Creative > Photography & Graphics

Pictures of Playmobil Past

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As mentioned in one of my earlier posts, the relative from whom I inherited this large Victorian mansion was quite the collector—though "hoarder" might be a more apt term. There seems to be no end to the pictures & paintings, art & antiques—not to mention knicknacks and bric-a-brac—and I have been so busy searching through the cluttered collection, that I often entirely miss gems that are hidden right in front of my face.

A good example is the painting hanging above the fireplace in the sitting room. I had never paid much attention to the painting until today, when I was dusting the fireplace mantel and noticed the signature in the corner of the painting: "La Lande." It was then that I realized that this was a painting by none other than the famed 19th century artist Henri Louis La Lande! La Lande gained prominence in the 1860s with his highly detailed portraits of European nobility. After doing some research, I have discovered that this painting is an 1886 piece entitled "A Musical Party," and features three prominent figures of late 19th-century London high society.

In the center at the harp is Lady Edwina Elliott; she is perhaps better known for her series of autobiographical books detailing her life in India, where her husband worked for the Viceroy. To the right playing the violoncello is Sir Henry Hastings, a long-standing Member of Parliament and a favorite of Queen Victoria. To the left at the pianoforte is Madame Denise Deschamps, a French émigré with a mysterious past who was rumored to be a spy.

There seems to be a solo portrait by La Lande of Lady Edwina painted at the same time, which now hangs at the National Portrait Gallery:

In the corner of the sitting room is a much smaller painting which I had seen several times before, but it was only today that I realized that the woman in the painting is none other than Pauline! There is no other information on the painting—no date, no signature, no title—that would help shed light on the identity of Pauline, but this must surely date to around the same period as the Stitzl portrait, or slightly before.

Rather late to the post, but MY GOODNESS these are fantastic! What a delightful treasure trove you've discovered! ;) I would adore to have some copies in my own humble mansion simply because of how lovely they are. Looking forward to more of your findings!  :love:

( P)Nerd Alert! P)) And as for the dead people in portraits, the proper term is Memento Mori I believe.

My dear Playmofriends, I do apologize for my long absence and hope all has been well!  :wave: Business had taken me out of the country, quite far away from my Victorian mansion and its trove of time-worn treasures. You must not imagine, however, that my discoveries have ceased. Some weeks ago, I discovered two paintings in the upstairs drawing room, hidden behind a cabinet that had been haphazardly moved in front of them. Both were unrecognizable, being covered in layers of soot and smoke, likely from being long hung above an old fireplace.

Before I left, I gave these two paintings to a restoration specialist who was able to perform a wonderful cleaning on both of them, and I was quite delighted to come back to these two Regency-era beauties:

The portraits were painted at the same time—around 1811—and the sitters are sisters, the daughters Sir Thomas Hedgeford, Third Earl of Gumbury. The first is the eldest daughter, Lady Augusta, about nineteen or twenty years old at the time of the painting. The second is the younger daughter, Lady Georgiana, about seventeen or eighteen. Rumor has it that the sisters were the inspiration behind Elinor and Marianne Dashwood in Jane Austen's novel Sense & Sensibility.

This thread is wonderful, I love what you have done with the photographs and different styles of paintings, and the stories behind them all.

Very inspiring.

Thank you for the kind compliments, Raven!  :wave:

This morning, under the auspices of dusting, I spent a couple hours perusing some of the old volumes that have been quietly sitting on the bookshelves in the study. I became quite engrossed with a handsomely-bound copy of Goethe's Faust printed in 1878, where I discovered two wonderful illustrations.

The first is a fine etching of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe himself at the front of the book:

The second is an illustration of Faust himself, studying the sign of the Macrocosmos and preparing to summon the Earth-spirit.


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