"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Picture worth a thousand words.....

One of my little quirks is when I am in a castle or manor house, I am totally intrigued by the portrait paintings. I find some will actually capture me to the point of having to stand for sometime staring into the eyes of that person. I recall a portrait of a jonkheer in Castle Doorwerth that was so entrancing that I felt like his eyes were following me in the room.

So when we were on vacation in May in the German town of Quedlinburg, the one highlight was going to be visiting Castle Hill to go into the Quedlinburg Castle. It was a wonderful castle to visit and I was glad we took the steep walk up to the castle in the rain.

There was a number of portraits to capture my imagination many of which were of woman. Women played an enormous part of the history of the town. It was Saint Mathilde, widow of King Heinrich I, who founded the convent on Castle Hill. Her own female family members became the rulers of Quedlinburg as Abbesses.

I now wish I had taken along a notebook and noted the names of the ladies in the portraits. But as I entered this room, I was pulled to this wall with the portrait next to a beautifully crafted cabinet. And then I turned and saw this...

She is by far one of the homelier looking portraits in the castle yet she pulled me in and held me captive. The artist has the proportions wrong in her arms when you look at it well but I was captivated by the details of her dress. The chintz must have been of the most beautiful quality. The floral pattern is so pretty but the lace details of her cap, collar and sleeves made me wish I could touch her dress. Now perhaps that is the bobbin lacemaker in me, but I spent time studying this lace detail.

I took a photo close up hoping it would be sharp enough to see again at home. That lace which adorned this 18th century (?) gown now adorns my blog as my header photo.


onlymehere said...

That lace is exquisite! I think we're drawn to those crafts and arts that we ourselves do bz we know the love and care and time it took to do it. I can go to a quilt show and spend hours admiring the quilt, whether it be the colors used, the pattern, etc. Heidi, I learned very quickly that you have an eye for beauty and detail. I just love this and I learn so much from you. I probably never would have noticed her arms were out of proportion but I went back and looked at her and you're right! Oh the beautiful, wonderful places you see and enjoy by living in Holland so near them! Have a beautiful day!

DonnaTN said...

I often am drawn to portraits as well. I try to imagine what the person's life was like and wonder of he or more likely she was happy.

Marsha said...

and I Love it. It is just beautiful. it is amazing to me how painters paint and can achieve that detail. what a gift to be able to do that.

Saskia said...

Like your new lace background blog. And what kind of spooky places do you go too?? Eyes of painted portraits following you?? See you wednesday...

Sonja said...

What à beautiful lace and dresses. Maybe one day ever I might try such a dress. .. Oh, no I'd rather not, those dresses don't look comfy.

Nancy said...

I love the header, I didn't realize it was a dress. I too love that lady. The other one is much prettier but this one does pull you in. I would buy her picture over the pretty one.
It reminds me of pictures I once painted on wood.
Your bobbin lace is so beautiful, you would notice lace for sure.
Have a good evening.
Love you, Mom
PS: Hope Jos likes his special desert.

Simple Home said...

I've always been intrigued by the old portraits too. I still remember seeing a famous one called "Blue Boy" when I was a child. My parents pointed out to me the way the eyes would follow you in some old portraits, and that's something I look at now. Thanks for sharing.
Have a wonderful week.

Jenny said...

I love being able to visit all these far away (from California) places on your blog Heidi. It truely is amazing to see all the talent these painters had. I too love the lace on this lady's sleeve as well as her whole portrait. If only these paintings could talk, what interesting stories they would tell about their life and times. I for one would be captivated for hours. Have a great day.

Susan in SC said...

Beautiful portraits Heidi. I love to look at portraits of long ago people and imagine what their life was like. You should read "Girl With a Pearl Earring". I think you would like it very much.