Saturday, August 30, 2014

Auguste Toulmouche - Le Billet

Auguste Toulmouche - Le Billet (1883)

next episode: crown prince

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Gene Tierney on the Set

Gene Tierney on the set of 'Leave Her To Heaven' (1945)

next episode: card

Friday, August 22, 2014

Gertie Millar

On October 26, 1903, in the presence of  His Majesty King Edward VI and Queen Alexandra, the new Gaiety Theatre opened with the premiere of the musical comedy  The Orchid in which Gertie Millar starred as Lady Violet Anstruther, the principal pupil at a horticultural college. The show ran for 559 performances.

next episode: Waterloo

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Babylonian Marriage Market

'The Babylonian Marriage Market' by Edwin Long (1875, Picture Gallery of the Royal Holloway University, London)

According to the world's first historian, the Greek Herodotus (5th century BC):

In every village once a year all the girls of marriageable age used to be collected together in one place, while the men stood round them in a circle; an auctioneer then called each one in turn to stand up and offered her for sale, beginning with the best-looking and going on to the second best as soon as the first had been sold for a good price.


next episode: gertie

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske (September 16, 1924 – August 12, 2014).

Lauren Bacall (photo by Ralph Crane, 1945)

next episode: ? 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Granada - Alhambra

(photos by RfA, 2012)

next episode: Napoleon

Friday, August 8, 2014

Roger Fenton

Roger Fenton, 1852

Roger Fenton was a British photographer born on March 28, 1819, in Crimble Hall, Lancashire, England. Fenton trained as a painter in London and Paris before pursuing photography. He founded the Photographic Society in London and gained notoriety taking pictures of the British monarchy. In 1852, Fenton took what many believe were the first photographs of Russia and the Kremlin. Fenton was best known for his 1855 documentation of the ravages of the war in Crimea.

Fenton dressed as a Zouave (1855, see also here)

Despite summer high temperatures, breaking several ribs in a fall, suffering from cholera and also becoming depressed at the carnage he witnessed at Sebastopol, in all Fenton managed to make over 350 usable large format negatives. An exhibition of 312 prints was soon on show in London and at various places across the nation in the months that followed. Fenton also showed them to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and also to Emperor Napoleon III in Paris. Nevertheless, sales were not as good as expected.

Roger Fenton

Undaunted by the lack of commercial success for his Crimean photographs, Fenton remained driven with great energy to perfect his art and to record meaningful and artistic images. He travelled widely over Britain to record landscapes and still life images, but as time moved on, photography was becoming more accessible. Many, with sufficient knowledge and also the hunger to develop business, sought to profit from selling quick portraits to common people.

In 1862 the organizing committee for the International Exhibition in London announced its plans to place photography, not with the other fine arts as had been done in the exhibition five years earlier, but in the section reserved for machinery, tools and instruments - photography was considered a craft, for tradesmen. For Fenton and many of his colleagues, this was conclusive proof of photography's diminished status. In 1863 he sold his equipment and returned to the law as a barrister on the Northern Circuit.

Roger Fenton, by Hugh Welch Diamond, photogalvanograph, 1868 (National Portrait Gallery)

He died 8 August 1869 at his home in Potter's Bar, Hertfordshire after a week-long illness - he was only 50 yrs old. His wife died in 1886. Their graves were destroyed in 1969 when the Potter's Bar church where they were buried was deconsecrated and demolished (source: Wikipedia).

next episode: Granada

Monday, August 4, 2014

Tomb of Cecilia Metella

Tomb of Cecilia Metella (1st century BC), Via Appia, Rome, ca. 1857. Photo by James Anderson (1813-1877).
Collection of the Sack Photographic Trust, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

The tomb is located  about 5 km outside Rome. The mausoleum is a striking landmark for the traveler who comes to Rome from the south. The tomb was erected for Cecilia Metella, daughter of Quintus Caecilius Metellus Creticus (consul in 69 BC), and wife of Marcus Licinius Crassus (the son of the famous Crassus).

The sarcophagus of Cecilia Metella is now in the Palazzo Farnese. The round shape of the tomb is  inspired by the Etruscan burial mounds. In the Middle Ages the tomb was the main tower of a fortress that controlled the southern access road to Rome. The construction started in the 11th century, and in 1302 the battlements were added to the top of the tomb.

next episode: famous photographer


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