Thursday, September 30, 2010

Paulus Bor - 12 Year old Jesus in the Temple

The 12 year old Jesus in the Temple, by Paulus Bor (Amersfoort, ± 1601 - Amersfoort, 1669). Painted between between 1630-1635. Location: the Central Museum in Utrecht (Netherlands).

His father, also named Paulus Bor, was a wealthy textile merchant. Coming from a wealthy family he probably did not need to paint for an income. This might explain his preference for subjects rarely painted by other artists.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Napoleon II François / Franz

Cradle especially made for the son of Napoleon by the city of Paris
(Imperial Treasury Vienna) (photo by RfA)

Napoleon’s first marriage didn’t produce an heir. When his Polish mistress became pregnant he decided to divorce and remarry. Only the Russian and the Austrian imperial families were considered suitable to marry the French emperor. He tried to marry the young sister of the Tsar, Anna Paulowna, but this proposal was refused.

Image of Napoleon II on a glass (Wien Museum)

He then succeeded in marrying Marie Louise, daughter of the Austrian emperor. In 1811 their son Napoleon François Bonaparte was born. In 1814, when Napoleon was exiled, Marie Louise and her son fled to Vienna. In 1816 Marie Louise went to live in Parma, leaving her son (renamed Franz) in the hands of his grandfather in Vienna.

He grew up lonely at the Schönbrunn palace, one of his few friends was a crested lark. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 21 in 1832 (obituary). He is laid to rest near his father in Paris.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Cultural center Königsberg

The city of Königsberg was a German cultural center, being the residence of, among others, composer Richard Wagner, philosopher Immanuel Kant, author E. T. A. Hoffmann and mathematician David Hilbert.

After heavy bombardments the city changed hands and became a Soviet style Russian city called Kaliningrad. The photos above show the situation before (top) and after (bottom) World War II, notice that only the church is visible in both pictures.

For more comparative photos click on the label Königsberg ‹-› Kaliningrad.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

never crowned heir to the thrown: prince Albert Victor

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864-1892) was the eldest son of Albert the future king Edward VI, and the grandson of the reigning monarch, queen Victoria. Since Victoria's reign ended in 1901 he never was the official crown price. Albert Victor was known to his family as 'Eddy'. He fell ill with influenza in the great influenza pandemic of 1889–92. He developed pneumonia and died on 14 January 1892, less than a week after his 28th birthday.

On December 3rd, 1891 Albert Victor proposed to Mary of Teck. The wedding was set for February 27th, 1892. After his death she became engaged to Albert Victor's brother, the new heir, the future king George V. In 1893 they married and she became queen in 1911.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Operation Tannenbaum

One of the proposed plans of attack (source:

This weekend I went just across the border to visit relatives in Germany. House prices are much lower over there, and the government is less patronizing.

Speaking of Germany, this map shows one of the plans for Operation Tannenbaum (Operation Christmas Tree). This was the planned invasion of the neutral state of Switzerland by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Germany started planning the invasion of Switzerland on 25 June 1940, the day France surrendered. After this, Switzerland and Liechtenstein were completely surrounded by the Axis Powers. Hitler never gave the go-ahead, for reasons that are still uncertain today. After D-Day, the operation was put on hold and Switzerland remained neutral for the duration of the war.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Charge of the Heavy Brigade

Captain Bernard, 5th Dragoon Guards (Roger Fenton, 1855)

In 1854, the 4th, 5th and the 6th Dragoon Guards rode together in the charge of the Heavy Brigade at Balaclava, Crimea. In this action, eight hundred men utterly routed nearly three thousand five hundred of the Tsar's finest Cavalry, with minimal loss to themselves, and so demoralised the Russian horseman that they did not dare to follow up the subsequent disaster to the Light Brigade later that same day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Alfred Stevens - Lady at a Window Feeding Birds

Alfred Stevens: Lady at a Window Feeding Birds, ca 1859 (Private collection)

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Montagnana is a town in Northern Italy. It is famous for its walls, one of the best preserved medieval walls in Europe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Gene Tierney - 'The Return Of Frank James' (1940)

In Tierney’s first part on Broadway, she carried a bucket of water across the stage in What a Life! (1938). A Variety magazine critic declared, "Miss Tierney is certainly the most beautiful water carrier I’ve ever seen!" She was the toast of Broadway before her 20th birthday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Historical Atlas of Central Europe

Eastern Europe 1910 (left) and 2000 (right) (Paul Robert Magocsi)

Cover of the book by Paul Robert Magocsi: 'Historical Atlas of Central Europe, From The Early Fifth Century to The Present' (Thames & Hudson,  2002 revised edition). For lovers of historical maps absolutely astonishing, since all the maps are on the same scale, so they can be compared very easily with each other.

For instance click on the picture for enlargement. At the left side the situation in 1910, at the right side the situation in 2000. It shows among others the collapse of the Austria-Hungary, German, Russian and Ottoman empires.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Crown Prince Willem Day !

Crown Prince William (The Hague, 4 September 1840 – Paris, 11 June 1879)

Crown Prince William (kroonprins Willem) Prince of Orange, heir to the throne of The Netherlands from 1849 until his death in 1879. He fell in love with a Countess named Mathilde. His father refused to accept her, leading him into a life of drinking and gambling in Paris, where he died at age 38.

more photos

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Louis Napoleon Day !

Today is the birthday of Louis (Lodewijk) Napoleon, King of Holland, brother of Emperor Napoleon. 

Louis died on July 25, 1846, and his remains were buried at Saint-Leu-la-Forêt, Île-de-France.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Maude Fealy in Moths (1913)

Maude Fealy in the 1913 movie 'Moths'.

During the First World War Maude Fealy made a number of silent films.


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