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Pictures of Playmobil Past

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Hello everyone!  :wave:

I have finally gotten around to cleaning out the clutter in the attic of my Victorian mansion (5300) in anticipation of a few future renovations. Already I have come across several items of historical interest hidden amongst the bric-a-brac, and I felt that I should share them, both for purposes of historical documentation and because they may be of interest to members here. I have only just begun the process of cleaning out the house, and hope that there may be more discoveries in the future. But on to the past...

The first item of interest is a pair of Daguerreotype portraits that I found in a dresser drawer. After doing some research, I have discovered that the photographs were taken in 1848 of the opera singer Jane Morndry (née Darling) and her husband, the pianist/composer Jean-Luc Morndry. The couple had a famously tumultuous relationship, partly due to the fact that Jane was by far the more well-known and successful during their lifetimes; this was not helped by the fact that Jane only spoke English and Jean-Luc only spoke French. The couple separated in 1850, a few years after sitting for this pair of twin Daguerreotypes. Jean-Luc soon turned to gambling and alcohol, dying penniless of an opium overdose in 1852. Rumors swirled in the public imagination that Jane or her lover, the infamous Count von Stein, had something to do with Jean-Luc's untimely death, and Jane saw diminished success on the stage. She died of consumption in 1858.

The next item of interest is a painted portrait I found wrapped in a sheet and hidden at the back of a wardrobe in the corner of the attic. On the back of the painting is written: "Portrait of Pauline with a Parrot, 1901." I have not been able to identify the Pauline in the portrait (nor the parrot), but the painting is signed by Claude Playmonet. Playmonet appears to be a fairly-well known artist working largely in the impressionist style popular during the period. This portrait was painted toward the end of his life, and you can definitely see influences of the burgeoning Art Nouveau movement which he would help to shape.

I hope to keep everyone updated on any new discoveries!

Really interesting items you are unearthing :)
Thanks for sharing!

(please do introduce yourself)


--- Quote from: tahra on May 08, 2021, 17:54:16 ---(please do introduce yourself)

--- End quote --- the 'Welcome' topic.

Great  creations sorry finds Klicky_Ghost

Thanks, tahra and GrahamB!  :) I have taken the suggestion and given a "short" introduction in the appropriate sub!

It has been several months since I inherited this mysterious old mansion from a distant and heretofore unknown relative, Henry Funnymoney, and I am just now finding the time to slowly go through its contents. I had heard that the old gentleman was a collector of sorts, but I never imagined the variety of interesting items to be found hidden throughout the house. Just the other day, I moved a dressing screen sitting against the wall in one of the bedrooms, and uncovered this lovely oval-framed portrait:

I instantly recognized the woman in the portrait as none other than the famed actress and entertainer Molly Brown! This portrait must date from the time of her European tour in the early 1880s. For those who may not know, Brown got her start performing in the saloons and dance halls of Colorado Springs in the early 1870s. From there, she moved to San Francisco, where she made a name for herself with her risqué and bawdy burlesque performances. It was here that she was discovered by Buffalo Bill Cody, who made her a star of his Wild West show. Molly Brown enjoyed tremendous success throughout Europe and America in the 1880s and 1890s, before retiring to her large estate in East Hampton.

I thought I might also expand on my previous post by sharing a few images I came across while doing research on the photographs posted previously. I found out that there is a somewhat well-known portrait of Jean-Luc Morndry in the National Portrait Gallery in London. The portrait was painted in 1850, only a few years before Jean-Luc's death; I am guessing that after his passing the portrait came into the possession of his estranged wife, who was living in London at the time, and thence into the hands of the NPG.

In my previous post I mentioned the infamous Count von Stein, who was Jane Morndry's lover toward the end of her life. The Count was an infamous playboy in his day, famous for his dalliances with married women. He spent the 1840s and 50s hopping from capital to capital, hanging about all of Europe's most exclusive artistic circles. Von Stein caused a scandal in 1862 when one of his spurned lovers committed suicide after the Count had blackmailed her with evidence of her infidelity. Later in life, von Stein served as a long-standing member of parliament; he lived to the ripe old age of 88, outliving all 4 of his children. The first photograph is a Daguerreotype portrait of Count von Stein dating from the mid- to late 1840s, during the early years of his famous bon vivant lifestyle. The second photograph is much later, dating to around 1890; it depicts an older Count von Stein with a memorial portrait featuring his four children.

I'm loving these wonderful portraits of colourful characters from the past!


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