Archive for the 19thC Category

Gruss vom Hexentanzplatz, 1899

Posted in 19thC, Postcard, SFW, Woodcut on 14 November 2009 by redwitch1

Here is a Hexentanzplatz postcard you can compare to my previous—and heavily populated—HTL version (i.e. Hold To Light).

The postcard is an unsigned woodblock image, whereas most of the others I have seen are lithographed. It is is dated 28 August 1899; it is postmarked on the same day from Thale and on the following day from “Colenfeld” (i.e. Kolenfeld, which belongs to the city of Wunstorf, in the district of Hanover, Germany).

In this card we have six witches and a couple of bats on their way to the Hexentanzplatz [the witches’ dancing place] on Brocken Mountain in Germany. The leader is riding side-saddle on a pig; she is followed by two witches on brooms, one on a pitch-fork, one riding side-saddle on a goat and one who seems to be standing on the hill-side waving to the others.

Our witches are—as usual for this blog, and for German witch-themed postcards generally—either undressed or under-dressed. Perhaps the ostensible reason for this is that our witches had all sneaked out at night and were in their night-clothes. If so, these witches slept in an interesting array of under-things: from full-length dresses (the witch on the pig), through sleeveless-slips (the witches on the brooms), to just a skirt and no top at all (the witch on the goat).

I think this one is my favourite. It is a very cute goat.

31 Days of Halloween-Day 16-Welcome to the Coven

Posted in 19thC, Halloween Countdown, Photograph, SFW on 16 October 2009 by redwitch1

I know nothing about these nine witches except, as is obvious, that these lovely lasses are from an upper-class private boarding school group of ca. 1890. Think Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975).

In fact, here is my advice for a good night in: drink gin—a lot of it—crank up Picnic at Hanging Rock and with the sounds of Gheorghe Zamfir‘s pan flutes still ringing in your ears, plonk yourself down in front of this picture and have a real good look at it!

BTW: if you can work out what point there is in having a hat-box that is too small for your hat, then please speak up. It is a mystery to me.

Tam O’Shanter Jug, 1835

Posted in 19thC, SFW, Tam O'Shanter on 1 August 2009 by redwitch1

This cream relief-moulded Tam O’Shanter jug and pewter lid, was manufactured by William Ridgway in Stoke on Trent, England, from 1 October 1835. I have seen examples—usually without their lid—in pale shades of blue, brown, green, yellow, cream and white. I have also seen another jug, a companion piece, of Tam O’Shanter and Souter Johnnie (see pictures here and here).

The jug depicts, in shallow relief, two scenes from Burns’s poem. The first is from the start of the poem, when Tam O’Shanter and Souter Johnnie are drinking; the second is from the end of the poem, where Tam is being chased by a “winsome wench” (Nannie, a young witch) in a “cutty sark” (a short smock, or negligee). Tam races for the bridge (since a witch can’t cross running water): Nannie was “so close at his heels, that [she] actually sprung to seize him: but it was too late; nothing was on her side of the stream but the horse’s tail, which immediately gave way to her infernal grip, as if blasted by a stroke of lightning.” (This is Burns’s prose explanation of 1790; for full details of the poem, see here).

Tam, Souter Johnnie and Nannie were depicted many times (in paintings, illustrations to books, pot-lids, postcards etc), and I have done quite a few posts on this blog concerning the various ways in which Nannie has been depicted—including this shallow relief ivorex panel from 1910—but this is the earliest by about two decades.

Invisible Brocken Witches, ca. 1899

Posted in 19thC, Brocken, chromolithograph, Postcard on 24 July 2009 by redwitch1

Here is another German postcard celebrating the witches of Brocken Mountain, specifically the plateau known as the Hexentanzplatz [the witches’ dancing place]. Can you see the witches? If you are not a witch, then “Bitte gegen das Licht halten” [please hold against the light].

Now you should be able to see thirty figures in five groups. In the sky, at top-left is a goat with search-light eyes illuminating the way, followed by six witches on brooms and a devil and witch closely embraced. Immediately below the hotel (with windows nicely illuminated), and slightly to the left, is a couple, four single witches (one on a broom, another wearing a pointy hat), a cat and a dog. Immediately below them, and slightly to the right, are seven figures, two of whom are embracing, while one is on a broom. Immediately below this group, is a witch and a goat, to the left of whom is the final group: of three witches and a cat. So, we have: 24 witches (3 male), 1 devil, 2 goats, 2 cats and a dog, quite a crowd!

[detail of top-left]

The postcard is captioned “Gruss vom Hexentanzplatz” [Greetings from the witch's dancing place], “Bitte gegen das Licht halten” and “‘Meteor’ D. R. G. M. 88690″ at the top-right and “No. 200″ at the bottom-left. “Meteor” was a Berlin publisher (i.e. Berlin, Internationaler Verlag “Meteor”), while D.R.G.M. stands for “Deutsches Reich Gebrauchsmuster” [German Reich Registered Design], so “88690″ is a copyright number. I presume “No. 200″ is a series number. This card has not been posted, but other cards with this copyright number are postmarked 1899 or 1900 (if you Google “88690″ and “Meteor” you will find this epilepsy-inducing page of Hold-to-light postcards, among many others).

And, for the record, I justify including this fabulous card on the basis that at least some of our witches are attractive and a few are nude. Admittedly, most are misshapen lumps, but Venus herself is nearly mono-breasted in the Tannhäuser card published by Meteor (click on no. 16 here). So, clearly, the publisher did the best they could to depict twenty-one sexy witches, but the task was beyond them. I have another HTL (hold-to-light) Brocken postcard, with fewer—and sexier—witches, but I haven’t scanned it yet, so you will have to wait and see that invisible sexy witches are possible!

Another Faléro Study, 1877

Posted in 19thC, Falero, Painting, PSFW on 9 May 2009 by redwitch1

I really must be very slow. You would think that my recent revelation that “Witches Gathering” aka “Sorcieres qui vont au Sabbat” was actually a study for “Departure of the Witches” would have made look a little closer at this little painting, titled “Study of a Witch”:

If I had, I might have realised that it is quite likely to be a another study for “Departure of the Witches.” In this case, only a single detail, the figure on the left. The composition is not identical, so it is not certain, but both Faléro studies were sold by Bonhams in New York on 26 January 2007 (New York Sale 14650, European Paintings: Including Old Masters and 19th Century Drawings, Lot no. 124), and both studies are inscribed by the artist’s son on the reverse. Anyway, here—again—is the detail and the full painting:

The study (at top, above) is 185 x 234mm, the full painting (below) 1455 x 1182 mm.

The inscription on the study reads “Etude de Sorciere N.22 / par Louis Falero / de la collection d’ebauches / et oeuvres inedites / signe par son fils / R Falero” [Study of a Witch No. 22 / by Louis Falero / from the collection of sketches and / unpublished works / Signed by his son / R. Falero]. The number should give us pause: study number twenty-two! I wonder how many of these studies are still circulating out there, and how many books—my only assets—I will to have to sell to buy one…

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