Friday, May 04, 2012
Who is this Elegant Edwardian Gentleman?
This is a departure from my usual Scottish Home posts which tend to be about textiles, my other passion in life along with writing. And as regular readers will know, I quite often manage to combine the two, as in my novel The Curiosity Cabinet! As an interesting aside (well, interesting for textile and vintage nuts like me) when the Curiosity Cabinet was being prepared for its first publication as a paperback, rather than the Kindle edition, the publisher's editor queried my reference to 'bright Indian cottons' as anachronistic. It wasn't. It was about right for the time and place of the novel. She was fully entitled to query things she didn't understand, but this was one area in which I had done my homework, mostly because I'm fairly obsessed with such things!
However, this isn't a post about antique textiles, for a wonder, but instead, it's a post about antique and vintage... er... people. I buy lots of my textiles at auction, in various salerooms, as well as at antique markets, car boot sales and charity shops. But sometimes, I get a little more than I bargained for. This handsome chap - a head and shoulders portrait in oils - came with a bundle of very beautifully embroidered pictures - not hugely old, but well executed. There is no name on it, and no signature either, but you can tell from the back of it that it's rather old and very nicely done. I mean he's a real person, isn't he? Unfortunately, I have no idea who he is - a Scottish Edwardian gentleman. He could be a politician, I suppose. He seems like a gentleman of consequence. Maybe he was an artist or an architect. Maybe he designed some of those splendid Glasgow buildings. If he was my great grandfather, I would want to know, but somebody cleared him out along with various household possessions, and put him up for auction in among a heap of other things. I'll probably try to 'rehome' him on my eBay shop. There are people out there who collect portraits even if they don't know who they are - although he's sustained a little damage over his years spent in somebody's attic, and could probably do with some professional cleaning. I like him though. I like his wide set eyes and that fine moustache! Writers like this kind of thing - we're free to invent whatever we want, and that makes him intriguing. What do you think?