Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pierrots, Piers and Periwinkles




The next Sunday Postcard Art challenge theme is Pierrot. These two lovely young ladies have been sitting on my bedroom mantelpiece for some years now. The photograph is not dated but I'm making a guess that it was taken between 1900 to the mid 1920s. It is stamped with the name Richards, King's Road, Newark, but I display it in in a handsome brown card mount from the studio of H. Ricketts of Llandudno. My instinct is that the girls in the photograph were dressed up for a carnival rather than for a theatrical performance. I have decided to give them a new home in front of a backdrop and in a frame that reflects Llandudno's seaside setting.

Llandudno's 2,295ft-long Pier is the longest in Wales and the 5th longest in England and Wales. It took just over 1 year to construct and was opened to the general public on the 1st August 1877. Piers, originally built for elegant promenading whilst imbibing ozone, gradually acquired pavilions that offered diverse entertainment, including Pierrot shows that became essentials of the British seaside holiday for several decades. The traditional seaside Pierrot shows began in the late nineteenth century and in some resorts they were carried right through to 1939. Pierrots had their roots not in the pier pavilions, but in French pantomime. They wore white costumes with ruffles, pom-poms and skull caps. Their act usually consisted of comic sketches and rather sad songs, after which a hat was passed around for contributions. In Llandudno, Pierrot shows must also have been performed at the open air theatre (actually just a wooden stage with a canopy) optimistically named Happy Valley.

Making the shell frame brought to mind a marvelous childhood holiday in Bournemouth, during which my grandparents took me to the extraordinary and unforgettable Shell House at Southbourne. The Shell House was the dedicated work of a man named George Howard who created a magical fantasy garden where every object and surface was made or covered with shells. Mr. Howard's reward for his effort was the pleasure that it gave to all who saw it and the very large amounts of money that the Shell House collected for charity. Tragically, in February 2001, the Shell House was mysteriously and suddenly demolished to make way for a modern apartment block. Now it exists only in the fond memories and imaginations of those who had the privilege to marvel at its quirky, exuberant delights.

There is a website commemorating the Shell House here

You can find more information about British Seaside piers here

33 comments:

Kelly said...

great card!

Ozstuff said...

Your picture is stunning, Lumi! I saw it first at Quirks and it is just as wonderful here - moreso because it is accompanied by your wonderful "travelogue". I enjoyed that so much, especially as I have visited a couple of those spots (all the way from Australia).

Gayle Page-Robak said...

Your photo piece is excellent, as was the word detail in your presentation. Gorgeous!

Kris Dickinson said...

Gorgeous! That frame is amazing! WOW!

hastingshall2 said...

Wow, this is wonderful. I love the shells and the gorgeous frame around your two lady Pierrots. Your accompanying history of your area was fascinating and made the piece even more interesting.
Faye

Angela said...

Beautiful art and a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing both.

indybev said...

Loved it at quirks, Lumi, love it here! Very creative and with a wonderful accompanying story.

herminesplace said...

Fantastic!

Lynn Stevens said...

What a wonderul piece. Now even more cherished and displayed in your home!

Rachel Bland said...

Beautiful art work. I love the image, and the detail of the frame is exquisite!

Petra Tillmann said...

Beautiful picture!

http://truutske.punt.nl said...

Absolutely stunning work.
Love the picture.

Martina2801 said...

Very artistic work.
Love the beautiful frame and the image !

AliMayes said...

Wow! This is superb and thanks for all the details of what you used and where you got it - I can see a shopping spree coming on!
Ali xx

Hella said...

Lovely card!

Taluula said...

Absolutely stunning postcard.

Buffy said...

So Beautiful!

BLACK AND WHITE said...

Amazing postcard! Love the picture! Stunning blog!
Thank you for your visit on my blog.

Nancy said...

Just lovely!

Mandy C said...

i totally adore this one

martin said...

this is just beautiful

Jen Ulasiewicz said...

This is truly gorgeous! You did a fabulous job on this postcard and good luck with the challenge! :)

Robin said...

Beautiful piece....just perfect in every detail!

Gaby Bee said...

Wow, this piece is simply amzing! So well done with perfect details. Love especially the little starfish on the top!
Gaby xo

Tumble Fish Studio said...

What a beautiful post and beautiful blog you have. I have already linked you to mine so I can come back and take it all in in doses so that I am not so overwhelmed. I am overwhelmed and can't wait to see all of your work and other lovely posts! Such amazing work. I can hardly breath!

Thank you for visiting me. It is such a joy to meet you.

marsha

Kimmie said...

I love your Pierrots ... they remind me of an opera I saw last year - "Pagliacci" .... I wonder if pierrot and pier share the same word roots? That would be more than a coincidence I think.

The shell house garden is amazing - that is so sad that it was torn down for some ugly apartment building - argh!

malacima said...

Loved it at quirks too!!gorgeous!!!

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

Sad to hear of the shell house fate, Love how you've honored it. I am not a fan of clowns, but you've won me over with this amazing piece!

Terri Kahrs said...

Oh My Goodness! This is my first visit and it won't be the last. You're work is stunning and so creative. Fabulous! I'll be sure to visit again!

Linda said...

Love the border and the shell decoration - absolutely beautiful.

Gini said...

Wow - I can't believe it's not butter - er real! I had no idea digital art/elements had come to this kind of realism and you do create real magic with them! This is such a beautiful piece.
Gini

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

I adore this piece, visiting you from ABAA! Stunning creativity!

Jaqi said...

How magnificent , what a stunning picture and frame, well done , JAQI