Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Henrietta, Lady Jenkinson by Philippe Mercier, 1742, the Temple Newsam House
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Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich Plume Hat by Joseph Clover, date not given (ca late 1810’s?), Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery
Summer by John Atkinson Grimshaw, 1875, private collection
It feels like summer (or spring, I guess) here in Charlotte…It was 73 today but it was in the 20’s on Friday so people are feeling lousy due to the dramatic change in the weather.
Portrait of a Young Woman by Lorenzo di Credi, 1490’s Florence, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
This damaged but evocative portrait has been identified as the widow of Credi’s brother, who was a goldsmith. This would explain why she is dressed in black and holds a ring. The juniper bush (ginepro) behind her could refer to her name, Ginevra di Giovanni di Niccolò. The picture was inspired by Leonardo’s portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci in the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
Bust of Archduchess Margaret of Austria (1480-1530) as a Widow by anonymous, after 1506 the Netherlands, Kunst Historisches Museum Wien
This seems to be a much more flattering version of a portrait in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium by Bernard van Orley. If the van Orley image is the original, then the Vienna one probably dates from at least 1518, when van Orley became Margaret of Austria’s official painter. She could be mourning for her father, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, who died in 1519.
Throwing Off Her Weeds by Richard Redgrave, 1846 UK, the Victoria & Albert Museum
A young widow is impatient to discard her black mourning clothes (known as widow’s weeds) because she has plans to marry again. The seamstress is showing her a lilac-coloured dress, a colour considered appropriate for a woman in the last phase of mourning. At this time, the mourning period for a husband was expected to be at least two years.
Originally the picture included a figure of a soldier, the widow’s new suitor, entering through the doorway. Critics thought this was vulgar, and Redgrave painted the figure out, but he kept a number of other visual clues to suggest that the woman is soon to be married again: there is a bridal bonnet in the hat-box in the foreground, and a sprig of orange blossom (a flower which was usually worn or carried at weddings) on the dressing table.
Portrait of Mlle Fabre, Later Baroness de la Houze by Louis Carrogis Carmontelle, 1760’s-70’s France, Winterthur Museum