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Art history meets film history

Portrait in Alice's roomDear internet,

Does anyone recognise the painting pictured right?

It is a prop in a low-budget film, which appears on screen for only about five seconds and has no role in the plot but is purely a piece of set-dressing. So while it could be an original piece created purely for the film, the odds are that it is either a) a straight copy of a real-world original, or b) a pastiche with readily-identifiable models.

Either way, if anyone can identify the original or the model(s) used to create the pastiche, I'd be very grateful. I am trying to use it to help me figure out exactly when the film is meant to be set, and while I know enough about art to say that a painting like this would have been unlikely before about 1880 or after the First World War, that's about as far as I go.

Full disclosure - the picture is from Hammer's Scars of Dracula, which has no explicit dramatic date, but which I am trying to date from internal clues such as this one. (It's not the only clue I have to go on, but it's the one I need help with.) Sorry the picture isn't particularly brilliant - it is, of course, a cropped screen-cap.

Thank you in advance!

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 22nd, 2014 03:52 pm (UTC)
To me it looks like a bad Alma-Tadema rip-off - a quick hunt through Google image search doesn't bring up any likely candidates, but he was so prolific that doesn't matter too much. I appreciate this isn't very helpful!
Apr. 22nd, 2014 03:55 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's definitely Tadema-esque, but I was really hoping it might turn out to be a specific painting by him or someone like him which would provide a nice concrete terminus post quem. Still hoping someone out there recognises it...
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 22nd, 2014 04:02 pm (UTC)
Oh! Thanks for the tip. I'd not heard of Google Image Reverse Search before, but have just tried it myself. While you're right about the bookshelves etc if you just put in the image, if you also type in cues like 'pre-Raphaelite' or 'Art Nouveau' it becomes a bit more helpful, for example returning this, which has a very similar background. I doubt it's the actual model, because it's not like Hammer in 1970 to clothe a figure which was originally naked, but we are getting somewhere now. I will keep exploring!
Apr. 22nd, 2014 04:18 pm (UTC)
PS - eBay knock-off now mapped to some proper art: Frederic Leighton's The Bath of Psyche (1890), while people on FB are suggesting Albert Moore, which I think also has something in it. Not that any of this really helps to narrow down the date any more than I'd already guessed, but I think the set-designer's models are pretty clear now!
Apr. 22nd, 2014 07:16 pm (UTC)
At first sight it looks late Victorian- Alma Tadema, Leighton, Moore, Collier- someone like that- but the face and hairstyle suggest we're looking at something created c. 1960.
Apr. 22nd, 2014 07:20 pm (UTC)
1970, but who's counting? :-) Facebook chums likewise suggested Collier, but I think Leighton and Moore are the principal contributors.
Apr. 23rd, 2014 12:26 am (UTC)
Face looks vaguely Alma-Tadema, pose is more similar to Leighton's "Bath of Psyche" or even Rossetti's "Astarte Syriaca". The execution, however, seems pure '60s kitchen-sink, going on kitsch; kind of Bratby meets Tretchikoff.

BTW, didn't Veronica Carlson paint a fair few pastiche pictures that were used incidentally in Hammer films around that time?
Apr. 23rd, 2014 09:08 am (UTC)
Thanks. Leighton has definitely provided the background, and meanwhile an FB chum suggests Thomas Armstrong's 'Woman with Lilies' and 'Girl Watching a Tortoise' as likely models for the face / body, which I think both match very well.

Interesting about Veronica Carlson - I knew she was a bit nifty with a paintbrush, but didn't know she'd actually provided pictures for the films. I wonder if she is the artist for this one? Will try to find out!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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