3 replies

  1. And some splendid Victorian facial topiary!
    From the same era, I recently visited the exhibition of Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs at the V&A.
    Interestingly, although she was a pioneer in the exploration of the possibilities of photo portraiture – there is no smiling. I suspect a factor behind non smiling in early photography was the long exposure time required.
    I’m also reminded of one of my favourites in the National Gallery – the self portrait by Elisabeth Vige Le Brun. This, dating from 1782, was scandalous as she depicted herself smiling open mouthed.

    The court gossip-sheet Mémoires secrets commented: “An affectation which artists, art-lovers and persons of taste have been united in condemning, and which finds no precedent among the Ancients, is that in smiling, [Madame Vigée-Lebrun] shows her teeth.”
    I heard from a NG guide that a possible reason for the disapproval of toothy smiles was that the king’s teeth were in such a bad state that he didn’t smile and so neither did his courtiers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wouldn’t be smiling either. They’ve got to carry those heavy wooden chairs back inside up all those steps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One of those chairs used to be in the Moderator’s Room in the assembly hall where I had some tutorials when I was at New College. It was rather ragged looking by that stage though!


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