Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Lady Elizabeth Delmé and Her Children by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777-79, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Richard Sackville, 3rd Earl of Dorset, attributed to William Larkin, 1613 England, Kenwood House
I just really like his shoes and stockings.
Edward Sackville, later 4th Earl of Dorset, attributed to William Larkin, 1613 England, Kenwood House
William Larkin did brilliant texture work, especially on textiles, and his faces often had a near-photographic quality. One thing he wasn’t so good at, however, was coming up with unique poses. Many of his portraits are holding this exact pose. The differences (besides the faces) might be in embroidery, the color/style of the clothing or little background details. Sometimes the poses were flipped. You’ll notice that the next picture I’m posting is almost identical to this one.
Three Young Girls by a follower of William Larkin, ca 1620 England, Berger Collection
These three unidentified sisters are dressed in matching outfits, a sort of family uniform, albeit an expensive and fashionable one. They wear the new taste for low necklines and high waists. Their scarlet damask dresses are exquisitely decorated with yellow-toned accessories and feature yellow-lace décolletage edgings, standing collars, and ruffs, as well as yellow braiding, silk ribbons, and bow belts; the girls wear matching yellow-lace hair bands. Yellow lace was introduced in around 1610 and remained in fashion for about ten years, helping to date the picture. The color coordination extends to the jewelry: two of the girls wear red and yellow coral bracelets, and all three have red coral hunting-horn earrings. The horn is a heraldic motif, suggesting that the girls come from an important landowning family.
The sisters, with their fair skin and rosy cheeks, are a picture of beauty. Their gray-blue eyes are as jewellike as the diamonds of their gold three-drop pendants. Each girl’s hair—golden for the youngest, auburn for the middle, and tawny for the eldest—is brushed in the same style and contains an arrangement of fresh flowers representing symbols of spring, childhood, and fertility. The two youngest have marigolds set against a sea of blue hyacinths, with white antennaelike periwinkles; the eldest wears a red carnation and a white-feather plume.
It is hoped that further research will help to identify these three young girls and also reveal the significance of the various objects that they are holding. Traditionally in art, ripe fruit has represented male and female fecundity. Taken with the doll of a grown-up woman held by the youngest child and the ring worn by the middle girl, the grapes and the pears may be symbols of the sisters’ future roles as mothers and wives.
Mrs. Thomas Pechell (Charlotte Clavering, died 1841) by John Hoppner, 1799 England, the Met Museum
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Charlotte, second daughter of Lieutenant General Sir John Clavering, married Sir Thomas Brooke-Pechell (1753–1826) in 1785. An inscription on the portrait’s reverse records that it was painted in 1799. The pendant portrait of her husband is also in the Museum’s collection.
Mrs. Robert Shurlock (Henrietta Ann Jane Russell, 1775–1849) and Her Daughter Ann by John Russell, 1801 England, the Met Museum
This pastel shows the artist’s daughter and his granddaughter. Henrietta was the sixth of his twelve children, but the oldest to survive to maturity. She married Robert Shurlock in 1800, and the baby Ann was one of their fourteen children; a second pastel shows the sitter’s husband (67.131). The picture remained in the sitter’s family until 1967. Russell applies the medium in a variety of ways, contrasting smoothly blended areas with visible crayon lines, such as those that give the illusion of stiffness to the lace of the sitter’s costumes.