Sunday, 18 December 2011

18th December - At the First Touch of Winter, Summer Fades Away

We seem to be in the home straight for Christmas and I'm flying.  So far this crisp and frosty Sunday morning, I have been to work and finished up some bits that needed sorting before Christmas, I have sent a draft of Stunner 2.0 to Stephanie Pina, Pre-Raphaelite Jedi and all round fabulous woman, and am writing my blog.  Blimey, that's not bad for 10.30am.  Later, I am off to my cousin's house for tea and Dalek biscuits which I iced on Thursday.  Bring it!  Plus, I found the most beautiful seasonal image...

At the First Touch of Winter, Summer Fades Away (1897) Valentine Cameron Prinsep
Oh, sigh and swoon at how gorgeous this image is.  Part Botticelli, part Scottish Widow's advert, Prinsep delivers a classical image of depth and magnificence.  The figure of Summer, scattering her blossoms, reminds me of the many gold-clad ladies destined to be mown by the man with the scythe.  True to form, a black draped buzz-killer has turned up and brought the party to an end.  The blue sky is relegated to the corner and the dark gloom surrounding Winter spreads over the canvas. 

Much like the endless paintings of old women in the snow, walking miserably back from church in clogs, this painting speaks of the harshness of life, the change not only in the season but in age.  Summer is in the prime of life, but Winter has a hint of grey in her dark hair (which is really attractive, not that I'm biased) and is an older woman.  Her gaze is a complicated mix of the inevitable and sorrow as she reaches out, her hand about to touch Summer's shoulder.  Winter, bleakness, the cold, and hardship all appear as shorthand for the last years of life in Victorian art and this personification is no different.  You could almost say that as she looks at Summer, Winter remembers herself and the memory brings sorrow.  Summer remains oblivious to the impending doom, skipping and sprinkling flowers as if her party would never end.  Sigh...yes, well, I've heard that many people feel like that and are rudely awaken when their back is cranky on wet days and they go a bit grey and maybe should invest in a stronger face cream to aid their face back into its original form in the mornings.  Apparently.

Anyway, may all of your Summers be warm and sunny, and may you dodge the hand of Winter for a little longer.

See you tomorrow.


  1. I think Prinsep just became my favorite PRB era painter. This is breathtaking. So is your efficiency. I used to be like that. But I'm not complaining. I love my 2 to 3 hours of morning reading and coffee in pjs and robe.

  2. Where I live the contrast between summer and winter is not that great. In fact, many Christmas days have turned warm in southern California. I suggest that Winter have a t shirt and shorts at hand if she ever moves here.

  3. Ladies, thank you for the comments. Linda: I'm not much different, I just type this in my pyjamas :)

    Lisa: I think Winter should have a pair of wellies on and carry a brolly if this week's weather is anything to go by, but that probably wouldn't look so arty.


Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx