How cosy is this? It's by the Dutch artist Hendricus Jacobus Burgers (1835-1899), who doesn't have an English Wikipedia entry, but seems to have been a fine painter. A comfy chair, tea at her elbow, toes right up against the fire. Heaven.
This is The Love Letter (1863) by Auguste Toulmouche. Well, it is Valentine's Day, not that I've ever paid all that much attention to it, or not since I was at boarding school, when it mattered terribly whether you got any cards -- I never did, apart from one memorable year when a friend of my parents sent me three, all purporting to come from different people, one of whom was the coal man (yes, we had coal delivered in those days) -- it had a black thumbprint on it. Of course I knew who had done this, but it was a nice thought. Anyway, if you care about such things, I hope you get a lovely card from your loved one today.
And if you love poetry, how about some love poetry? Audible has a special offer for today, a recording of fifteen classic love poems, read by Richard Armitage. Classic Love Poems can be downloaded free from: www.audible.co.uk/mt/valentines_day. And if you want to see Richard talking about, and reading some snippets, here's a video.
We've had people reading and cats reading and rabbits reading, but this is the first time we've had a mouse reading. No prizes for guessing this is by Beatrix Potter, from her wonderful novel The Tailor of Gloucester.
I was away from home all weekend and only got back yesterday -- I didn't take my laptop and totally failed to post anything on the blog using my iPad. So here's a little bonus -- Ola with Lamp, by the Norwegian painter Christian Khrog.
The Love Letter is the name of this painting by Auguste Toulmouche (1829-1890). It's certainly very beautifully painted and I'm sure we all love her outfit, and the tablecloth, and the curtain, and the wallpaper... But what exactly is going on here? Is she the recipient of the letter, which seems to have come as a shock, and perhaps not a pleasant one? Or has she read someone else's letter? Who knows. Toulmouche seems to have specialised in painting ladies in beautiful dresses -- Emile Zola apparently called them 'Toulmouche's delicious dolls'.
I had quite another painting lined up for you this morning, but yesterday I spotted this on one of my favourite art blogs, Old Painting, and had to share it for one simple reason. It's called Harriet. It was painted by Marcel Rieder (French, 1862-1942). Here's the info from the site:
Rieder studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. He became a member of the Société des Artistes Français in 1894, and exhibited almost every year until 1939 in the Salon de Paris. From 1894, Rieder’s paintings became notable for their peaceful and intimate interior scenes of rooms lit by oil lamps or electric lighting.
I don't know who this Harriet was, and would have suspected she was his daughter if a) he apparently didn't have one, and b) Harriet is a name not used in France -- it confuses people, who think it must be a man's name, hence letters I get addressed to M. (Monsieur) Devine. Probably the daughter of an English friend. Anyway, what does it matter? It's a lovely peaceful painting.
I'm usually on the lookout for less-known paintings and painters for my Saturday series, which started as just Women Reading but tends to branch out from time to time. But here we have something which you may have seen before -- Pierre Auguste Renoir's painting of his friend Manet's daughter Julie with her cat. It was painted in 1887, but is pretty timeless, really -- both the little girl and the cat look almost drunk with contentment. One of my two cats loves being cuddled like this -- the other one is a bit more skittish, though he'll sometimes welcome a snuggle too.
I've just realised that the weekend whizzed by without my realising what day it was and I missed my usual Saturday practice of posting a nice picture for you to enjoy. So here is one, shamelessly pinched from Persephone's Facebook page. This is 'Lady on a Sofa' by Harold Gilman (1876-1919), painted in 1910, which seemed appropriate as this is where I am spending most of my time at the moment.