The Short Life and Long Afterlife of Penelope Boothby (1785–1791)

Penelope Boothby was the daughter (and only child) of Sir Brooke Boothby (1743–1824), seventh Baronet (sixth, says Wikipedia) and of his wife Susanna (1755–1822). For her biography and cultural afterlife, I follow mainly Rosemary Mitchell’s article in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Penelope was born at Lichfield, Staffordshire (UK) on 11 April 1785. Her education was probably influenced by the theories of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose works her father translated into English. In July 1788, her portrait was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. According to Rosemary Mitchell, “Allegedly a warm relationship developed between the artist and the sitter, who disappeared from her home one day and was found at Reynolds’s house.” Her oversized bonnet earned the painting the epithet of the “Mob-Cap”. I show the scan given in the article by Roy Flukinger in Cultural Compass:

Joshua Reynolds – Penelope Boothby (1788)

Joshua Reynolds – Penelope Boothby (1788)

Penelope died on 13 March 1791 (on the 19th, says Wikipedia) at Ashbourne Hall, the family estate in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, after an illness of about a month. She was buried on the 20th at St. Oswald’s Church in Ashbourne. Mitchell says: “according to local legend her coffin was carried by six little girls, accompanied by six little boys holding umbrellas over them to keep off the rain. Her parents’ grief was life-long and devastating, and appears to have resulted in the collapse of their marriage.

Boothby devoted several years to paying a posthumous tribute to his beloved daughter. He “commissioned the artist Henry Fuseli to memorialize his daughter in a painting entitled The Apotheosis of Penelope Boothby (1792).

Henry Fuseli -The Apotheosis of Penelope Boothby (1792)

Henry Fuseli – The Apotheosis of Penelope Boothby (1792)

Mitchell notes: “With its strong resemblance to an altarpiece, Fuseli’s work depicts a winged and elegantly clad angel sweeping down from heaven to receive an elongated Penelope, while a figure representing the daystar indicates the way upwards. On the ground, an urn and an oversized butterfly or moth serve to symbolize death, the fleeting character of human life, and the resurrection of the dead.

And that was not all: “A monument to Penelope was commissioned in 1793 from the prominent sculptor Thomas Banks. Made of Carrara marble, it depicted the little girl apparently sleeping, and carried inscriptions in English, Italian, Latin, and French, culled from the Bible, Catullus, Petrarch, and (unsurprisingly) Rousseau.” This monument lies in St. Oswald’s Church, Ashbourne.

Here is the photograph taken in 2009 by Pasquale Apone for Panoramio:

Thomas Banks - monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (1)

Thomas Banks – monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (1)

In the following photograph from Wikimedia Commons, one sees in the background the Memorial to John and Anne Bradbourne:

Thomas Banks - monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (2)

Thomas Banks – monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (2)

Here is a close-up 2006 photograph by user ‘JR P UGArdener’ on Flickr:

Thomas Banks - monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (3)

Thomas Banks – monument to Penelope Boothby (1793) (3)

Two old-fashioned argentic black & white photographs by F. H. Crossley are available on the website of the The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, see references B47/2057 and B47/3058.

In 1796, Brooke Boothby published a collection of sonnets expressing his grief: Sorrows. Sacred to the Memory of Penelope. According to Mitchell, some reviews were “measured but sympathetic”, but another stressed the “sameness and insipidity of sound” of the sonnets. Indeed, eight of these poems are reproduced on Sonnet Central, and I find them moving, but far from exceptional.

Sir Brooke Boothby lived in an extravagant way and finally became ruined. Ashbourne Hall was leased in 1814, then Boothby settled in Boulogne in 1815 and died there in 1824.

As says Mitchell: “Penelope Boothby’s cultural afterlife did not end with her father’s poetical tribute.” Several artists emulated Penelope’s portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds. I show two 19th century mezzotint prints downloaded from the National Portrait Gallery (references NPG D21649 and NPG D31993, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0):

James Scott, after Joshua Reynolds - Penelope Boothby (1850-1880)

James Scott, after Joshua Reynolds – Penelope Boothby (1850-1880)

Samuel Cousins, after Joshua Reynolds - Penelope Boothby (1874)

Samuel Cousins, after Joshua Reynolds – Penelope Boothby (1874)

Then “Reynolds’s portrait served as the inspiration for John Everett Millais’s Cherry Ripe (1879), which was a portrait of Edie Ramage, who had attended a fancy-dress ball in that year dressed as Penelope.” I show here the reproduction given in Pip’s article Cherry Ripe! Pt. 1:

John Everett Millais – Cherry Ripe (1879)

John Everett Millais – Cherry Ripe (1879)

Mitchell continues: “Three years earlier the photographer and writer Lewis Carroll had taken two pictures of his favourite model, Xie (Alexandria) Kitchin, dressed as Penelope Boothby—one in which she is sitting down and one with her standing against a minimalist background.” I reproduce these two photographs from the article by Roy Flukinger in Cultural Compass; as one sees, Xie wears the same mittens and “Mob-Cap” as Penelope in Reynolds’s painting:

Charles L. Dodgson - Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, seated (1875-1876)

Charles L. Dodgson – Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, seated (1875-1876)

Charles L. Dodgson - Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, standing (1875-1876)

Charles L. Dodgson – Xie Kitchin as Penelope Boothby, standing (1875-1876)

Rosemary Mitchell concludes:

“The parental and artistic response in the 1790s to Penelope Boothby’s untimely death reveals the impact of Romantic ideas on constructions of childhood as a period separate from adulthood, and blessed with innocence and openness to natural and spiritual truths. It also illustrates the effect of Romanticism on perceptions of death, as the memorials to Penelope reflect an increasingly individualized and partially secularized response to the experience of loss. The later Victorian appropriation of Reynolds’s image of the living Penelope reveals both the intensification of the cult of childhood in the nineteenth century and a nostalgia for the apparently simple and rural world of pre-industrial Georgian England.”


  • Rosemary Mitchell: ‘Boothby, Penelope (1785–1791)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, May 2010; online edition, Jan 2011. (The online version is available only to registered users or subscribing institutions.)
  • Roy Flukinger: ‘For his most famous child portrait, Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) drew inspiration from an eighteenth-century painting’, Cultural Compass, The Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin.

Update: a new transcription of three other sonnets from Boothby’s Sorrows.

Sulamith Wülfing: Allegories and Transformations

Another recurring theme throughout Sulamith Wülfing’s art is transformation.  Many of her figures are in the midst of change of some sort, often in a symbolic way.  Thus, her ‘young girls as budding flowers’ allegory applies here.  There is, at any rate, an element of the fantastic in most of her work.

Before I post the actual artwork, here is a photo of Wülfing as a young child, taken by (I believe) an uncle.  Certainly a relative of some sort.  I’m not going to label this one as it is already labeled with all the pertinent information: the photographer’s name is at the bottom right and the subject’s name and the date of the photo are at bottom left.

Sulamith Wülfing – Autumn Storm

Sulamith Wülfing – Blue Flower

Sulamith Wülfing – Circle Rounds

Sulamith Wülfing – Circle Rounds (detail)

Sulamith Wülfing – Easter Candles (1952)

Sulamith Wülfing – Everything Sleeps with the Little Flower

Here’s another of my favorite Wülfing pieces. I love the detailing on the boat’s prow and its reflection in the water. Simple a fantastic illustration!

Sulamith Wülfing – In the Boat (1941)

Sulamith Wülfing – Night is Like a Quiet Sea

Sulamith Wülfing – Night is Like a Quiet Sea (detail)

Butterflies and moths, being transformative creatures themselves, frequently make an appearance in her art.

Sulamith Wülfing – Nocturnal Butterflies

Sulamith Wülfing – The Circle (1938)

Sulamith Wülfing – The Circle (detail) (1938)

Sulamith Wülfing – Transformation

Sulamith Wülfing (title unknown) (1)

Sulamith Wülfing (title unknown) (2) (1932)

Wikipedia: Sulamith Wülfing

Sulamith Wülfing: Girls in Bloom

As a particularly apt metaphor for girls achieving womanhood, the blossoming flower has long been employed by artists and poets in this sense.  But Wülfing took the idea and ran with it, placing adolescent girls inside of flowers.  A couple of times she used the ‘flower bud as womb’ metaphor in the same way, showing translucent buds bearing glowing infants, but it is really the blooming adolescent girl that most fascinated her, and that is the focus of this post.

As we can see in this first image, even when the flowers weren’t birthing children or young ladies in her art, they were still often oversized, to accommodate the artist’s love for depicting sensuous details like intricate leaves and petals.  With the juxtaposition of flowers and girls, Wülfing was really in her element.

Sulamith Wülfing – Iris

Sulamith Wülfing – The Young Girl (1942)

Sulamith Wülfing – Development

Sulamith Wülfing – Development (detail)

Sulamith Wülfing – Sun Shined Over the Pasture (1932)

Sulamith Wülfing – Sun Shined Over the Pasture (detail) (1932)

Sulamith Wülfing – The Garden Child

Sulamith Wülfing – The Garden Child (detail)

Sulamith Wülfing – Flower (1931)

Sulamith Wülfing – Flower (detail) (1931)

Sulamith Wülfing (title unknown) (1) (1933)

Sulamith Wülfing (title unknown) (1) (detail) (1933)

Sulamith Wülfing (title unknown) (2)

Wikipedia: Sulamith Wülfing

Sulamith Wülfing: Angelic Presences

I have been sifting and sorting my Sulamith Wülfing folder and will be doing what is now looking to be a seven part series on her, the first of which was already posted. So, the second part deals with angels and angelic beings, which show up frequently in Wülfing’s art. Consequently, this post will be quite graphics heavy.

As I pointed out in the first post on her, she claimed to have seen angels and other mystical beings from a very early age. I suspect she may have been pulling the legs of many, many people, including her parents, who, being Theosophists, were no doubt pleased as punch to have a daughter who could see spirits, fairies and angels. Whatever the case, with the help of her husband Otto Schulze, who set up a printing house in sole service to his wife’s artwork, she channeled her eccentricities into a quite lucrative career. And whether she saw angels or not, she definitely had a knack for visually expressing these gentle, ephemeral creatures as sweet wide-eyed children, wispy adolescents or beautiful lush-winged adults. It is, however, the first two of those groups we are most concerned with.  Some of the angels here are adults, but these are protecting, guiding or counseling young girls in some way.

As you can see from this photograph of Wülfing and her husband, in her youth she was just a slip of a girl herself (quite a pretty one, I might add), and it seems she may have modeled for herself often enough.  Schultze and Wülfing had one child, a son, who currently represents her estate.

(Photographer Unknown) – Portrait of Sulamith Wülfing and Otto Schultze

Sulamith Wülfing – All Souls Day

I was planning to post only one of these, as they are the exact same image, but I decided to post them both because I think they reveal something interesting about how changing the lighting and color values can completely alter the tone of a work.  In the topmost version the colors are dark and cool tones prevail, giving the piece a menacing aspect.  However, the version below it is bright (too bright, really–some of the lighters shades are almost completely washed out) and the scene is awash in much warmer pinks, reds and faint earth tones, making for a much more inviting piece.  Remember this when you are photographing an artwork, especially if you’re looking to sell something!  Some of this can be corrected for in programs like Photoshop.  I do it frequently.  But if the textures of particularly detailed works–especially ones with a lot of exquisite subtleties like Wülfing’s art–are too bright or too dark, they can lose a lot of their impact.

Sulamith Wülfing – Angel and Child (1)

Sulamith Wülfing – Angel and Child (2)

Now here’s a piece where the colors and tones were reproduced perfectly!

Sulamith Wülfing – Caterpillar

Sulamith Wülfing – Child

Here’s another interesting thing.  This piece I have marked as a detail (meaning a fragment of the entire piece), and yet, unlike the others marked similarly, I do not have a full version of the image, nor have I seen it.  So how do I know it is a only a fragment then, you may ask?  Elementary: I can tell by the way it was cropped, which is badly, especially on the right side, making the composition rather cramped and awkward on that side.  I also know that Wülfing was too good of an illustrator to have made this mistake in her art.  Eventually I will give you all a simple lesson in composition, but for now just take my word for it.  Unless, of course, you already know a thing or two about artistic composition!

Sulamith Wülfing – Childhood (detail)

This is an interesting piece in that the lines are heavier than is common for her.  I suspect this may have been a piece created early in her career, but I don’t know for sure.  The image is also pretty badly desaturated, so that makes it seem heavier.

Sulamith Wülfing – Dialogue

Now this is more like it!  By the way, I am not entirely certain about some of the titles of these works.  Clearly some were crudely translated from the original German (not by me–if I’m not sure on a translation, I will leave it in the original language, and sometimes I do that anyway because I like the sound of the original title better than its English translation), and others had two or three different titles, depending on which website you encounter it on.  This is why I hate, hate, hate when people post images without citing all the pertinent info, especially if they fail to give the artist credit for his or her work.  I mean if they know it.  Sometimes people just don’t have that info available, despite their best efforts.  This happens with me often enough.  If I do not know an artwork’s title, and especially if I do not credit the artist, you can be sure that I at least tried to find that information.  But there are just too many people on the web who post art and had the information available to them at the time but decided not to provide it.

Sulamith Wülfing – Dream Angel (1934)

Here’s a good example of one where the title didn’t quite sound right to me, but it was the best I could find.  I know the ‘Eija, Eija’ part is right; it’s the part that comes after that sounds iffy to me.  Still, it is technically not grammatically incorrect.  It can be read as if the children were contemplating what their lives might be like if they were Eija–something like, “Eija, Eija, if we were you, we would . . .”  But here it takes a slightly different form: “Eija, Eija, were we you, we would . . .”  And so on.  This appears to be a funeral for little Eija.  Note the melancholy poses of the angels and the older child sitting by the barrow, as well as the musical instruments being sounded by the angels.

Sulamith Wülfing – Eija, Eija, Were We You

Sulamith Wülfing – Eija, Eija, Were We You (detail)

Another obviously cropped work.

Sulamith Wülfing – Fulfillment (detail 1)

Sulamith Wülfing – Fulfillment (detail 2)

Sulamith Wülfing – Moon Angels

Sulamith Wülfing – Moon Angels (detail)

Sulamith Wülfing – The Bud (1933)

Sulamith Wülfing – The Bud (detail) (1933)

Sulamith Wülfing – The Encounter

Sulamith Wülfing – The Encounter (detail)

And the best for last (in my opinion); this piece is one of my absolute favorites.  It’s simpler and not as dynamic as some of her other pieces, but what it sacrifices in dynamism it makes up for in elegance and a sturdy sense of design.

Sulamith Wülfing – The First Butterfly

Sulamith Wülfing – The First Butterfly (detail)

Wikipedia: Sulamith Wülfing

Sulamith Wülfing: Christmas Pieces

Merry Christmas!  From now until the end of the year I am going to do a series of Christmas-related art, since I have a bunch of it pulled.  Our first artist is Sulamith Wülfing, a German illustrator I have been fascinated with ever since I first encountered her work in a Bud Plant catalog several years ago.  Her work is romantic and spiritual in nature and highly decorative, drawing from traditions of art nouveau and the fairy tale illustrators of both the Victorian era and her own early twentieth century era.

Wülfing, the daughter of Theosophist parents, led an interesting life right from the get-go.  She, like William Blake (another artist she draws inspiration from), claimed that as a child she could see all sorts of creatures and beings invisible to others, such as angels, fairies and sprites.  These experiences would inform her art for the rest of her life.  Although much of her work was destroyed during WWII when a bomb struck her Wuppertal home, she managed to stay artistically productive and created and published hundreds of pieces before she died, no small feat considering the amount of detail she put into each work.

The artist clearly adored holidays, Christmas in particular, as she generated several Christmas-themed pieces.  Here are a few . . .

Sulamith Wülfing – Christmas Swing

Sulamith Wülfing – Little Gerda

Sulamith Wülfing – Crown of Light

Sulamith Wülfing – The Great Ball

Sulamith Wülfing – Untitled

Spirit of the Ages: Sulamith Wülfing

Wikipedia: Sulamith Wülfing

Cherry Ripe!

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow;
A heav’nly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.
There cherries grow which none may buy,
Till “Cherry-ripe” themselves do cry.

The above is the first stanza of Thomas Campion’s poem “There is a Garden in Her Face,” a paean to a beautiful virginal girl. How do we know this? We must first put it into historical context. Cherry vendors in England traditionally used the call “Cherry ripe!” to let people know that cherries were ready to buy. If we apply this fact to the poem, we see that the man is describing a girl that, while beautiful, is not yet ready to be “bought”—that is, she hasn’t quite reached sexual maturity. Campion admires this girl for her sexual purity, which he acquaints with spiritual purity. Here we have a basic explanation for the Victorian cult of the girl (which followed Campion by a couple hundred years): girls, because of their perceived innocence and sweetness, were considered above all other natural human groups to be the closest to God, so long as they maintained their virginity, hence British society’s horror of the underground culture of girls being kidnapped and deflowered—brought to light by W. T. Stead’s series The Maiden Tribute to Modern Babylon, and likely highly exaggerated therein—which compelled Britain’s Parliament to raise the age of consent from 13 to 16.

In terms of cherries being associated with young girls and virginity, many people seem to be under the impression that slang terms like cherry, in reference to the hymen, was invented by their generation, or at least the generation before theirs. In fact, this is not so:

cherry […] Meaning “maidenhead, virginity” is from 1889, U.S. slang, from supposed resemblance to the hymen, but perhaps also from the long-time use of cherries as a symbol of the fleeting quality of life’s pleasures.”

There we have it. The slang term dates at least to 1889, but I suspect the association of this particular fruit with virginity dates further back than even Campion’s poem, which was first published in 1617. And we are also given another, older, symbolism for cherries in the above etymology: they stand for the fleeting quality of physical pleasure. This too can be tied into sex, but also to childhood, which is itself fleeting. This symbolism is the Western tradition, but even in the East the cherry (and more specifically the cherry blossom) are also associated with maidenhood/virginity. We are more concerned with the Western mode here, but I do find it interesting that such disparate cultures can arrive at a similar symbolic representation, don’t you?

Back to the poem. We get the impression from the final stanza not of a full-grown woman—worldly and self-assured—but of a nervous girl being approached by potential mates, as if she is a wary doe being stalked by wolves on the hunt.

Why am I bringing all of this up? It is to lay the foundation of context for one very interesting painting, that painting being Sir John Everett Millais’s “Cherry Ripe”, a deceptively simple portrait of a little girl in a white dress with pink highlights sitting on a log in the forest . . .

John Everett Millais – Cherry Ripe (1879)

Wikipedia: John Everett Millais

Millais was a Pre-Raphaelite painter, and like most of the Pre-Raphaelites, he loaded his art with symbolism. First, the semiotics of color. White was of course the color of purity. Children, particularly little girls, were often dressed in white for formal portraits. Moreover, the child is placed against a dark and shadowy forest from which any wild beast could emerge and snatch her from her perch; unlike most portraits, which are set safely indoors or illuminated spaces, this one is actually a bit edgy. More likely than not this was intentional on Millais’s part. I have mentioned before that semiotically a white figure against black backdrop stresses the figure’s vulnerability or purity—or, in this case, both—in a morally nebulous world. Pale pink, which is traditionally associated with young girls, is also the color of cherry blossoms, and the child’s flesh is also pinkish. Here we have a figure composed almost entirely of white and pink. The lone exceptions are her eyes and hair and the black gloves, but as they were a conscious choice, it is the gloves that draw our attention.

The gloves are black. The color black has many symbolic interpretations, but here it screams sexuality. Look closely at the girl’s hands: they are placed in her lap and closed together prayer-style, only inverted. The gloves are fingerless, V-shaped and adjacent to her hands, inevitably funneling one’s attention right to the girl’s fleshy, exposed fingers, and (as more than one art critic has pointed out) those fingers happen to resemble a vulva.

Now some questions arise. Was this accidental or deliberate on the part of Millais? I suspect the answer is somewhere in between. And what exactly is Millais saying with this painting? Perhaps he is wrestling with the Victorian notion of the asexual girl-child, and suggesting that it may be a tad more complicated than that. Maybe he’s being ironic. After all, despite the title of the piece, the little girl is clearly nowhere near being “ripe”, and indeed some of the cherries lying at her side belie the title as well. Then again, maybe it is entirely coincidental, but I doubt it.

There is one other possibility I can think of. Millais was a friend of culture/art critic John Ruskin, who was married to Effie Gray at the time they met and became friends. But Ruskin had been married to Effie for several years and had yet to consummate the marriage, owing to, it was rumored, his mortal dread of pubic hair. Ruskin, like Lewis Carroll, had written a book for his beloved when she was still a child. The book was The King of the Golden River. Unlike Carroll, however, Ruskin was eventually able to marry the girl he had eyes for, although Ruskin and Effie were only nine years apart in age whereas Carroll and Alice Liddell were twenty years apart and of different social classes from one another. Anyway, Millais and Effie eventually fell in love, the marriage between Ruskin and Effie was annulled, and Effie remarried Millais, with whom she had eight children. (Side note: The oldest Millais daughter—also called Effie—was even one of Lewis Carroll’s photographic subjects.) Now, Ruskin was a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites, but given the embarrassing situation between Ruskin, Millais and Effie, it is little wonder that Ruskin began to condemn Millais’s post-marriage work, ostensibly because it was of lower quality according to Ruskin, but in reality it is more likely that Ruskin felt slighted and used his power as a critic to avenge the loss of his mate to Millais the best way he knew how. Is it possible, then, that Millais, with the painting “Cherry Ripe,” was publicly mocking Ruskin and his supposed pubic hair phobia? Probably not, but it is worth considering.

And speaking of Lewis Carroll, perhaps the next most famous artwork featuring little girls and cherries after the Millais piece is Carroll’s photo of the Liddell sisters (Edith, Lorina and Alice) in which the oldest girl, Lorina, is feeding Alice a cherry. Alice stands with her head cocked and mouth slightly agape, like a baby bird waiting to be fed by its mother. And, of course, Alice would be the one to be fed, given Carroll’s ongoing fascination with her.

Lewis Carroll – The Three Liddell Sisters (“Open Your Mouth”) (1860)

Wikipedia: Lewis Carroll

The above was one of several Carroll works that Polixeni Papapetrou created a tribute to.

Polixeni Papapetrou – Cherry Group

Polixeni Papapetrou (Official Site)

One step removed from this, cherries—really any fruit, but apples and cherries in particular—can represent transgression, as in the story of Adam and Eve, in which children stand in for the first humans and the crime that brings on their downfall is theft.

Fritz Zuber-Bühler – The Cherry Thieves

Wikipedia: Fritz Zuber-Bühler

Carl Larsson – Forbidden Fruit

Wikipedia: Carl Larsson

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Pickers

Wikipedia: Frederick Morgan (painter)

Note the coy and mischievous expression on this girl’s face:

Charles Amable Lenoir – The Cherrypicker (1900)

Wikipedia: Charles Amable Lenoir

Cherries can also represent intimacy, both romantic and familial.

Paul Hermann Wagner – Idylle mit Atelier (1889)

Lord Frederick Leighton – Mother and Child (1865)

Lord Frederic Leighton: The Complete Works

Wikipedia: Frederic Leighton, 1st Baron Leighton

Franz von Defregger – Kinder beim Kirschenessen (1869)

Wikipedia: Franz Defregger

Cherries can become an amusement for little girls playing at being women.

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Earrings (1)

Frederick Morgan – Cherry Earrings (2)

Frederick Morgan – The Cherry Gatherers

Georg Rössler – Mädchen mit Kirschen (1901)

But mostly cherries were just colorful eye-catchers that helped to emphasize the vibrancy and ruddy healthiness of youth . . .

Emile Vernon – The Cherry Bonnet (1919)

John Russell – Little Girl with Cherries (1780)

Wikipedia: John Russell (painter)

Friedrich von Kaulbach – Kirschen (Cherries)

Wikipedia: Friedrich Kaulbach

Fritz Zuber-Bühler – The First Cherries

Finally, a couple of curious contemporary artworks in which girl meets fruit; to be honest, I’m not sure exactly what to make of these.

Rene Lynch – Wonderland: Cherry Picking (2005)

Rene Lynch (Official Site)

I will say one thing about this final piece: Pay attention to how the little nude girl unwittingly mimics the lithe erotically posed woman in the magazine her mother is holding.

Tatiana Deriy – Little Cherry

(Editor’s update, 2015/11/06: There is a larger image of Little Cherry on Tatiana Deriy’s website.)

Camille Roqueplan

A French Romantic painter, Camille Roqueplan did mostly landscapes and outdoor scenes.  This first painting fits in the same tradition of lost virginity as Jean Baptiste Greuze’s The Broken Pitcher and was clearly an influence on Greuze’s piece (it dates from six years earlier), even if the symbolism isn’t quite as overt as Greuze’s was. Note again the flowers in her dress, a direct reference to Robert Herrick’s poem To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time, a plea for young girls to put themselves on the market, so to speak, while they’re still young because youth and beauty are fleeting. Hard to believe that poem was written in the 1600s.


Camille Roqueplan – Girl with Flowers (1843) (1)

Camille Roqueplan – Girl with Flowers (1843) (2)

Camille Roqueplan – Girl with Flowers (1843) (2)

There is a little girl in this work, though you must look closely to see her.

Camille Roqueplan – Les lavandières (The Laundresses)

Camille Roqueplan – Les lavandières (The Laundresses)

Wikipedia: Camille Roqueplan

Adrian Ludwig Richter

Although he preceded the jugendstil art movement, Richter’s work was featured in at least one issue of Jugend, around twenty years after he had passed away.  A longtime painter and illustrator of children’s books and fairy tales, he was considered a national treasure at that point. Heavily influenced by Romanticism, his style does come across as somewhat quaint today, but his compositions are detailed and masterful.


Adrian Ludwig Richter – Brautzug im Frühling (Bridal Procession in Springtime) (1847)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Heimkehr der Landleute nach Civitella (1867)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Heimkehr der Landleute nach Civitella (1867)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Hirtenlied (1871)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Hirtenlied (1871)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – In the Summer

Adrian Ludwig Richter – In the Summer

Adrian Ludwig Richter – My Nest is the Best

Adrian Ludwig Richter – My Nest is the Best

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Rübezahl Appears to a Mother in the Form of a Charburner (1842)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – Rübezahl Appears to a Mother in the Form of a Charburner (1842)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (1)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (1)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (2)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (2)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (3)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (3)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (4)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (4)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (5)

Adrian Ludwig Richter – (Title Unknown) (5)

Wikipedia: Adrian Ludwig Richter

Jules-Adolphe Chauvet

Now this is fun!  Note that one of the putti at top has an erection, and the other one is a girl!  It’s quite rare to see blatantly female putti like that.  And all the stuff going on at the bottom . . . très amusant. Chauvet, a student of Eugène Ciceri, produced this when he was twenty years old, providing the date is correct.


Jules-Adolphe Chauvet – The Centre of the World (1848)