domingo, 3 de mayo de 2015

Victorian artists: Jenny Lind and Lady Duff Gordon (Lucie)

(More about Victorian personalities: Janey Morris & Elizabeth Gaskell)

(*To my English readers: I apologize for every mistake. Please be aware I am a Spanish writer)

The Victorian period is still thrilling in arts, novels and poetry. Who doesn't know Lord Tennyson, Oscar Wilde, Charles Dickens, the Brontë sistersElizabeth Gaskell, and many others who flourished in Britain during the mid to late 19th century?

Room of Victorian artists (National Portrait Gallery).
But apart from the big names in the field of literature there are also Victorian writers, singers or painters poorly known, especially women. I had the chance to meet some of those forgotten women in my visits to the National Portrait Gallery (London). I already wrote about Janey Morris (1939-1914), the most famous Pre-Raphaelite muse. Another entry of this blog is dedicated to Elizabeth Gaskell, and some of them consecrated to the Brontë. Today I like to share my views on two Victorian artists as Jenny Lind and Lady Duff.

Jenny Lind (by Eduard Magnus).
Jenny Lind (1820-87) was an opera singer, born and trained in Sweden. Her exquisite voice, allied with rare qualities of character, aroused intense enthusiasm in British audiences, following her debut in 1847. I saw her portrait, painted by Eduard Magnus (1799-1872), in London. It is a replica of another portrait by Magnus from 1846 and came to the gallery as a bequest by Mrs. Helen Goldschmidt (1951), the sitter's daughter-in-law.

Young, beautiful, elegant, her bright eyes tell us how far she was from the often prudish, hypocritical, stuffy and narrow-minded Victorian era.

Lady Duff (by Wyndham Philips).
Lucie, Lady Duff Gordon (1821-69) was an author and translator. She translated many German historical works and was a friend of the poet Heine. She had an interesting life overseas: Lady Duff resided in Egypt from 1862, where she wrote vivid letters that were published in two collections. Her portrait by Wyndham Philips (1820-68) came to the National Portrait Gallery in 1983 given by Gordon Waterfield.

Suffering from tuberculosis, she left London and went to South Africa for the climate which she hoped would help her health. After living in Cape of Good Hope she travelled to Egypt and settled in Luxor, where she learned Arabic and wrote several letters about Egyptian culture, religion and customs.

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