Saturday, December 29, 2012

Santa endorsing Arms & Automobiles

The Metropolitan Magazine, December 1903.

As far as I know I am not related to this branch of the Stevens family. The combination of Santa with a rifle trying to sell a car and handing out puzzles is a bit bizarre. And what do you think of his endorsement of arms "for the youth of the land". I wouldn't mind owning a Stevens-Duryea though. 

And welcome Suzy, follower #50 of this eclectic blog (I always wanted to use that word). 

next episode: happy...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Adoration of the Magi (1634)

Paulus Bor - Aanbidding van de drie koningen (1634)
Adoration of the Magi (1634, Museum Flehite)

Adoration of the Magi (Dutch: Aanbidding van de drie koningen) by Paulus Bor (Amersfoort, ca. 1601 - Amersfoort, 10 August 1669).

Merry Christmas !

next episode: ?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cobina Wright

Cobina Wright (1921–2011) was born in New York City. Her mother, also named Cobina Wright, was an opera singer and actress notorious for her social ambition. Her hopes were pinned on her beautiful young daughter, whom she frantically set about grooming for a film career and a spectacular marriage. When her husband complained about what he saw as the “prostitution” of their daughter, his wife promptly divorced him.

By 1938 Cobina Jr was modeling and singing in nightclubs. That summer, on vacation with her mother, she met Prince Philip of Greece (the future husband of Queen Elisabeth). She later recalled that, on seeing the handsome young prince, her mother had “shoved” her into his arms. They both were 17 years old and good looking, and they dated for several weeks in Venice and London. It is said that after her return to the US Philip wrote her several love letters, but she was not interested anymore because she did not want to marry someone chosen for her by her pushy mother.

In 1939 Bob Hope used her as the basis for a spoilt character called Cobina on his radio programme. Her mother filed a suit against him that was settled out of court to everyone's satisfaction, especially to Cobina, who was awarded a permanent spot on the show.

In 1941, by then residing in Beverly Hills, Cobina appeared in a number of films, and she featured on the cover of Life magazine. She married a member of a wealthy automobile family from Pontiac, Michigan. He could not stand Cobina’s mother, and after a series of rows retired his wife from the screen in 1943.

Her husband died in 1968. She spend the last part of her life promoting anti-alcohol programs.

sources: and the daily mirror.

next episode: merry ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

blog tip: Hyperlink in Comment

Sometimes you want to include a clickable URL to some fancy website in your comment. How do you do this?

Option 1: learn the code
Most comments allow the use of simple HTML statements. Therefore just type

<a href="URL">DESCRIPTION</a>

URL: the exact URL of the site you are linking to
DESCRIPTION: the name of the link, you can put here anything you want

Option 2: use your test blog
If you are too lazy to remember the code (like me) you can simply use your test blog. Go to this blog and make a new post. Include the link (using the Link button). Click on HTML and copy the code. Go back to the comment and paste the code. Voila.

next episode: Cobina

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gerrit Dou - Self-portraits

Left: ca. 1657, Residenzgalerie Austria. Right: ca. 1660-65, Louvre Paris.

At the age of 15 Gerrit Dou (aka Gérard Dou) (1613-1675) became Rembrandt's first pupil. Later in life he specialized in small pictures.

next episode: hyperlink

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Elizabeth 'Libbie' Clift Bacon Custer

George and Libbie Custer in their home at Fort Lincoln, Dakota Territory, ca. 1874-1876 (Beinecke Rare Book Manuscript Library, Yale University).

A comment made by Noelani on a 2009 post of Libbie Custer triggered me to find some more photo's of Elizabeth Clift Bacon Custer (1842-1933), wife of George 'Last Stand at Litte Big Horn' Custer. The photo at the top shows the couple in their home at Fort Abraham Lincoln. The portrait on the wall on the left is of George Custer in his Civil War uniform; the one on the right is of his friend and benefactor General Sheridan.

Elizabeth Clift Bacon Custer
Libbie Custer (Februari 1864, Library of Congress).

Elizabeth Clift Bacon Custer
Libbie Custer (January 1865, National Archives.).

next episode: Gerrit Dou

Monday, December 10, 2012

Crimean War: Warships

 Roger Fenton, 1855

British warships in the harbor (Roger Fenton, 1855).

next episode: hatay

Friday, December 7, 2012

After the Breaking of the World

Jesse Van Dijk - After the Breaking of the World (2011)

Dutchmen Jesse Van Dijk lives in Seatle and works for large movie and game studios. His specialism are digital landscapes. Although he considers himself to be a craftsman, his work has articisic values as well.

In this digitally created work the landscape has undergone a recent catastrophic split. Two cities strive to literally overcome this traumatic event. The artist has deliberately chosen to leave the symbolic bridge unfinished.

His work evinces research into historical architecture, technological developments and the geological processes through which landscapes unfold. "I always look for something that could theoretically exist in reality. From my experience, the more you keep achievable possibilities in mind, the more creatively expressive the work becomes. My work allows suspension of disbelief by refusing to engage in the merely nonsensical. If reality is discarded outright, it's all too easy to default to the stylistically obvious. You find yourself going for the visual archetypes, and cliche is just around the corner. I don't want to create cliches."


next episode: a harbor

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Miss Marie Leonhard

Marie Leonhard, actress, ca. 1900s (?).

next episode: gameart

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Waterloo Veteran of the Month: Monsieur Schmit

Monsieur Schmit of the 2nd Mounted Chasseur Regiment (1813-14) wearing a floppy cap in May 1858. 

Some other portraits of Grognards (veterans) of the Grande Armée.

next episode: Marie Leonhard

Thursday, November 29, 2012

blog tip: Test Blog

It can be be very handy to have a separate test blog available. When you want to use something new in your side bar, a widget, or a picture, or some code in your template, or a new design, or another font,  you can try it out in your test blog before applying it in your main blog.

To do this you can start a new blog, give it a name, and make sure it won't show up in your profile:

Go to your profile page (by clicking on your avatar)
Click on Edit Profile
Click on Select blogs to display
Make sure your test blog is not marked

To avoid the blog showing up in Google search results go to the dashboard of your test blog and go to Settings. Here you can edit the privacy settings.

next episode: Monsieur Schmit

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Pola Negri Painting

Portrait of the famous actress Pola Negri by Tadeusz Styka, ca. 1922 (National Museum, Warsaw).

Polish painter Tadeusz (Tade) Styka (1889-1954) was known for his portraits honoring celebrities of the first half of the twentieth century. He also painted genre scenes, religious and symbolic nudes and animals (especially lions). For his work he received the French Medal of the Legion de Honour. He died in New York City, and is buried next to his father Jan Styka at Forest Lawn cemetery in Los Angeles.

Portrait of Pola Negri by Eugene Robert Richee.

Eugene Robert Richee (1896-1972) was a studio photographer for Paramount from 1925 to 1935. Later he worked for MGM and Warner Bros.

next episode: ?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Waldseemüller’s Map Gores

Waldseemüller’s world map globe gore (1507) showing an ocean between Asia and America.

Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 World Map is the first map to use the name ‘America’. One copy has survived, it is on display at the Library of Congress. He also published a set of globe gores: printed maps designed to be cut out and pasted onto spheres to form globes.

Based on account by Columbus and Vespucci the German cartographer Waldseemüller may have reached the conclusion that the newly discovered lands had to form a distinct continent instead of the eastern coast of Asia. So in 1507 he draw an ocean between the new continent and Asia, the first actual accounts by explores to set eyes on this ocean date from 1512-1513.

When neatly cut and pasted it forms a globe of about 4.5 inches in diameter.

The gores, also containing the inscription America, are believed to have been printed in 1507. Five copies of the gores are still existing; a.o. the The James Ford Bell Library in Minnesota and the University and State Library of Munich posses a gore.

next episode: double Pola

Thursday, November 22, 2012


"GAZA (arab. Ghazza), city in Syria, on the road leading to Egypt, between the Mediterranean and the desert, about 4 km (2.5 miles) from the sea. Population about 15 000. Important entrepôt for caravan traffic between Egypt and Syria.

Gaza has few remains of antiquity. The only building worthy of interest is a mosque, formerly a Catholic church, which is assumed to have been built by the Empress Helena. The old city of Gaza, which is thought to have been closer to the sea, is known in the Bible as the northernmost of the five confederate cities of the Philistines. It was given to the tribe of Judah, which took it and then lost it.

Having become a possession of Persia, it was taken by Alexander the Great after a stubborn siege (332 BC.). Constantine made it a cathedral town under the name of Constantia. The Arabs took it in 634, two years after the death of Muhammad. The Crusaders seized it in 1100; Saladin took it from them. In 1799, it was taken by the French commanded by Kléber."

Extract from the Trousset encyclopedia, 1886 – 1891.


next episode: gores

Monday, November 19, 2012

Gene Tierney Day !

Gene Tierney

Actress Gene Tierney (1920–1991) was born in Brooklyn, NY on November 19, 1920. Her best known role is the enigmatic murder victim in Laura (1944).

During her first film she discovered that her voice was too high and it was suggested that she take up smoking to lower her voice. It worked, but she eventually died of emphysema.

Birth name: Gene Eliza Tierney
Children: Antoinette Daria (1943-2010) and Christina "Tina" (1948-)
Autobiography: "Self Portrait" (1979)
Husbands: fashion designer Oleg Cassini (1941), oil baron W. Howard Lee (1958)
Burial location: Glenwood Cemetery, Houston

next episode: Gaza

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dutch-American Heritage Day

New Amsterdam, Manhattan ca. 1658. By Len Tantillo (born 1947), an artist in the tradition of the Dutch masters of the 17th century who reinvents places in the common history of New York.

Today is Dutch-American Heritage Day to commemorate the ‘First Salut’ of November 16, 1776, when Commander Johannes de Graaff of St. Eustatius decided to return the salute fire of the visiting American brig Andrew Doria by firing the cannons of Fort Oranje, the first international acknowledgment of the independence of the United States.

The island of St. Eustatius sold arms and ammunition to anyone willing to pay, it was one of the few places from which the rebellious British Thirteen Colonies of North America could obtain weaponry.

The British took this seriously; in 1778 The Viscount Stormont claimed in British Parliament that "if St. Eustatius had sunk into the sea three years before, the United Kingdom would already have dealt with George Washington".

next episode: Gene's birthday

Monday, November 12, 2012

Caspar van Wittel - Dockyard at Naples

Panoramic view of the dockyard at Naples

View of the dockyard at Naples, by Caspar (Jasper, Gasper, Gaspar, Gaspare) van Wittel (Vanvitelli)  (Amersfoort (1652/3 - Rome 1736). Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, ca. 1700-1718).

The royal palace is visible on the left, and the Castel Nuovo on the right. They are joined by the still existing arches, over which the Certosa di San Martino monastry looms in the distance.

Approximately the same location today.

next episode: a camp

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Female Napoleons

Miss Zena Dare

Yesterday Lisa from There's Gladness in Remembrance showed a female Napoleon, making me wonder: what happened?

It's actually the actress Zena Dare, playing ... Peter Pan. In early theatrical productions of the play, after Peter conquers Captain Hook, the actors form a tableaux in imitation of Napoleon on Board the Bellerophon, a painting by Sir William Orchardson.

 Poster by John Hassall.
Peter Pan at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1904. Poster by John Hassall.

This painting shows Napoleon on board HMS Bellerophon on his way to St Helena (July 1815). The emperor stands on the deck, watching the French Coastline receding from view, contemplating his fate.

Napoleon on Board the Bellerophon, by Sir William Orchardson (1880). 165 x 249 cm,  Tate Collection.

Here is another Pan Pan:

Pauline Chase as Peter Pan, 1907.

next episode: Naples

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Maude Fealy

Maude says: Vote with your Heart, Vote with your Mind !

next episode: ?

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Kilkenny Castle (old postcard)

At the Sepia Saturday site a place named Kilkenny was mentioned. I don't know much about Ireland, let alone Kilkenny, but to my surprise this rather small city (population: 24400) has many interesting landmarks. For instance, following the Norman invasion Kilkenny Castle was build in 1209-1213.

St. Canice's Cathedral (photo: Andreas F. Borchert) 

In Irish the city is named Cill Chainnigh, meaning 'church of Cainnech'. Saint Cainnech of Aghaboe (aka Kenny) was one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland. He also gave is name to the impressive 13th century cathedral, located next to a peculiar chimney 9th century round tower. They even got a city wall, so I am quite impressed!

Panorama of Kilkenny, 2006 (Wikipedia)

next episode: our endorsement

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Waterloo Veteran of the Month: Monsieur Loria

Monsieur Loria of the 24th Mounted Chasseur Regiment (light cavalry) and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Unfortunately he has lost his right eye. From the The Anne S. K. Brown Military Collection

next episode: Maude

Sunday, October 28, 2012

US presidential election 1888: Groover Cleveland

While we're waiting for the 2012 presidential election let's take a look at some of the previous races to the White House. This month's also-ran is incumbent president Groover Cleveland. The year is 1888.

The Democrat Grover Cleveland defeated the Republican Benjamin Harrison in popular votes (48.6% against 47.8%) but he lost in electoral votes 168-233.

Harrison victory parade, 1888.

facts of interest:
  • the first time an incumbent Democratic president had been renominated since Dutch speaking Martin Van Buren in 1840.
  • Only in 3 other elections the winner in popular votes did not become the president: Andrew Jackson in 1824, Samuel J. Tilden in 1876, and Al Gore in 2000.
  • If in New York, Cleveland's home state, 7187 voters (from the 1.319.748) would have voted for Cleveland instead of Harrison the latter would have lost the election (source).
  • When the former First Lady Frances Cleveland left the White House, she assured the staff that they would return in four years, which they did.

next episode: Monsieur Loria

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Army tent encampments at Guard's Hill. In the background the landing place Balaklava Harbor, filled with ships. At the top of the hill the ruins of the old Genoese Castle. Roger Fenton, 1855.

This day October 25th 1854 the Battle of Balaclava took place.

Present day Balaclava

next episode: victorie parade

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Gloria Swanson

next episode: Balaclava

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Queen Louise of Prussia

Louise, Queen of Prussia, 1802 (by Josef Grassi)

Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1776 – 1810) was Queen consort of Prussia as the wife of King Frederick William III. The couple's happy, though short-lived, marriage produced nine children, including the future King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and German Emperor Wilhelm I.

In 1805 she took the initiative of contacting the Tsar of Russia and the Emperor of Austria to sign a treaty with Prussia to form an alliance against Napoleon. In 1807, after disastrous losses, she met Napoleon at Tilsit to plead for favorable terms. Napoleon callously called her "the only real man in Prussia".

Louise, Queen of Prussia, 1801 (by Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun)

Her early death at the age of thirty-four "preserved her youth in the memory of posterity", and caused Napoleon to reportedly remark that "the King has lost his best minister". Her (graceful) death mask can be seen here.

next episode: Gloria

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Alaska over a century before the official discovery

Left a map of Alaska over a century before the official discovery. From the Wytfliet atlas of 1597. Right the same area on a modern map (source)

According to Wikipedia, in 1732 the first Europeans explored Alaska. But the Wytfliet atlas of 1597 already provides a accurate deacription of Alaska.

In the north it has the large mouth of the Mackenzie river, first reached by Alexander Mackenzie 1789. The Brooks Mountain chain is called "Bergi Regio" what sounds like the Dutch "Bergige Regio" (mountainous region). The large river below looks like the Yukon.

The origin of the cartographic data about Alaska and parts of Canada is a mystery.

It is usually assumed that the first European boat to reach Alaska was the Russian St. Gabriel on August 21, 1732. In 1741 Vitus Bering led an expedition for the Russian Navy. After his crew returned to Russia with sea otter pelts judged to be the finest fur in the world, small associations of fur traders began to sail from the shores of Siberia towards the Aleutian islands.

The first permanent European settlement was founded in 1784. Between 1774 and 1800 Spain sent several expeditions to Alaska in order to assert its claim over the Pacific Northwest. These expeditions gave names to places such as Valdez, Bucareli Sound, and Cordova.

next episode: Queen of Prussia

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Cornelius van Wytfliet

Cornelius van Wytfliet (1555-1597) was a cartographer from Brabant (a part of The Netherlands). In 1597 he published the atlas 'Descriptionis Ptolemaicae Augmentum', the first atlas devoted exclusively to the New World. It contains nineteen regional maps of North and South America.  Here is one of those maps:

Cornelius van Wytfliet: 'Norumbega et Virginia', 1607. 
This map was the most accurate map of the east coast until 1630.

It shows the east coast of North America from the North Carolina Outer Banks to Canada. It was created at a period just before a number of English and Dutch voyages explored and settled the coast.

No Long Island or Hudson River are shown. Because of the already notoriously dangerous Carolina Outer Banks and the rocky waters around New England and Cape Cod ships kept well away from these waters.

First Issue of the First Edition Of the First Atlas of the Americas

next episode: Alaska

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Night Stalker (Manambulus Perhorridus)

Night Stalker (Manambulus Perhorridus) (by Dougal Dixon, 1981).

In his excellent book 'After Man - A Zoology of the Future' (1981) the Scottish geologist Dougal Dixon describes how evolution can progress after mankind has disappeared. About 50 million years from now all the large predators and most of the large herbivores died out and the more resilient species expanded into new ecological niches.

On the islands of Indonesia a flightless predator bat has evolved.  He still uses his hind limbs for grasping, but his wings have evolved as legs. Being blind, he uses echolocation to find its prey, therefore his ears and nose flaps have been strongly developed at the expense of his eyes. He is 1.5 meter high ands wanders in groups through the the forests at night. Screaming and yelling they hunt mammals and reptiles, which they attack with their pointy teeth and claws.

next episode: Virginia

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cows near Amersfoort

A bunch of cows. In the background the skyline of a new part of the northern outskirts of Amersfoort.

next episode: night stalker

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Carte De Visite

Civil War era Carte De Visite. Woman in a hoop dress.
Made by 'The Great New York Photograph and Ferrotype Rooms, 508 Arch Street Philada'.

next episode: Amersfoort cows

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Jane Wyman

Jane Wyman (1917-2007), actress & first wife of Ronald Reagan (when he still was a democrat). Photo by George Hurrell.

Jane Wyman's acceptance speech when receiving the Oscar for her role as a deaf-mute in Johnny Belinda (1948) went something like this: "I gratefully accept this award for keeping my mouth shut. I think I'll do it again."

Jane Wyman is to date the only ex-wife of an United States President (Ronald Reagan is the only US President to have been divorced).

next episode: CDV female

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Waterloo Veteran of the Month: Monsieur Ducel

The Mamluk de la Garde is Monsieur Ducel who took part in battles between 1813 and 1815. 

Napoleon used Mamluks in a number of his campaigns. Napoleon's famous bodyguard Roustan Raza was a Mamluk from Egypt.

next episode: Jane

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pingyao City Walls

Pingyao city walls

Pingyao (2002 population: 490.000) is located about 715 km from Beijing. It is the last fully walled city in China; it is still surrounded by its city walls which are among the best preserved walls in China. The 12 meter high and 6 km long walls date back to the 14th century.

Map of the ancient city of Pingyao (

next episode: a mamluk

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Miss Maude Fealy

next episode: Pingyao

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (part II)

Self-portrait in a Straw Hat by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, after 1782 (National Galery, London).

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) painted several famous portraits of Marie-Antoinette. In 1835 she wrote her memoirs.

next episode: Maude

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (part I)

Madame Vigée-Le Brun et sa fille, 1786 (Louvre Museum)

Self-portrait with her daughter Jeanne-Lucie (Julie) (1780-1819) by Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun.

Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755–1842) is considered to be the most famous female painter of the 18th century.

next episode: more of Mme Lebrun


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