Thursday, 6 December 2012

6th December - Cold Hands

Baby, it's cold outside today, and I'm wrapped up in a blanket, fighting a wretched cold and trying to decide if the hot water bottle pressed to my back has gone tepid or not.  There is nothing worse than a tepid water bottle.  Anyway, I digress.  Today's post is about this scene of wintery cuteness....

Cold Hands (1866) Pierre Edouard Frère
Part of the reason for today's choice is the rather pretty sentimentality of the image. Grandma (I'm presuming) is blowing onto the cold little hands of her granddaughter (I'm presuming) while they gather bundles of firewood (pretty sure of that bit).  I'm guessing that the woman in the background is Mum, which begs the question where the men are - possibly out wrestling wild boar to the ground or going one-on-one with a turkey in order to feed his family over Christmas. Like you do in Hampshire if there isn't a Waitrose nearby.

In Front of the School (1881)
Snowballing (1861)
Pierre Edouard Frère is an interesting painter.  He studied under Delaroche, and first exhibited in the prestigious Salon in 1843.  Ruskin loved him (which shows you how unpredictable he was) saying that Frère's work had the depth of William Wordsworth, the grace of Joshua Reynolds and the holiness of Fra Angelico.  Blimey, I wonder if he had been drinking?  Like many of his contemporaries both in France and England, Frère went on a jaunt to Egypt in 1860, which resulted in some more 'Oriental' works, but on the whole his output is genre-based, domestic stuff.  If you look at what resides in collections in this country, via the BBC/PCF's Your Paintings database, you get the impression of a gentle, no doubt popular painter of pleasant triviality, be they cold hands, lost buttons, or the games that children play.

My second reason for selecting a picture of a child today is that it is Carnation-Lily-Lily-Rose's 7th birthday today and I am feeling in a sentimental mood (possibly due to the lack of sleep after she jumped on our bed at 4am and announced it was her birthday).  Happy Birthday to my Blonde Snowflake of a daughter, and I'm off to have a snooze...

See you tomorrow.

Lily-Rose at the Watts Chapel, December 2012


  1. Happy birthday to your seven-year-old Lily-Rose! Mine (Thea Delphine) turned seven back in March. It's a fun, intense age.

    The other snow picture I thought of was Waterhouse's Saint Eulalia. Though that's not quite the same thing as an English winter scene.

  2. Sorry for your cold. I too am suffering from one and am sneezing even while i read this well, between reads. Your daughter looks like a winter elf so cute.

    Feel better.

  3. It is a mad age when she seems to realise all these scary things about life and death. She also seems to remember more stuff about Pre-Raphaelite art, so I take that as a good sign.

    I'm sure I'll be fine. I have a good hot curry lined up for tonight, which will either kill or cure me...

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  5. That's a very kind offer, but no daughter of mine will be an artist's model, who knows where that sort of thing ends! ;)

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  7. I work at a school and deal primarily (ha! pun!) with 4-7 year olds. They have So. Much. Energy.

  8. We don't feed Lily that much in the way of sugar, but I always wince when I see kids on the way to school scoffing back crisps and coke for breakfast. Rocket fuel, terrible, terrible rock fuel....

  9. Van Gogh was also an admirer of Edouard Frere. He mentioned him several times in letters to his brother. I remember he said he liked his depictions of old women particularly.


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