Thursday, December 31, 2009

6 Captains

Crimean War: Captains Ralph Budd, John Dwyer, William Cosmo, Trevor Frederick Hammersley, John Barlow and Angus Hall of the 14th Regiment of Foot (Buckinghamshire) next to a caisson. Photo by Roger Fenton, Crimea, 1855. Note that in making the photographs an exposure time of 10 to 20 seconds was required. I wonder what the man with the white hat is doing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Königsberg => Kaliningrad

The photo at the top shows the pre-war situation (doubleclick for enlargement). The photo below shows the post-war situation. Only the church remained. NB this church has been restored nowadays.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Alphonse Mucha - Zodiac

‘Zodiac’ by Alfons Mucha (1896). It is one of his most successful paintings. It was originally produced as a calendar for Champenois and later selected by the editor of La Plume as the design for his magazine. The signs of the Zodiac fill the circular background and encircle the central figure.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Winter in Amersfoort - part III

Near the City Walls.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Winter in Amersfoort - part II

Winter in Amersfoort: 'De Kortegracht' (The 'Short Canal').

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter in Amersfoort

Huize Tinnenburg (mid 15th century)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sandro Botticelli: Simonetta Vespucci

Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph by Sandro Botticelli
Simonetta Vespucci (Städel Museum, Frankfurt) 

'Idealized Portrait of a Lady' or 'Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph' by Sandro Botticelli (ca. 1445-1510). Circa 1480,  82 x 54 cm. It's one of the largest 15th century female portraits. She is wearing a hairstyle that can typically be seen on nymphs. The pearls in her hair and braids can also be linked to the nymphs.

Simonetta was born Simonetta Cattaneo in 1453 or 1454. At age fifteen or sixteen she married Marco Vespucci, a distant relative of the famous explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci. She became a prominent member of the Medici circle. She was considered to be the greatest beauty in Florence. At a jousting tournament in 1475 she was nominated 'regina della bellezza', queen of the beauty, by Giuliano de Medici. She died in 1476, probably from TB. She was buried in the parish church of the Vespuccio; the Church of Ognissanti in Florence. When Botticelli died in 1510 he was buried near her in the same church.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A beautiful and sympathetic heroine

From the review of ‘Hearts Courageous’, a dramatization of Hallie Rives novel produced at the Broadway Theatre, New York, October 1903, with Miss Maude Fealy as Anner Tillotson:

Miss Maude Fealy made a beautiful and sympathetic heroine, and in the staircase scene did some very pretty comedy

- The Theatre Magazine (US), October, 1903 -

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Piet Mondriaan

An example of Piet Mondrians famous style of painting. He was born in Amersfoort in 1872.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Königsberg: The New Market Place

Shown her is the New Market Place (Der Neue Markt). Or, at least it is in the pre-war photo. There you can also see the tower of the castle in the distance. After the war the castle was blown up and replaced by the "House of the Soviets" which you can see in the colour photo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Alphonse Mucha - Sarah Bernhardt

His big break came with the theatre posters he designed for Sara Bernhardt, one of the greatest actresses of this time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The wall surrounding Smolensk. It’s one of the oldest Russian cities. The city was destroyed several times since it was in the invasion routes of both Napoleon and Hitler.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

L'entente Cordiale

L'entente cordiale - Roger Fenton. English and French soldiers having a drink together in the lines before Sebastopol during the Crimean War. 1855. On the subject of this photograph, the critic Ernest Lacan wrote: “We have often heard about the entente cordiale […] it is the "Open Sesame!" of the future; but no-one can better put the idea of it into practice than soldiers from different nations fighting side by side in the Middle East for the same cause”.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gaspare Vanvitelli - View of St Peter's and the Vatican

View of St Peter's and the Vatican Seen from Prati Di Castello by Gaspare Vanvitelli.

Gaspare Vanvitelli, also known as Casper van Wittel, was born in Amersfoort in 1653. Nowadays he is known to have been a famous painter of landscapes in Italy, though nearly anybody knows him in his homeland. He is one of the principal painters of topographical views known as vedute. His son Luigi would become a famous architect and also carries the italianized family name of Vanvitelli

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Celebrity of the stage

Memphis-born Maude Fealy was a American actress who during the early twentieth century was one of the leading ladies of the American stage. Her gorgeous face and long dark hair made her a popular subject of the postcard and cabinet card collectors, thereby generating an impressive photographic legacy. She performed in historical dramas and spectacles, but her forte proved to be comedy.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I noticed these plants while walking throught the old city of Amersfoort. They are huge, 2 meters high or even higher.

They are called Hollyhock, derived from the name herbalist William Turner gave them in the 16th century: Holyoke. In Latin: Alcea rosea. In Dutch: Stokroos.

I have bought seeds and started cultivating them, so next year my garden will be filled with hollyhocks.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Matthias Withoos - A Botanical Garden

A Botanical Garden (Botanische Tuin) by the Dutch painter Matthias Withoos, born in Amersfoort in 1627.

A photo of such a plant:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cows in Leusden

 I saw these cows in Leusden, a village near Amersfoort.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thessaloniki City Walls

Part of the extensive Byzantine city walls of Thessaloniki (Greece, formerly the capital of Macedonia).

Notice they look the same, as can be expected, as the previously shown Istanbul city wall.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Armenia & The Republic of Pontus

(East) Armenia
Present day Armenia is in fact only a small part of what could have been Armenia. For a long time Armenia, one of the oldest European countries, was diveded between the Turks and the Russians. The Russian part gained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

West Armenia
The Turkish part was conquered by the Russians in WW1, promised independence by the US, and gained independence by the Treaty of Sèvres (1920). But after Ataturk conquered Western Armania this treaty was cancelled and the area remained Turkish.

Republic of Pontus
The northern part was initially granted to Armenia to provide them with an outlet to the sea. This Trabzon province was not one of the 6 Armenian provinces (vilayets) during the Ottoman period. Since a lot of Greeks lived over there, the creation of an autonomous Greek state called ‘Republic of Pontus’ was considered, most likely as part of a Ponto-Armenian Federation, before the Greeks lost their war with the Turks in 1922.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Maude Fealy

Her mother, Margaret Fealy, was a stage actress and head of an acting school in Denver for 25 years, once having Douglas Fairbanks as a pupil. From an early age, Maude would occasionally appear with her mother on stage. Maude was an aspiring actress and was coached by her mother. A young Douglas Fairbanks also spent time training with Margaret.

She played in numerous children’s roles until the age of ten, when she left theatre to attend the academy in Memphis. At this time, her mother opened an acting school, so that she could retire from the stage while Maude pursued her education.

She went on to work in some of the great theatres of the world, and eventually worked with Cecil B. DeMille in Hollywood. Considered one of the foremost actresses of her time, she came back to Denver in the later years.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Königsberg / Kaliningrad

Another look at the devastating Soviet city planning in Königsberg. The photo at the top shows the situation before WWII, the photo at the bottom shows the same location as it is today. For more info see the excellent website

Monday, October 5, 2009


Montreuil, sometimes called Montreuil-sur-Mer, is a small city in the north of France. Due to its strategic location it is surrounded by 17th century ramparts.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Alphonse Mucha - Moët & Chandon

Alfons Mucha: Moët & Chandon - White Star, 1899. Czech born Alfons Mucha lived in Paris while creating his famous works of art at the turn of the last century. He’s style was referred to as “Le Style Mucha” before it became known as Art Nouveau.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Amersfoort Around

Saturday, August 29th, one could walk, to celebrate its 750 birthday, along the municipal borders of Amersfoort. I choose to walk the part along the river Eem.

Monday, September 21, 2009


The city of Toledo is situated just south of Madrid. It was the capital of Spain until the Moors concurred Spain in the 8th century.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Constance Worth

Miss Constance Worth, a British beauty in the beginning of the 20th century

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Matthias Stom

Woman counting coins by candlelight, by Matthias Stom (or Matthias Stomer) (born in Amersfoort in 1600).

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Alphonse Mucha - Monaco, Monte-Carlo

1897. Mucha's painting often feature beautiful women in flowing neoclassical looking robes, surrounded by lush flowers which form haloes behind the women's head. In this painting Mucha went all out with a most opulent design. The shy maiden, kneeling, is completely encircled by the curving stalks of lilac and hydrangea, featuring some of the most intricate flower scenes ever painted by Mucha. It is probable that the design is meant to suggest the tracks and wheels that convey the public to Monte Carlo. The maiden is probably Spring herself, enraptured with the beauty of the seascape.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Калининград means Kaliningrad in Russian. As you can see the city centre has completely disappeared. Found at

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Officers of the 71st Highlanders

Officers of the 71st Highlanders playing with a dog, before conical tent with military camp in background. By Roger Fenton, 1855. 

"From then to the beginning of spring, the light and temperature were the best a photographer could ask for” he reported. As the season advanced, the light became stronger, the temperature hotter and the flies bothered the photographer who then started to take photographs of the military leaders in the early morning, as this was the only suitable time to work. “It is impossible to work after nine or ten o’clock because of the intense heat, which makes the corks on my bottles pop, and ruins all the pictures.” (

(source: Musee D'Orsay).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ávila de los Caballeros

The city walls of Ávila (Avila), a city in the centre of Spain. They are constructed from brown granite at the end of the 11th century AD. The wall encompasses 88 towers and 9 gates.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


At 9-9-9 (John's favorite number) all the Beatle music will be released again, remastered in better sound quality, and in both stereo ànd mono. Until now only some cd-EP’s and cd-singles contained mono versions of stereo songs.
They didn't really care about stereo in the 60s, so they mixed the music in mono (first the producer, and later John and Paul themselves) and let somebody else do the stereo mixes. For instance some parts of Sgt. Pepper sound completely different in mono, with vocals and sound effects you don’t hear in the stereo mix. The mono cd's will only be available in a limited box set, so I guess next month I'll be officially bankrupt...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Paulus Bor - The Magdalen

Magdalene, painted by Paulus Bor (Amersfoort, circa 1601 - Amersfoort, 1669) in 1630-1639. The model was his wife Aleijda van Crachtwijck. She is shown holding a bottle of oil to anoint Christ's feet. Notice the resemblance with Vermeers Girl with a Pearl Earring, painted 30 years later on.

In 1632 Paulus married Aleijda. Their combined assets in property and documents at the time of their marriage amounted to 10,000 guilders, which gives us some idea of the extent of their wealth. The couple had several children.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pola Negri - Paradise

The cover of the sheet music from the 1932 movie A woman commands featuring Pola Negri singing Paradise.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sixteenth plate Daguerreotype

The plate size of this daguerreotype is 1/16th: 1 3/8 x 1 5/8 inch (3.5 x 4 cm)!

This is the smallest plate available. It shows how incredible sharp and full of detail these photos can be. It dates back from around the 1850s. I have searched a long time for this plate size, and finally bought this one at Ebay for less then 30 dollars.

Notice the beautiful dress, jewelry, and the books on the table. 

Monday, August 10, 2009


This windmill is located near the A1 highway (between my hometown Amersfoort and my workplace Amsterdam) and a railway. It is called De Onrust (the unrest) because it shakes a lot when it is pumping the water.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Alphonse Mucha - La Primevere & La Plume

'La Primevere' ('The Primrose', left) and 'La Plume' ('The Feather', right) by Alfons Mucha, 1899. These symbolic figures, complete with Mucha's customary aureoles around their heads and diadems in their hair, comprise one of his best panel sets.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gloria Swanson

Gloria Swanson in a still from the 1919 film Don't Change Your Husband.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Visby Ringmur

Visby is a Swedish town on the island of Gotland (between Sweden and Estonia). It is encircled by a medieval city wall, 35 feet high and more than 2 miles long.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Casper van Wittel - A View of The Colosseum

Casper van Wittel, also known as Gaspare Vanvitelli, was born in Amersfoort in 1653. He married in Rome in 1697, and stayed most of his life in that city.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Officers and men of the 8th hussars

circa 1855: Officers and men of the 8th Hussars, the 'King's Royal Irish' during the Crimean War (1853 - 1856). Photograph by Roger Fenton.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pola Negri

Pola Negri (born Apolonia Chałupiec) was a Polish film actress who achieved notoriety as a femme fatale in silent films between 1910s and 1930s. She had affairs with actors as Charles Chaplin and Rudolph Valentino. She was one of the most popular Hollywood actresses of the era, and certainly the richest woman of the movie industry. (Photo date: 1923).

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Count Schimmelpenninck

The mayor of Amersfoort, count Schimmelpenninck, giving a speech in honor of the crowning of the new Queen in 1898 (at the central town square, the Pig Market).

Click for a high resolution showing all kinds of details.
Look at the dresses of the women, and the people hanging out of the windows. Also notice the sable of the count!

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Кёнигсберг means Königsberg in Russian. First the pre-war situation, then the present site, showing the "House of the Soviets", built on the former site of Königsberg Castle. It has been described as the "ugliest building on Russian soil".

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Libbie Custer

Elizabeth 'Libbie' Custer, the wife of the famous general, in 1860/1865. She was a talented writer who wrote many articles and books praising the 'glory' of her husband...


Gadgets By Spice Up Your Blog Real Time Web Analytics