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I just adore this portrait of Elizabeth Farren! As soon as I enter the gallery where she is housed (in the European wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art), I swoon. I hardly notice any othe…

Source: The Portrait of Elizabeth Farren, Painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1789) | cliocult…Muse your brain!

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A R T L▼R K

On the 2nd of August 1788, English painter Thomas Gainsborough died in London at the age of 61. One of the most unusual artworks created by the artist, now on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, is his experimental showbox with his back-lit landscapes painted in oils on glass, which allowed them to be changed and viewed like slides. Made in the 1780s, the minuscule works can be seen in this specially constructed ‘showbox’,  a machine consisting of a number of moveable transparent planes, lit at the back, and through an adjustable magnifying lens. Originally, the painted glass transparency was set before a silk diffusing screen illuminated by three candles. The box opens at the top and back and even has special slots for storing the transparencies.

Visitors to the Victoria and Albert Museum today can experience something of the magic of Gainsborough’s show box, which is on view…

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Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

Portrait of Mary Robinson by Thomas Gainsborough, 1781 [Wikipedia]

“She overloads everything; but I never knew a human being with so full a mind – bad, good and indifferent, I grant you, but full and overflowing.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772 – 1834] on actress and writer Mary Robinson [1757-1800], both of whom were said to be an influence the other.


Another captivating post from my childhood friend, Pippa Rathborne, which tells me much that I didn’t know about Gainsborough’s family.

Originally posted on LAST POST.

The Painter’s Daughters Chasing a Butterfly, one of Gainsborough’s intimate studies of his daughters made in the late 1750s, which took 18th century sensibility forward into a Romantic awareness of individual development through the senses. Image © copyright The National Gallery London

He sees beyond the fragile innocence of two little girls, in the glancing light of a fashionably Rousseauian childhood idyll, to a more profound understanding. He is not just a portraitist exploiting vulnerability and shimmering fabric; he is their father who loves them. He dared to paint the anxiety showing in their faces as they move rapidly through the sinister half-darkness of a wood, that is both catalyst and externalization of their unconscious minds.

Happiness as represented by the decoratively winged insect is always out of their reach; they experience, as Keats described, “the feel of not to feel it”.

Love and madness disturb a summer’s day two hundred and fifty years after two little girls chased a butterfly.

I try to imagine again my first…

via Summer disturbed « LAST POST.

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