Sunday, January 29, 2017

Yesterday's ghosts

When I was young I'd listen to the radio
Waitin' for my favorite songs
When they played I'd sing along, it made me smile

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they'd gone
But they're back again just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well...

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they're startin' to sing's, so fine... 

Remember that song by the Carpenters?  I have always loved Karen Carpenter's soft contralto voice. She died from anorexia way too early for her time. Her music as well as the story of her life make me so sad. But I love Karen, and love all of her songs even if they make me sad, and today I've been remembering her and singing her songs all day long, because the Fisherman had bought us a Turntable Record Player, and we've been hunting in thrift stores and flea-markers for some collectables records and original oldies, and have found some very lovely original hits by various artists... and who knows if one day the fairies decide to smile down on me and I'll find a Stevie Nick's original?  Like "Bella Donna", or "The Wild Heart"?

If a fairy came to me today and ask me for a wish, I could only think on one thing this very moment—to be a famous drummer player... really!  To play the drummer the way Karen did.  Her skills as a drummer has all my admiration.  What would you wish for if a fairy gives you a magical wish? 

Winter has settled in around here.  Super chilly temperatures and dark days have kept me wishing for sunshine and warmth, so I'm trying to keep warm and create a little.  I have been making more canvases for my gallery wall.  

More Frida Kahlo's canvases that is, because Frida is another of my favorite ghosts from yesterdays.  What is it with Frida that I adore?  Her paintings?  Not as much.  But her unique example of freedom of spirit and inner strength.  The way she knew how to make for herself a pair of wings when she had none.  "Feet, what do I need them for if I have wings to fly.”  Frida Kahlo.

And I have a new lover, or two... Eugène Delacroix and a remastered variation with unknown spoof of William-Adolphe Bouguereau paint: "Monsieur M"... ghosts from the Victorian Era under whose spells my heart have succumbed to... and I should soon summons a Mr. Darcy too.  For how can anyone resists his charms?  “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”  Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I love this following print here, artist unknown...
I have name it, "Friends"
"Friendship... is born at the moment when one man ('girl') says to another 
"What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .”
–C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves.

But my favorite.... oh my favorite among all the artwork hanging from my gallery wall it will have to be this little duplicate of a Pre-Raphaelite girl and her pet owl... by Valentine Cameron Prinsep, entitled Il Barbagianni, which means The Barn Owl.  Was this girl real once?  And if so, who was she? I've been under her spell ever since I found this painting.  Oh I was so sure that girl was me there... my soul pouring out through that painting from some other life outside life... the connection was so strong. That's what I wanted to believe the moment I discovered this painting, but no... obsessed by it, however, I did a bit more digging on it the other day, and what I found it is just amazing, and overpowering and beautiful.

Artist, writer, Deputy Editor for Faerie Magazine, Grace Nuth has written a most interesting post about this painting... she insists that the woman in the painting is no other than Lizzy Siddal, who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and who was the model for Sir John Everett Millais's Ophelia. 

While posing for Millais' Ophelia in 1852, Lizzy floated in a bathtub full of water to represent the drowning Ophelia. Millais painted daily into the winter putting lamps under the tub to warm the water. On one occasion the lamps went out and the water became icy cold. Millais, absorbed by his painting, did not notice and Lizzy did not complain. After this she became very ill with a severe cold or pneumonia. Her father held Millais responsible and, under the threat of legal action, Millais paid her doctor's bills. 

It was thought that she suffered from tuberculosis, but some historians believe an intestinal disorder was more likely. Others have suggested she might have been anorexic while others attribute her poor health to an addiction to laudanum or a combination of ailments. In his 2010 book At Home, author Bill Bryson suggests Lizzy may have suffered from poisoning, because she was a "devoted swallower" of Fowler's Solution, a so-called complexion improver made from dilute arsenic.

Lizzy Siddal was the primary muse for Artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti throughout most of her youth...

Lizzy Siddal as 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lady Lilith, 1866
The story tells that Lizzy overdosed on laudanum in the early months of 1862. Rossetti, who by then was her husband discovered her unconscious and dying in bed. Overcome with grief after her death, Rossetti enclosed in his wife's coffin a journal containing the only copy he had of his many poems. He supposedly slid the book into Lizzy's red hair. Before publishing his newer poems he became obsessed with retrieving the poems he had slipped into his wife's coffin. Rossetti and his agent, Charles Augustus Howell, applied to the Home Secretary for an order to have her coffin exhumed. It was done in the dead of night to avoid public curiosity and attention, and Rossetti was not present.

Howell reported that her corpse was remarkably well preserved and her delicate beauty intact, probably as a result of the laudanum. Her hair was said to have continued to grow after death so that the coffin was filled with her flowing coppery hair. The manuscript was retrieved although a worm had burrowed through the book so that some of the poems were difficult to read. Rossetti published the old poems with his newer ones; they were not well received by some critics because of their eroticism, and he was haunted by the exhumation through the rest of his life. 

Seven years after his wife's death, Rossetti published a collection of sonnets entitled The House of Life; contained within it was the poem, "Without Her". It is a reflection on life once love has departed: 

What of her glass without her? The blank grey
There where the pool is blind of the moon's face.
Her dress without her? The tossed empty space
Of cloud-rack whence the moon has passed away.
Her paths without her? Day's appointed sway
Usurped by desolate night. Her pillowed place
Without her? Tears, ah me! For love's good grace,
And cold forgetfulness of night or day.

What of the heart without her? Nay, poor heart,
Of thee what word remains ere speech be still?
A wayfarer by barren ways and chill,
Steep ways and weary, without her thou art,
Where the long cloud, the long wood's counterpart,
Sheds doubled up darkness up the labouring hill.
— From Without Her

Extrange, sad story, isn't it? The more you read about her the more fascinating she becomes. There's quite a few books, documentaries and YouTube movies out there about Lizzy's life. You can read a thoughtful timeline of Elizabeth Siddal’s life HERE.

Hope you have enjoyed my super long post... till we met again!


  1. I also so love the Pre Raphaelite art, I think that all the paintings belonging to the artists of that brotherhood are true masterpieces !

    Thanks once more for all the Charm and the Beauty you always share, darling Cielo !

    Hope your new week is off to a great start,
    I'm sending hugs and ever much love to you

    Xx Dany

  2. I always admired Karen Carpenter's drumming skills. It was so unusual to see a girl drummer back in the day. It just so happens that I married a drummer and one of my daughters turned out to be an amazing drummer too! I so enjoyed the very interesting story about Lizzy Siddal. I had never heard of her before. The poem is lovely and so sad. It reminds me a little bit of Edgar Allen Poe's poem, Annabel Lee which was also about the death of a beautiful woman...some say that it was written for his wife, who died very young.

    1. Oh that is so nice... a girl drummer! And a husband drummer! I always wanted to be a drummer... a Stevie Nicks wild hair kind of a girl drummer! How fun! ;) ;)

      I love to read your comments... I always find something interesting in them... they make me dream... ;)



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