Sunday, 15 July 2018

A Remarkable Find

It seems to be the season for rediscovering long lost things for me at the moment. As I described in a previous post, I recently had returned to me a little book which I thought I had lost for good. Then, this evening, another discovery from the past came my way, of a different nature.

My hubby and I were watching “The Antiques Roadshow” on BBC TV this evening, and someone brought along a rather intriguing picture from the Arts and Crafts Movement, of a seascape in enamel, surrounded by a repousse frame made of silver, depicting various forms of marine life, and a circular-shaped piece of mother-of-pearl inlaid at the bottom. Embossed in the silver were the first two lines of a poem, “The sea hath its pearls/The heaven hath its stars,” which rather intrigued me for some reason, so on the spot I decided to google this and see if I could find the entire poem.

The first site I visited was “Writing and Ruminating: One Children’s Writer’s Journey.” I discovered that the poem was Das Meer hat seine Perlen by the German romantic poet Heinrich Heine, translated into English by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as follows:

The sea hath its pearls,

The heaven hath its stars;

But my heart, my heart,

My heart hath its love.

Great are the sea, and the heaven;

Yet greater is my heart,

And fairer than pearls or stars

Flashes and beams my love.

Thou little, youthful maiden,

Come unto my great heart;

My heart, and the sea and the heaven

Are melting away with love!

On the site, I also discovered a painting of the same name, which had been inspired by he poem, by William Margetson, an English artist who lived from 1861 to 1940. On another site I discovered that the painting was purchased from the artist by The Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1897, where it still resides.

As soon as I saw this picture, my heart leapt. I had completely forgotten about it, but many years ago my grandmother had a reproduction of it in her home in Cambridge, where we spent many happy holidays. She came to live with us in 1963 when I was 10, and I don’t remember seeing the picture after this, so presumably it was among the many things she had to sell when she moved.

It was always said in the family that the young lady in the picture bore a striking resemblance to my grandmother when she was young, just after the First World War, probably because of the colour of her hair. Looking back, I remember now that I always believed that it actually was a picture of my grandmother!

I decided to make a new desktop wallpaper with this. Using a combination of Serif PagePlus (my desktop publishing software) and PhotoPlus (photo editor), I created a blue background on a layout to match the proportions of my computer screen. I took one of the texture overlays I created ages ago, from a photo of some tree bark with interesting swirling patterns on it:

and overlaid this on top of the blue background using the “screen” blend mode, and adjusted it until I was happy that it produced a subtle wave-like pattern in the blue, which would not interfere too much with the visibility of my desktop icons. I added the painting as a new layer, resized it and moved it to the right-hand side and added a vignette effect to it so that the edges would fade into the background. I exported the whole thing as a new image and set it as my desktop wallpaper.

Now I can enjoy it every day.

To stumble across this picture out of the blue like this, is amazing, and I feel as if a long-lost treasure has been restored to me. Isn’t the Internet wonderful? It is such a beautiful picture, and it ties in with my love of the sea, and my own lifelong delight in finding treasures on the seashore – maybe not actual pearls, but certainly many beautiful shells and stones, sea glass and driftwood, and it links me back to the past, with happy childhood memories.

This has quite made my day.

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful story Shoshi, and such an exquisite painting. I love paintings from that era and that one is particularly lovely. I love what you've done with it, how lovely to see it every day.
    Diana xx


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