Archive for frans hals

Left holding the Keys

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, DESIGN, HISTORY, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA with tags , , , , on April 2, 2010 by echostains

medieval casket key

I love old keys.  We even found a massive one in the cellar of our house, and we’ve no idea what lock it was supposed to fit.  The previous owners said that the owners before them said it belonged to the house.  It must have belonged to a massive door which we can’t find….

Alice tries the Golden key

I was always intrigued by the key that Alice finds in Wonderland.  Keys are always symbolically linked with finding the way into other worlds or secret places.   When we lose our keys – we lose the keys to our worlds!  Dramatic? Of course!

the secret garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

When a key appears in a story, you just know it’s going to be a good tale.  I’m thinking of Alice in Wonderland, The Secret garden’ and ‘The Golden Key by the Brothers Grimm to name a few.

Keys have been around a long time.  Just look at this Roman key.  The Romans learnt how to cast from the Greeks but the Egyptians had locks too.  Keys are associated with locked towers (usually with maidens waiting to be rescued), treasure chests, rites of passage (key to the door when you are 21 years of age) and prison.

a chatelaine

In Medieval times the Chatelaine was a very important memeber of the household.  She was the lady of the house (castle) who held all the keys.  She wore her keys on what is known as a Chatelain – an ornamental appendage attached to the girdle of the woman.  the keys to the wine, the cellars, caskets, as well as handy household items like scissors, thimbles etc.  these were all attached by small individual chains to each items.

Edmund Blair Leighton 'The Keys'

Keys are  associated with freedom or captivity of course and have provided many TV programmes involving rescue and escape .  But they  also have been used in paintings too.  Edmund Blair Leighton  (b.London 1853 -22) an English painter of historical scenes painted ‘The Keys’.  I don’t know why there isn’t more information about this Victorian artist.  His subject matter and his style is most Pre Raphaelite.  He did a wealth of paintings – all very beautiful, see them all HERE


Wonderful and interesting Roman keys here

Roman locks here

Gorgeous treasure hunting keys here

information about chatelaines here

John Tenniel gallery here

The Secret Garden, read it here

The Fools day out – again

Posted in ART, ART HISTORY, HISTORY, HOME, LIVING IN THE PAST: NOSTALGIA, SCULPTURE with tags , , , , , , on April 1, 2010 by echostains


Jester statue from Stratford on Avon

It’s April Fools Day again as you will know when someone plays a ‘prank’ on you which you don’t find funny but have to laugh at otherwise you will be a bad sport……  I had a look at what I had written about this ‘hilarious’ day last year, and got a bit of a surprise –  ‘Fools rush in after 12PM and then feel a bit foolish’.  It includes a bit of Folklore, poetry and a dead fairy!

'Ship of Fools' by Bosch

Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch painted a whole ship of fools between 1490 – 1500.  The painting shows these people wasting their lives away in various trivial and worthless pursuits.  the painting is a fragment of a triptych and has the Allegory of intemperance at the bottom.

The Fool from the Rider Waite Tarot

The Fool as depicted in the Tarot cards, is always on a journey, carrying with him in his knapsack innocence and wisdom.  He heads out into the world or on a creative path with only his instincts – he is a free spirit.

Buffoon playing a Lute by Frans Hals

Frans Hals the Dutch painter (1580 -1666) painted his jovial Buffoon with lute in 1623 24 (also famous for his ‘Laughing Cavalier’ whose eyes follow the viewer and Hals’ painting of the Cavalier’s  intricate lace collar.  I like the way that Hals uses smears and splodges giving his surfaces a roughness.  Van Gogh himself was quite a fan.  He wrote to his brother Theo:-


‘What a joy it is to see a Frans Hals, how different it is from the paintings – so many of them – where everything is carefully smoothed out in the same manner.’

Having looked again at Hals again, I am inclined to agree with him.  What a great artist this man was. I think I really do need to do a piece about this old Master.


'April Fool' by Marilyn Manson

I was quite taken by this expressive painting.  It’s called ‘April Fool’ and is by American musician and artist Marilyn Manson.  Manson started his artistic career selling five-minute concept water colours to drug dealers.

Marilyn Manson April Fool here and info about him here

The ship of Fools Hieronymus Bosch information here

Interesting Hans Holbein alphabet Dances of Death here

Jester statue from here