outline and flow of lines reminiscent of Raphael. In fact, he borrowed from many sources: Rembrandt’s lighting and color harmonies; Rubens’s splendor; Titian’s decoration.

Yet to all his works, he added his personal touch that makes them uniquely Reynolds.

Which is your favorite 18th-century lady painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds?

The 17th-Century Hampton Court Beauties

Depicting the most glamorous ladies from the court of King William III and Queen Mary II, the Hampton Court Beauties are a series of portraits by Sir Godfrey Kneller, commissioned by the Queen herself.

They adorn the state rooms of King William III at Hampton Court Palace.

… the principal Ladies attending upon her Majesty, or who were frequently in her retinue; and this was the more beautiful sight, because the originals were all in being, and often to be compar’d with their pictures.Daniel Defoe

Queen Mary II was a fashion trendsetter and a collector of fine china, particularly blue and white porcelain. Her household account book of 1694 lists 31 mantuas and gowns, taffeta, velvet and satin fabrics, satin shoes with gold and silver lace, gloves, furs, fringes, ribbons, and fans.

Queen Mary II by William Wissing
Queen Mary II by William Wissing

The late 17th century was a decadent, sensual era when great beauty could be an instrument of ambition, a passage to pleasure, and a ride to riches.

Handsome rewards lay ahead for royal mistresses like Nell Gwyn, the long-time mistress of King Charles II of England and Scotland. Her son by the King was made the Duke of St Albans and married into the established aristocracy.

Capturing beauty in portraiture became a preoccupation of portrait artists who developed their own techniques to heighten natural beauty. Dutch artist William Wissing had a particular way of bringing a fashionable blush to a lady’s cheeks. He would take her by the hand and dance her about the room until the exercise gave the desired complexion.

Vote for your favorite beauty from the court of Queen Mary.

References
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Wikipedia.org
The Royal Collection
A Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain by Daniel Defoe
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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I may receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Mucha Do About Art Nouveau

The rags to riches story of Czech Art Nouveau artist Alphonse Mucha.

Living alone in Paris in 1894, Alphonse Mucha barely made enough money to feed himself.

Alphonse Mucha Self Portrait, 1899
Alphonse Mucha Self Portrait, 1899

There had been better times. Back home in Moravia, he had worked in a castle restoring portraits and decorating rooms with murals. Those were the days. His employer, the Count, had encouraged Mucha to take formal studies and had provided financial support.

Now, at 34, with his savings gone, Mucha was scraping a living from his artwork, taking small commissions from magazine pictures, designs for costumes in operas and ballets, and book illustrations.

But his fortunes were about to change.

Just before Christmas 1894, he happened to drop into a print shop and heard that Sarah Bernhardt—the most famous actress in Paris—was starring in a new play, Gismonda.

Sarah Bernhardt by Félix Nadar
Sarah Bernhardt by Félix Nadar

The promoters needed a poster to advertise the production, and so Alphonse Mucha offered to deliver a lithograph in two weeks.

It was an overnight sensation. Bernhardt was so pleased with the success of this first poster that she offered him a six-year contract.

Alphonse Mucha had brought Art Nouveau to the people of Paris.

Poster for Victorien Sardou's Gismonda starring Sarah Bernhardt at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris., 1894
Poster for the première production of Victorien Sardou’s Gismonda starring Sarah Bernhardt at the Théâtre de la Renaissance in Paris, 1894
Poster for an evening of theater honoring Sarah Bernhardt (1896)

For the next 10 years, Alphonse Mucha kept busy with commissions for posters, book illustrations, programs, and calendars.

Abounding with ornamental pictorial elements with crisp curvilinear contours, the stylized graceful women of “Style Mucha” became synonymous with the whole Art Nouveau movement.

Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter by Alphonse much, 1896
Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter by Alphonse much, 1896

Mucha’s work captured the worldliness and decadence of the fin de siècle (turn of the century) and the belle époque (“The Beautiful Era”)—a time when Paris was the resplendent cultural capital of the world.

Dance by Alfons Mucha, 1898
Dance by Alfons Mucha, 1898
Zodiac by Alphonse Mucha
Zodiac by Alphonse Mucha
Poetry by Alphonse Mucha
Poetry by Alphonse Mucha
Byzantine Heads - Brunette by Alphonse Mucha
Byzantine Heads – Brunette by Alphonse Mucha
Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile by Alphonse Mucha, 1896
Biscuits Lefèvre-Utile by Alphonse Mucha, 1896
Monaco Monte Carlo by Alfons Mucha
Monaco Monte Carlo by Alfons Mucha
Bières de la Meuse by Alphonse Mucha
Bières de la Meuse by Alphonse Mucha
Advertising poster for Chocolat Idéal by Alfons Mucha
Advertising poster for Chocolat Idéal by Alfons Mucha
Flower by Alphonse Mucha, 1897
Flower by Alphonse Mucha, 1897

Mucha grew up in a small village in Moravia in what is now the Czech Republic. When he was a boy, it was part of the Habsburg Empire. Poverty and suffering were a part of everyday life—five of Mucha’s brothers and sisters died from tuberculosis.

Coming from a deeply religious family, the Church was a big influence on Mucha’s early life. From church decorations to the mysticism of religion, he remained fascinated by spiritualism throughout his life and even dabbled in the occult.

The Municipal House Ceiling by Alphonse Mucha, Prague
The Municipal House Ceiling by Alphonse Mucha, Prague
Mucha's stained glass window in St. Vitus Cathedral inside Prague Castle
Mucha’s stained glass window in St. Vitus Cathedral inside Prague Castle
An illustrated page from Le Pater by Mucha
An illustrated page from Le Pater by Mucha

After Paris, Mucha spent four years in the United States before returning to his home country, settling in Prague.

He started work on a fine art masterpiece—a history of the Slavic peoples. Called The Slav Epic, it comprises 20 huge canvases up to 26 ft wide and 20 ft high.

Mucha's The Slav Epic, 1911
Mucha’s The Slav Epic, 1911
The Slave Epic - The coronation of the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dušan as East Roman Emperor (1926)
The Slave Epic – The coronation of the Serbian Tsar Stefan Dušan as East Roman Emperor (1926)
Apotheosis of the Slavs history by Alfons Mucha (1926)
Apotheosis of the Slavs history by Alfons Mucha (1926)

When the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia in 1939, Mucha was among the first to be arrested. Weakened by interrogation and suffering from pneumonia, he died shortly after being released.

But his art lived on in the hearts of admirers the world over.

Los Cigarillos Paris, Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, THe Spirit of Spring, Portrait of Mme. Mucha
Los Cigarillos Paris, Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt, The Spirit of Spring, Portrait of Mme. Mucha

12 Dashing Men of the Regency Era

The Regency (1795–1837) was a period when King George III of England was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. On the death of his father in 1820, the Prince Regent became George IV.

It was a time of great elegance and achievement in the fine arts and architecture, shaping and altering the societal structure of Britain and influencing the world.

Upper-class society, in particular, flourished in a Renaissance of culture and refinement.

Here are 12 men from the Regency Era—some war heroes, some artists, but all embodying the proud spirit of the age.

1. Alexander Ivanovitch, Prince of Chernichev (1786-1857) by Sir Thomas Lawrence, 1818

Alexander Ivanovitch, Prince of Chernichev (1786-1857) by Sir Thomas Lawrence - 1818

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30 Glorious Paintings of 19th-Century Europe

Have you ever considered taking up painting as a hobby? What would inspire you?

How about hiking through the Austrian Alps and northern Italy?

That’s exactly what awoke a desire to put brush to paper for 19th-century Austrian watercolor artist Rudolf von Alt.

The Dachstein from Vorderer Gosausee by Rudolf von Alt, 1838
The Dachstein from Vorderer Gosausee by Rudolf von Alt, 1838
A view of Vienna from the Prater with figures in the foreground by Rudolf von Alt, 1834
A view of Vienna from the Prater with figures in the foreground by Rudolf von Alt, 1834

A trip to Italy might also work wonders for your creativity.

Von Alt completed a number of paintings featuring the glorious architecture of European cities.

Figures on the Riva degli Schiavone by Rudolf von Alt, 1840
Figures on the Riva degli Schiavone by Rudolf von Alt, 1840
The Pantheon and Piazza della Rotonda in Rome by Rudolf von Al, 1835
The Pantheon and Piazza della Rotonda in Rome by Rudolf von Al, 1835
St. Peter's from the Vatican Garden by Rudolf von Alt, 1838
St. Peter’s from the Vatican Garden by Rudolf von Alt, 1838
View of Naples by Rudolf von Alt, c1870
View of Naples by Rudolf von Alt, c1870
The Stephansdom from Stock im Eisen Platz by Rudolf Ritter von Alt, 1832
The Stephansdom from Stock im Eisen Platz by Rudolf Ritter von Alt, 1832
The Cathedral Square in Cattaro by Rudolf von Alt, 1841
The Cathedral Square in Cattaro by Rudolf von Alt, 1841
Josefsplatz in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1831
Josefsplatz in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1831
View of Budapest with Chain Bridge and the Royal Palace by Rudolf von Alt, 1880
View of Budapest with Chain Bridge and the Royal Palace by Rudolf von Alt, 1880
Overlooking the Charles Church and the Polytechnic Institute by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
Overlooking the Charles Church and the Polytechnic Institute by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
The Neue Markt (Mehlmarkt) by Rudolf von Alt, 1836
The Neue Markt (Mehlmarkt) by Rudolf von Alt, 1836
The main square in Linz by Rudolf von Alt, 1839
The main square in Linz by Rudolf von Alt, 1839
View of the Basilica San Antonio in Padua by Rudolf von Alt, 1836
View of the Basilica San Antonio in Padua by Rudolf von Alt, 1836
The Esplanade of Ischl by Rudolf von Alt
The Esplanade of Ischl by Rudolf von Alt
Vienna, St. Michael the Hofburg and old Burgtheater by Rudolf von Alt, 1888
Vienna, St. Michael the Hofburg and old Burgtheater by Rudolf von Alt, 1888
Varenna at Lake Como by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
Varenna at Lake Como by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
The Lower Austrian Landhaus in Vienna from Minoritenplatz by Rudolf von Alt, 1845
The Lower Austrian Landhaus in Vienna from Minoritenplatz by Rudolf von Alt, 1845
The Jägerzeile in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1844
The Jägerzeile in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1844
The parish church in Ofen by Rudolf von Alt, 1845
The parish church in Ofen by Rudolf von Alt, 1845
View of the Alservorstadt by Rudolf von Alt, 1872
View of the Alservorstadt by Rudolf von Alt, 1872
The Main Square in Bratislava by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
The Main Square in Bratislava by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
Vienna, Freyung mit Austriabrunnen by Rudolf von Alt, 1847
Vienna, Freyung mit Austriabrunnen by Rudolf von Alt, 1847
Street in Palermo by Rudolf von Alt, 1867
Street in Palermo by Rudolf von Alt, 1867
The Tyn Church in Prague by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
The Tyn Church in Prague by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
View of the Doge's Palace in Venice by Rudolf von Alt, 1874
View of the Doge’s Palace in Venice by Rudolf von Alt, 1874
Bridge Tower Lesser Town in Prague by Rudolf von Alt, 1843
Bridge Tower Lesser Town in Prague by Rudolf von Alt, 1843

Painting interior views was also a much-admired skill of von Alt’s, bringing him a lot of attention in Vienna.

BSalon of Princess Henriette Odescalchi Castle in Hirtenberg by Rudolf von Alt, 1853
BSalon of Princess Henriette Odescalchi Castle in Hirtenberg by Rudolf von Alt, 1853
Staircase of the Upper Belvedere in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1882
Staircase of the Upper Belvedere in Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1882
The Japanese Salon, Villa Hügel, Hietzing, Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1855
The Japanese Salon, Villa Hügel, Hietzing, Vienna by Rudolf von Alt, 1855

Victorian Artist Charles Burton Barber Captures the Special Bond Between Children and Pets

Growing up in the popular Victorian family seaside resort of Great Yarmouth, England, it might have been happy childhood memories that helped Charles Burton Barber become such a successful Victorian artist of children and pets.

Such was the high regard for his skill, that in 1883 Barber was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters—the only art society dedicated to the Victorian artist specializing in oils.

Great Yarmouth, England, c. 1895
Victorian-era Great Yarmouth, England

His particular talent was for sentimental portraits of dogs, which helped win royal commissions from animal-lover Queen Victoria.

Barber succeeded Sir Edwin Landseer as the Queen’s court painter. One of his most renowned works is of Marco—a beautiful Pomeranian she bought on a trip to Florence, Italy, in 1888.

Marco on the Queen's Breakfast Table by Charles Burton Barber, 1893
Marco on the Queen’s Breakfast Table by Charles Burton Barber, 1893

Related post: Queen Victoria’s Beloved Pomeranians

Queen Victoria and Her Servant John Brown by Charles Burton Barber
Queen Victoria and Her Servant John Brown by Charles Burton Barber

Related post: Queen Victoria, Last of the Hanoverians

The next two paintings, “In Disgrace” and “A Special Pleader”, are two of Victorian artist Barber’s most famous works.

You may notice something similar—it’s the same little girl wiping her tears, having been sent to stand in the corner for naughty behavior.

In each painting, Barber captures the special relationship between dogs and humans. The little puppy is sharing her punishment, while the border collie appears to be pleading with her parents to forgive her.

In Disgrace by Charles Burton Barber
In Disgrace by Charles Burton Barber

Demand for Barber’s work is reflected in auction prices. In Disgrace fetched $639,964 at Christie’s in 2007, with A Special Pleader having been sold for $442,500 ten years earlier.

A Special Pleader by Charles Burton Barber, 1893
A Special Pleader by Charles Burton Barber, 1893
A Little Girl And Her Sheltie by Charles Burton Barber
A Little Girl And Her Sheltie by Charles Burton Barber

Painting animals with human-like expressions was a popular style for the Victorian artist.

Barber knew how to not only convey expressions like excitement, longing, sadness, and protection, but also to render them in a more natural, animal-like way.

The New Whip by Charles Burton Barber
The New Whip by Charles Burton Barber
A Monster by Charles Burton Barber, 1866
A Monster by Charles Burton Barber, 1866
The Rivals by Charles Burton Barber
The Rivals by Charles Burton Barber
Not Much Wrong by Charles Burton Barber
Not Much Wrong by Charles Burton Barber
The Little Baker With Her Two Assistants by Charles Burton Barber
The Little Baker With Her Two Assistants by Charles Burton Barber
A Mischievous Puppy by Charles Burton Barber, 1886
A Mischievous Puppy by Charles Burton Barber, 1886
The Hiding Place by Charles Burton Barber, 1891
The Hiding Place by Charles Burton Barber, 1891
Off to School by Charles Burton Barber, 1883
Off to School by Charles Burton Barber, 1883

The painting “Suspense” shown below was owned by rival soap manufacturers Pears and Lever Brothers. It depicts a beautiful young girl saying grace over breakfast with her pet cat and Jack Russell gazing longingly at the feast before her.

Suspense by Charles Burton Barber
Suspense by Charles Burton Barber
Blond and Brunette by Charles Burton Barber, 1879
Blond and Brunette by Charles Burton Barber, 1879
Coaxing Is Better by Charles Burton Barber
Coaxing Is Better by Charles Burton Barber
Trust by Charles Burton Barber, 1888
Trust by Charles Burton Barber, 1888
No ride today by Charles Burton Barber
No ride today by Charles Burton Barber
Girl with Dogs by Charles Burton Barber, 1893
Girl with Dogs by Charles Burton Barber, 1893
The Two Invalids by Charles Burton Barber
The Two Invalids by Charles Burton Barber
The Broken String by Charles Burton Barber
The Broken String by Charles Burton Barber
I am higher! by Charles Burton Barber
I am higher! by Charles Burton Barber
The New Keeper by Charles Burton Barber, 1888
The New Keeper by Charles Burton Barber, 1888
A Scratch Pack by Charles Burton Barber
A Scratch Pack by Charles Burton Barber
Time to Wake Up by Charles Burton Barber, 1883
Time to Wake Up by Charles Burton Barber, 1883
Lost Chance by Charles Burton Barber
Lost Chance by Charles Burton Barber
Sweethearts by Charles Burton Barber, 1890
Sweethearts by Charles Burton Barber, 1890

Parasols—the Essential Accessory for a Lady

On a windy summer’s day in 1875, Claude Monet painted his wife Camille with their son Jean out for a stroll in Argenteuil, a suburb of Paris.

Splashes of color and Monet’s use of light help capture a moment of spontaneity.

Woman with a Parasol - Madame Monet and Her Son by Claude Monet, 1875
Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son by Claude Monet, 1875

Holding her parasol tightly against the wind, Camille is set against an azure sky with wispy white clouds, looking down at Monet from a rise in the meadow.

Camille was modeling for a theme that Victorians loved—”Lady With a Parasol”.

Victorian poet Emily Dickinson likened a lady opening a parasol to a butterfly spreading its wings in the warmth of the sun.

Painted Lady butterfly. Credit SD Dirk, flickr
Painted Lady butterfly. Credit SD Dirk, flickr
From Cocoon forth a Butterfly
As Lady from her Door
Emerged—a Summer Afternoon—
… Her pretty Parasol be seen
Contracting in a Field
—Emily Dickinson.
Young Woman with a Parasol by Winslow Homer, 1880
Young Woman with a Parasol by Winslow Homer, 1880

We most often associate the beautiful image of a lady with a parasol with the Victorian and Edwardian Eras. But as far back as the 5th century BC, the Ancient Greeks thought parasols were an indispensable accessory for a lady of fashion.

Morning Walk by John Singer Sargent, 1888
Morning Walk by John Singer Sargent, 1888
Woman and Parasol by Albert Edelfelt, 1886
Woman and Parasol by Albert Edelfelt, 1886
A Walk by the River by Andre Brouillet (1857 - 1914)
A Walk by the River by Andre Brouillet (1857 – 1914)
The White Parasol by Robert Lewis Reid, 1907
The White Parasol by Robert Lewis Reid, 1907
Summer by Colin Campbell Cooper, 1918
Summer by Colin Campbell Cooper, 1918

The Ancient Chinese attached collapsible parasols to their ceremonial carriages and the Ancient Egyptians used a fan of palm-leaves on a long handle, similar to those now carried ceremoniously in papal processions.

Terracotta Army. Exhibition. Credit Tomasz Sienicki
Terracotta Army. Exhibition. Credit Tomasz Sienicki

Roman maid-servants saw it as a post of honour to carry a parasol over their mistresses.

According to Ancient Indian legend, in around the 4th century BC, a skilled bowman named Jamadagni practiced shooting arrows and his wife Renuka helped recover them so that he could continue practicing and become the best bowman in all India. Jamadagni fired one arrow so far that it took Renuka a whole day to find it, the heat of the sun exhausting her. In anger, Jamadagni fired an arrow at the sun. Begging for mercy, the sun gave Renuka the gift of a beautiful parasol.

Nature has been providing us with parasols since the dawn of mankind. Tree canopies absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays, providing natural shade.

Woman Sitting with a Parasol by Aristide Maillol, 1895
Woman Sitting with a Parasol by Aristide Maillol, 1895

Parasol Pines are native to Southern Europe and the Middle East, their shape resembling a parasol.

View of Cannes with Parasol Pines by William Stanley Haseltine, 1869
View of Cannes with Parasol Pines by William Stanley Haseltine, 1869

Parasols came in many shapes, sizes, designs, and colors—most were personal hand-held devices, others were larger for sharing.

Woman with Parasol by Frederick Carl Frieseke, c. 1912
Woman with Parasol by Frederick Carl Frieseke, c. 1912
The Green Parasol by Guy Orlando Rose, c. 1909
The Green Parasol by Guy Orlando Rose, c. 1909
Lady with a Parasol by Hamilton Hamilton
Lady with a Parasol by Hamilton Hamilton
The Garden Parasol by Frederick Carl Frieseke, c. 1910
The Garden Parasol by Frederick Carl Frieseke, c. 1910

Whatever shape or size, they are beautiful objects that are still admired today. Let’s take a closer look at some from the Victorian era.

1850s. American. Silk, metal, wood, ivory
1850s. American. Silk, metal, wood, ivory

The above parasol is typical of the 1850s, with its tiered canopy echoing the shape of the skirt. The fabric was woven à la disposition—specifically for the shape of the parasol.

1860s. American. Silk, ivory, metal
1860s. American. Silk, ivory, metal

The “marquise parasol” above was originally designed for Madame de Pompadour—the chief mistress of King Louis XV at Versailles. With its tilting top that could be angled for flirtatious effect and its embossed floral motif lining the edge, it was the perfect accessory for the art of coquetry.

1868. French. Silk, icory, metal
1868. French. Silk, icory, metal

Made for the wife of a prominent Civil War general from New York, the parasol above features an exquisitely carved ivory handle depicting the idealized Greek female form and the shell-like curves typical of Rococo.

1905. American. Cotton, wood. metal
1905. American. Cotton, wood. metal

Parasols were often matched to the attire of the wearer. This Edwardian-era example was made of eyelet fabric—popular for a number of summer garments.

Often seen at the races, this type of parasol not only showcased the latest fashion but also displayed the wealth and social status of the owner.

At the Races by Louis Anquetin, c. 1895
At the Races by Louis Anquetin, c. 1895

Parasol covers could be patterned with complex forms—usually floral with curvilinear scrolling. The chain link motif shown below was unusual for covers, being found more often on handle designs in the last quarter of the 19th century.

1880s. French. Silk
1880s. French. Silk

The Belgian appliqué net lace shown below would have been used on a very expensive parasol. Attaching the separately-made covers was the last stage of the manufacturing process.

c. 1885. Belgian Net Lace Parasol
c. 1885. Belgian Net Lace Parasol

The marbleized handle tip of the beautiful French-made parasol below has intricate metal and enamel accents. Luxury parasols had fine quality finishes on the inside. Each rib and stretcher has been individually covered with fabric. The shank is as beautifully made as the handle, with a high-quality polished wood finish.

1895. French. Silk, sood, metal, marble, enamel
1895. French. Silk, sood, metal, marble, enamel

To Victorians and Edwardians, parasols were very special accessories that not only performed an important function but were also an expression of personal taste, wealth, and social class.

Loving Flower Care by Victor Gabriel Gilbert, 1933
Loving Flower Care by Victor Gabriel Gilbert, 1933
A Solitary Ramble by Julian Ashton, 1888
A Solitary Ramble by Julian Ashton, 1888
The green parasol by Emanuel Phillips Fox, 1912
The green parasol by Emanuel Phillips Fox, 1912
Group with Parasols by John Singer Sargent, 1905
Group with Parasols by John Singer Sargent, 1905
Woman with Parasol by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi, 1883
Woman with Parasol by Ivan Nikolaevich Kramskoi, 1883
Lady with a Parasol by Tom Roberts, c. 1893
Lady with a Parasol by Tom Roberts, c. 1893
An Elegant Lady with a Parasol by Jules-Alexandre Grun, 1905
An Elegant Lady with a Parasol by Jules-Alexandre Grun, 1905
Woman with a parasol by Édouard Manet, 1881
Woman with a parasol by Édouard Manet, 1881

The Art of Café Society

Café society was the name given to the “Beautiful People” and “Bright Young Things” who gathered in fashionable cafes in New York, Paris, and London beginning in the 1890s.

But the history of cafes goes back much farther.

During the middle ages, coffeehouses spread across the Ottoman Empire, starting in what is now Saudi Arabia, then opening in Syria, Egypt, and Istanbul.

Describing the Persian coffeehouse scene in the 17th-century, French traveler Jean Chardin wrote:

People engage in conversation, for it is there that news is communicated and where those interested in politics criticize the government in all freedom and without being fearful since the government does not heed what the people say.

Chardin noted that games like chess and checkers were played, along with poets and preachers telling stories in verse or as moral lessons.

Trade with the Ottoman Empire brought coffeehouses to Europe via the Republic of Venice in around 1629, with the first coffeehouse in England opening in Oxford in 1652.

Grand Café, Oxford. Credit Kake, flickr
Grand Café, Oxford. Credit Kake, flickr

Here, at what is now the Grand Café in Oxford, 17th-century luminaries gathered to discuss a whole range of ideas based on reason—what we now refer to as the Enlightenment.

Whether you visit alone to think and contemplate, or to join friends and chat about life, work, and the ways of the world, the next time you settle in at Starbucks or Costa Coffee or a host of other modern cafés, take a moment to pause and reflect on what these places actually represent.

They are where our modern ideas of liberty, progress, tolerance, and fraternity were born.

El Cafe by Jose Jimenez y Aranda
El Cafe by Jose Jimenez y Aranda
Garden Cafe on the River Elbe by Max Liebermann - circa 1922
Garden Cafe on the River Elbe by Max Liebermann – circa 1922
In Café Bauer by Lesser Ury, 1895
In Café Bauer by Lesser Ury, 1895
Terrace Scene-Musée Lorrain by Léon Voirin (1833-1887)
Terrace Scene-Musée Lorrain by Léon Voirin (1833-1887)
In Front of the Cafe by Lesser Ury - circa 1920-1929
In Front of the Cafe by Lesser Ury – circa 1920-1929
Cafe de la Paix, Paris by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin
Cafe de la Paix, Paris by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin
In the Cafe by Pyotr Nilus - 1901
In the Cafe by Pyotr Nilus – 1901
Cafe de Paris by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida - 1885
Cafe de Paris by Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida – 1885
Cafe along a River by Luigi Loir
Cafe along a River by Luigi Loir
La Guinguette, an outdoor cafe in Montmartre by Vincent van Gogh, 1886
La Guinguette, an outdoor cafe in Montmartre by Vincent van Gogh, 1886
Outdoor Cafe on Staufenplatz by Heinrich Hermanns
Outdoor Cafe on Staufenplatz by Heinrich Hermanns
Paris. Cafe de la Paix by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin - 1906
Paris. Cafe de la Paix by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin – 1906
The terrace of the café of the glacier, place Stanislas in Nancy by Léon Joseph Voirin (1833-1887)
The terrace of the café of the glacier, place Stanislas in Nancy by Léon Joseph Voirin (1833-1887)
The Cafe on the terrace at St Ile de Yeu by Henri Lebasque - circa 1919
The Cafe on the terrace at St Ile de Yeu by Henri Lebasque – circa 1919
Woman in a Cafe by Edgar Degas - circa 1877
Woman in a Cafe by Edgar Degas – circa 1877
Women on a Cafe Terrace in the Evening by Edgar Degas - 1877
Women on a Cafe Terrace in the Evening by Edgar Degas – 1877
At the Cafe by Felix Vallotton - 1909
At the Cafe by Felix Vallotton – 1909
Cafe Maxim, Paris by Jean-Louis Forain
Cafe Maxim, Paris by Jean-Louis Forain
Night Cafe by Axel Torneman - circa 1905-1906
Night Cafe by Axel Torneman – circa 1905-1906
El Cafe de Montmartre by Santiago Rusiñol Prats - 1890
El Cafe de Montmartre by Santiago Rusiñol Prats – 1890
Conversation at the Cafe by Giovanni Boldini - 1877-1878
Conversation at the Cafe by Giovanni Boldini – 1877-1878
At the Cafe by Frederick Childe Hassam - 1887-1889
At the Cafe by Frederick Childe Hassam – 1887-1889
Hailing a Cab outside the Cafe Americain by Jean-Georges Béraud - circa 1890
Hailing a Cab outside the Cafe Americain by Jean-Georges Béraud – circa 1890
The Boulevards, Evening in Front of the Cafe Napolitain by Jean-Georges Béraud
The Boulevards, Evening in Front of the Cafe Napolitain by Jean-Georges Béraud
Street Corner on Karl Johan, Grand Cafe by Edvard Munch - 1883
Street Corner on Karl Johan, Grand Cafe by Edvard Munch – 1883
Young Woman in a Cafe by Jean-François Raffaëlli
Young Woman in a Cafe by Jean-François Raffaëlli
A Parisian Cafe by Ilia Efimovich Repin - 1875
A Parisian Cafe by Ilia Efimovich Repin – 1875
At the Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir - 1877
At the Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir – 1877
Cafe en la terraza by Julio Vila Prades
Cafe en la terraza by Julio Vila Prades
The Terrace Cafe, Mar del Plata, Argentina by Eugenio Alvarez Dumont - 1912
The Terrace Cafe, Mar del Plata, Argentina by Eugenio Alvarez Dumont – 1912
Parisian Cafe by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin
Parisian Cafe by Constantin Alexeevich Korovin
Paris Cafe by Alfred Henry Maurer - circa 1904
Paris Cafe by Alfred Henry Maurer – circa 1904
Cafe-Concert by Édouard Manet - 1878
Cafe-Concert by Édouard Manet – 1878
Moulin de la Galette by Isaac Israëls, 1906
Moulin de la Galette by Isaac Israëls, 1906
The Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir - circa 1874-1877
The Cafe by Pierre Auguste Renoir – circa 1874-1877
At the Cafe by Jean-Louis Forain - circa 1879
At the Cafe by Jean-Louis Forain – circa 1879
Cafe sur la Port by Henri Lebasque
Cafe sur la Port by Henri Lebasque
In a Cafe by Gustave Caillebotte - 1880
In a Cafe by Gustave Caillebotte – 1880
Cafe de la Paix by Richard Edward Miller - circa 1905
Cafe de la Paix by Richard Edward Miller – circa 1905
A Parisian Cafe by Edouaro Leon Garrido - 1886
A Parisian Cafe by Edouaro Leon Garrido – 1886
In the cafe by Gotthardt Kuehl, 1915
In the cafe by Gotthardt Kuehl, 1915
An Elegant Lady in Black in a Cafe by Pompeo Mariani
An Elegant Lady in Black in a Cafe by Pompeo Mariani
Cafe in Venice by Manuel Domínguez Sánchez
Cafe in Venice by Manuel Domínguez Sánchez
Cafe De Paris by Richard Edward Miller
Cafe De Paris by Richard Edward Miller
The Cafe Terrace on the Place de Forum, Arles, At Night by Vincent van Gogh - 1888
The Cafe Terrace on the Place de Forum, Arles, At Night by Vincent van Gogh – 1888
In the Cafe by Isaac Israels - circa 1905
In the Cafe by Isaac Israels – circa 1905
Terrasse De Cafe by Delphin Enjolras
Terrasse De Cafe by Delphin Enjolras
Night Cafe by Sergei Arsenevich Vinogradov - 1901
Night Cafe by Sergei Arsenevich Vinogradov – 1901
Cafe by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin - 1907
Cafe by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin – 1907
The Cafe Royal, London by Sir William Orpen, R.A., R.H.A. - 1912
The Cafe Royal, London by Sir William Orpen, R.A., R.H.A. – 1912
Cafe de Paris by Jean-Georges Béraud - circa 1900
Cafe de Paris by Jean-Georges Béraud – circa 1900
At the Cafe by Robert Koehler - circa 1887
At the Cafe by Robert Koehler – circa 1887
The Night Cafe by Luigi Loir
The Night Cafe by Luigi Loir
In A Paris Cafe by Boris Grigoriev, 1914
In A Paris Cafe by Boris Grigoriev, 1914
Café Bauer by Leo Lesser Ury, 1889
Café Bauer by Leo Lesser Ury, 1889
Cafe by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1907
Cafe by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, 1907

30 Beautiful Paintings of Village Life Around Norwegian Fjords by Hans Dahl

Hans Dahl (1849 – 1937) was famous for painting breathtaking Norwegian landscapes with sheer-sided fjords and sweeping valleys.

Within those settings, he painted pretty young women going about their everyday work in the surrounding fields—gathering leaves and grasses to feed cattle and sheep, fishing, making hay, or picking wildflowers to sell at market.

Born in the village of Granvin on Hardangerfjord, the second longest fjord in Norway, Dahl showed early promise as an artist.

After military service, he apprenticed with landscape painter Johan Fredrik Eckersberg and studied under romanticist painter Hans Gude.

But it was Dahl’s training at the Düsseldorf school of painting that would characterize his work—finely detailed, yet dreamlike, idealized landscapes.

What better music to accompany Hans Dahl’s work than that of a fellow Norwegian—the composer Edvard Grieg.

Summerday by Balestrand by Hans Dahl
Summerday by Balestrand by Hans Dahl
Summer Day on the Fjord by Hans Dahl
Summer Day on the Fjord by Hans Dahl
A young girl in a fjord landscape by Hans Dahl
A young girl in a fjord landscape by Hans Dahl
A Young Woman in the Meadow by Hans Dahl, 1894
A Young Woman in the Meadow by Hans Dahl, 1894
The Young Harvester by Hans Dahl
The Young Harvester by Hans Dahl
Awaiting his return by Hans Dahl
Awaiting his return by Hans Dahl
A summer day in the mountains by Hans Dahl
A summer day in the mountains by Hans Dahl
Milkmaid with goats by Hans Dahl
Milkmaid with goats by Hans Dahl
Last Rays of the Sun by Hans Dahl
Last Rays of the Sun by Hans Dahl
Happy Thoughts by Hans Dahl
Happy Thoughts by Hans Dahl
Girl with Sickle by Hans Dahl
Girl with Sickle by Hans Dahl
Harvesters by the Banks of a Fjord by Hans Dahl
Harvesters by the Banks of a Fjord by Hans Dahl
Girl in a Fjord Landscape by Hans Dahl
Girl in a Fjord Landscape by Hans Dahl
Girl Carrying Leaves by Hans Dahl
Girl Carrying Leaves by Hans Dahl
Admiring the View by Hans Dahl
Admiring the View by Hans Dahl
Girl before a Fjord by Hans Dahl
Girl before a Fjord by Hans Dahl
Fresh Breeze, Norway by Hans Dahl, 1900
Fresh Breeze, Norway by Hans Dahl, 1900
Flirtation by Hans Dahl
Flirtation by Hans Dahl
The Fjord by Hans Dahl
The Fjord by Hans Dahl
Girl Beside a Fjord by Hans Dahl, 1910
Figures in a Rowing Boat on a Fjord by Hans Dahl, 1917
Figures in a Rowing Boat on a Fjord by Hans Dahl, 1917
Crossing the Ford by Hans Dahl
Crossing the Ford by Hans Dahl
By the Water's Edge by Hans Dahl, 1880
By the Water’s Edge by Hans Dahl, 1880
By the Fjord by Hans Dahl
By the Fjord by Hans Dahl
By the Fjord by Hans Dahl
By the Fjord by Hans Dahl
Girl by a mountain lake by Hans Dahl
Girl by a mountain lake by Hans Dahl
An Alpine Landscapewith a Shepherdess and Goats by Hans Dahl
An Alpine Landscapewith a Shepherdess and Goats by Hans Dahl
Summer Day by Hans Dahl
Summer Day by Hans Dahl
Rest of Haymakers by Hans Dahl
Rest of Haymakers by Hans Dahl
Sognefjord by Hans Dahl
Sognefjord by Hans Dahl

16 Albert Lynch Paintings from the Belle Époque

Born in Trujillo, Peru, in 1851, Albert Lynch moved to Paris to study at one of the most prestigious and influential art schools of the 19th century—l’École des Beaux-Arts.

Working under the guidance of Jules Achille Noël, Gabriel Ferrier and Henri Lehmann, Lynch reached a standard that was good enough to show at the Paris Salon in 1890 and 1892, and also the Exposition Universelle of 1900, where he was awarded a gold medal.

Preferring pastel, gouache and watercolor, Lynch painted society women “in the spirit of the Belle Époque”. He also illustrated some high profile novels of the period including Camille by Alexandre Dumas, fils (the son of Alexandre Dumas of The Count of Monte Cristo fame), Le Père Goriot by Honoré de Balzac and La Parisienne by Henry Becque.

Gathering Flowers by Albert Lynch
Gathering Flowers by Albert Lynch
Head of a Girl by Albert Lynch
Head of a Girl by Albert Lynch
Tea Time by Albert Lynch
Tea Time by Albert Lynch
Portrait Of An Elegant Lady by Albert Lynch
Portrait Of An Elegant Lady by Albert Lynch
Embarking on a Voyage by Albert Lynch
Embarking on a Voyage by Albert Lynch
In the Garden by Albert Lynch
In the Garden by Albert Lynch
Suivez moi by Albert Lynch
Suivez moi by Albert Lynch
Portrait of a Young Woman by Albert Lynch
Portrait of a Young Woman by Albert Lynch
Portrait Of A Lady In Blue by Albert Lynch
Portrait Of A Lady In Blue by Albert Lynch
The Print Connoisseurs by Albert Lynch
The Print Connoisseurs by Albert Lynch
A Young Beauty with Flowers in her Hair by Albert Lynch
A Young Beauty with Flowers in her Hair by Albert Lynch
Young woman with hat by Albert Lynch
Young woman with hat by Albert Lynch
A Lady With a Fan by Albert Lynch
A Lady With a Fan by Albert Lynch
The New Partition by Albert Lynch
The New Partition by Albert Lynch
Fresh From the Garden by Albert Lynch
Fresh From the Garden by Albert Lynch
The Letter by Albert Lynch
The Letter by Albert Lynch
Other paintings of society women from Albert Lynch
Other paintings of society women from Albert Lynch

20 Handmade Dolls Tell the History of Fashion

This is the story of how a series of exquisite handmade dolls, representing the history of French haute couture made their way to the United States as an expression of gratitude.

The year was 1948 and France was still suffering from the effects of World War II. Housed in boxcars and dubbed the “Friendship Train”, American aide organizations had sent large-scale relief the year before.

Read more …

Now it was France who wished to show its gratitude for America’s generosity by creating the “Gratitude Train”—a set of 49 box cars filled with French-made gifts, like handmade toys and priceless works of art.

The French fashion houses banded together to create something very special.

They tasked their most talented designers with creating a set of fashion dolls that would show the evolution of French fashion.

Measuring 24 inches tall with bodies made from open wire, the designers used human hair to fashion the hairstyles.

Using period paintings, literature, and fashion plates as references, each designer chose a year between 1715 and 1906.

Representing their creative interpretations, the designers used the same level of care and attention to detail as they did for full size work.

It was a unique moment in the history of French couture.

“1715 Doll”. Marcel Rochas (French, 1902–1955)

"1715 Doll". Marcel Rochas (French, 1902–1955)
“1715 Doll”. Marcel Rochas (French, 1902–1955)

“1733 Doll”. Jean Bader (French)

"1733 Doll". Jean Bader (French)
“1733 Doll”. Jean Bader (French)

“1755 Doll”. A. Reichert (French)

"1755 Doll". A. Reichert (French)
“1755 Doll”. A. Reichert (French)

“1774 Doll”. Jean Dessès (French (born Egypt), Alexandria 1904–1970 Athens)

"1774 Doll". Jean Dessès (French (born Egypt), Alexandria 1904–1970 Athens)
“1774 Doll”. Jean Dessès (French (born Egypt), Alexandria 1904–1970 Athens)