Sunday, 3 December 2017

Sunday 3rd December: The Annunciation

I hope you are warm and comfy wherever you are.  As it is the first Sunday in Advent, I seem to remember there was a special service in church, getting out the candle and singing Christmas carols legitimately.  Meanwhile in Blogvent, we are wearing extra warm jimjams and prising open the next door on our advent calendar.  Adjust your hot water bottle and let's get on with it...

The Annunciation (1894) Frederic Shields
This is a very Victorian annunciation, right down to the rather girly looking angel.  Some Victorians had no truck with the whole notion of male angels, let alone gender fluid celestial entities.  We all know that Gabriel was a gorgeous blonde woman, apparently.  Also, we're having none of that womb-pointing business here.  I remember being about 7 and having to sing 'Offspring of a virgin's womb' whilst (a) not knowing what a womb was and (b) thinking it sounded a bit grim and gooey anyway.  Yes, no-one needs to be pointing to or mentioning wombs, thank you very much.  Also, no-one in the Bible had feet, it seems.

Man Harkens to the Appeal of Conscience (no date)
It's not like Shields can't do feet, although they are a little clumsy looking in this one.  Mind you, feet are probably hard to do so if you got the chance to hide them under a big dress, I wouldn't blame you.  Frederic Shields (1833-1911) is probably best known to you as an associate of the Rossetti family.  He drew the portrait of the dead Rossetti, and designed two stained glass windows at Birchington on Sea, overlooking Rossetti's grave.

Charger (1890s)
He was a deeply religious man who created many religious illustrations, window designs and designs for church murals.  He also explored slightly more playful subjects, such as frolicking mermaids in this very lovely arts and crafts charger.  He also designed the cover for the 1880 edition of Alexander Gilchrist's Life of William Blake (1863) after Gilchrist died and the project was taken over by his widow with the help of the Rossetti brothers. Shields appears to have been a really multi-talented chap indeed who deserves to be remembered more for the breadth of his work rather than who he hung out with.

 Well, that's today done.  Snuggle back under your blanket and I'll see you tomorrow...

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