In a previous post, I told you about my latest Duke of Wellington aquisition, found in Cecil Court, London. I’m happy to say that the Duke has arrived home from being framed and is now in his new place of honour on my wall.
The hand-coloured engraving is after an 1821 painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence and I had it museum mounted, double matted and placed under conservation glass. It is, if I do say so, a magnificent piece. When I arrived home with Arthur, my husband decided to help me hang the portrait. The conversation went something like this:
“Where’s my stud finder?”
“To find the stud. So we can hang the picture.”
“It weighs less than 20 pounds. We don’t need to find a stud. Instead we need to measure the distance between the end of the dresser and the wall and hang it at the midway point. So it’s centered in that space.”
“Where do you want the nail? Here?”
“Pictures should be hung at eye level. I suppose that’s eye level if you’re Wilt Chamberlain.”
“Alright then. Whose eye level? Yours or mine?”
“Split the difference.”
“Oh, it looks perfect. Just perfect!”
“Look at it! Isn’t it wonderful?”
“It’s the Duke of Wellington. Again. Don’t ask me to get excited over it. If you like it, that’s all that matters.”
“You could show some enthusiasm.”
“What do you want me to do, drool over it?”
“No. But can’t you muster some Victoria-like enthusiasm?”
“You should have married Victoria.”
“I’m not asking you to be Victoria 24/7. Just for about 30 seconds during the official hanging ceremony.”
“Ain’t gonna do it.”
Things went alot smoother when I framed, matted and hung the three fashion pirnts I’d bought in Paris. They went smoother because I did it all last week, when my husband was in Pennsylvania for a few days. They were hung with no fuss, no muss and no stud finder (men!).
I told Victoria that the style of drawing led me to think they’d been done in the 1930’s or 40’s, but while doing some reseasrch on the web, I found that these drypoint etchings were done by Henri Boutet in 1902 for a book called “Les Modes Feminines du XIXe Siecle.” His 100 etchings traced fashions for each year from 1801 to 1900. Boutet used a drypoint etching technique that produces an intrinsic softness of texture. The illustrations were closely detailed and hand-coloured and the original etchings were limited to 600 copies. I did find prints from the same book, though not those I bought, selling online for $75 each. I paid 40 euros, or $52, for all three together. Nothing for my husband to grumble about there. I have my portrait of the second Duchess of Wellington out at the framer’s now. While the engraving is not new, I never liked the way it had been framed and so decided to give her a facelift, so to speak. I’ll let you know when the Duchess is at home.