I'm trying to shake dreams from my hair this morning-- getting up in time to get to work by 7:30 is for the birds! I'm only working Monday and Tuesday of this week, but ye gods, I'm about half a person at this too, too early hour of the morning. Once upon a time, I had to be in place, in my classroom, ready to greet the dawn at 6:30, but I must have been made of tougher stuff then. An 8:30 report time has made me lazy. At any rate, I hit the flea market not once but twice this weekend, and while I have some clothes to show you later in the week, take a gander at my biggest and best find, this 1880's mother-and-child-portrait in a crazy gold frame:
|Is the hauntedness rubbing off on me by holding it? I hope not.|
I was walking through the main sheds on Saturday when I was drawn to a purple belted coat with a large fur collar, hanging against a chainlink fence, which I'm still kind of kicking myself about passing up. By the time I'd raised a convincing interior monologue outlining exactly why I didn't need another coat, how I was being good about conserving closet space, etc, etc, I caught a glimpse of this portrait out of the corner of my eye, and sallied forth to peep the price tag as an act of sheer consolation. Antique store setting, this thing would be aroooound $125. Good estate sale setting, maybe $50. The price tag on this picture at the flea market? $25. And she took twenty for it! The combination of eerie subject and bargain basement price was too good to pass up. I spent the next twenty minutes hauling this thing under my arm through another three or four booths, like a young painter with his portfolio, before the howling weekend winds finally sent me home.
|That eerie little hand!|
The mother is wearing a top knot and a high collared blouse and jacket, the elfin blond child an enormous collar-ruff. From the styling, I'm guessing this picture is from the late 1800's, maybe 1880-1890? What wigs me out about either is how the picture is a drawing based-on-a-photograph. I spent a good chunk of this morning, bleary-eyed though I may be, trying to figure out what this type of portrait is called. The closest I was able to get was possibly "chalk portrait" or "pastel portrait" as a search term to give me the kinds of things I was looking for. We talked about hand tinted photographs on Friday...these are along the same lines. In this medium, photographs are enhanced with either chalk or pastel to give the picture that strange, almost three dimensional effect of portraiture versus flat photography. And you thought it was just the ghosts making the eyes travel with you as you look at the subjects!
I've been working on a "creepy kooky" gallery wall for my office, which so far includes the following pictures:
You may recognize
- Smiley the skeleton marionette, from this post.
- The curly-hair baby portrait, from this post.
- The creepy carved mask from this post.
- The Hemingway marlin catcher photograph, from this post.
- The flapper mourning photo, from this post.
- And a black fifties' hat and 1900's kitten lithograph from no post, I can't document everything I ever buy, apparently, though it is my wish!
WHAT BETTER TO ADD TO THE WALL THAN THIS CHALK PORTRAIT? I couldn't have selected more felicitous find if I'd dreamed it up myself. I think it will hang to the right of these other pieces, though I still need to get some picture wire to replace the broken twine on the back of the current frame. I'll have to take a less blurry, more comprehensive photo of the office when I get done with this wall. Here's hoping it looks more "magician's toyshop" and less "TGIFriday's" in its completion.
So! Do you have any particularly creepy decor in your house? Any hundred-plus-year old relative paintings that do follow you around the room with their 1880's eyes? What did you find at the flea market this weekend? If you went to the one in Nashville, was it not fuh-ree-zing both Saturday and especially Sunday? I'll show you the clothes I got from the Antiques shed as soon as I get a moment to photograph them. Gotta get some coffee brewing, then it's time to get to work! Have a great Monday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow. Til then!