Eleanore von Schwartzenburg lived on the Czech/Austrian border
in the mid 17th Century. She was a great believer in Folk remedies.
She even kept she wolves for their milk (Drinking it was supposed
to promote the possibility of male off-spring). The sound of wolves
howling from her Castle led to local speculation as to what she was up to!
There were rumours that she was a vampire, and when she died, was
buried under heavy stones - a mid European tradition at the time
for suspected vampires!
Bram Stoker almost certainly heard the stories about her, and she is
now thought to have had an large influence on the "Dracula" story.
(Incidentally, I believe the original draft of Dracula had a female
vampire in it, who was written out on the advice of the publisher.)
The original idea was to paint a 50 gun ship approaching Whitby harbour.
I'd nearly finished the painting before I included the Jolly Roger. I made up the
design, and later was surprised to find it was very close to the colours of
Arabella Drummond, who was active in the Caribbean in the 18th Century.
She had "The Bold Adventure" built to the same design as Henry Morgan's
"Queen Anne's Revenge II" (50 guns), and included ports for oars, so it
could be used as a Galley. Thus she could specialise in attacking becalmed
merchant ships. I would be interested to know if she had any connections
I recently found an old working drawing from 1973, from my time at Exeter College of Art.
The painting I was working on never got finished - the canvas (long since lost) was about
60"x60", I think. It's an image I've often thought about when I remember my days at college,
so finding an old photocopy (a method I was using for disintegrating images), gave me tha
opportunity to re-address the idea.
It has been an interesting challenge to pull the figure back to a 3 dimensional illusion! (I
also felt that I was pulling something "bright out of the darkness, while painting it.
I often use figures in my paintings as metaphors. The way she's balanced on the chair put
me in mind of "Libra", my birth sign - so the stars in the background are from the
constellation of Libra.
It was weird bridging 35 years - It prompted me to remember the room I worked in at St
David's (Exeter) - the people that were around me - other paintings around the room - even
scents & the general atmosphere, the "ambience", of the place.
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