Saturday, February 13, 2016

Portrait of Mrs. Louis C. Madeira IV by Walter Stuempfig, Jr.

Portrait of Mrs. Louis C. Medeira IV by Walter Stuempfig, Jr. 1914 - 1970

He was a local artist born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, which is just outside of Philadelphia.

By the look of the Dior gown, this painting dates to about 1948, combining Parisian chic with a Florentine style portrait.  It always amazes me how artists can capture fabric in paint, the rich folds, you feel that you could reach out and touch it.

I was so happy to be able to leave work early on Friday to pick up the TV.  I was exhausted it had been a mind bender of a week, all sorts of things to sort out.  I pulled myself together and arrived on time, said my thank you, had the photos taken.  It came into my mind as I left, that I was craving a Chai Latte from Starbucks, and it just happened that the road I took home went right past Barnes and Nobles a book shop where they have a Starbucks inside.  So I treated myself along with a cranberry shortbread and looked at a crochet magazine, while drinking my Chai, and it felt just right.

I left the TV in the SUV.  Mr. B. works in the evenings and I could not even stay awake to help him in with the TV and I was most surprised when I went down in the very early hours of the morning and saw the TV sitting in the sitting room.  Since Mr. B.  was up also making me a cup of tea, he decided for us to take the TV upstairs together and get it set up, which we did, or he did with a little help from me.  It does not seem too big, as the old TV although smaller had a much wider strip edge than this one does, so it looks good.  My Boy in Ithaca who bought the old TV said that it was nine years old, but I didn't remember it being that old.  It is not something we would have gone out and spent our money on, but is very nice for a gift.

Tuppy took a great interest in all the proceedings, even crawling into the empty box to have a good nose, cats are the funniest when anything new comes into the house or is rearranged.  She loves to sit on the radiator covers and look out the window, so I leaned over and looked out the window with her, the night light was reflecting off the frozen snow on the Simla Room roof, just beautiful sparkling away and you do not catch that in the day light.

Tonight we will watch a movie on our new TV.  Now I am looking out the window and it is a blustering, whirling snow squall, I'm not sure if it is here to stay or just passing through, it is down into the teens and twenties temperature wise.

I am reading The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks, it was at my local library and I recognized it immediately as being the book I had listened to on BBC radio.  It is so interesting and I feel akin because my great grandfather was a shepherd on the Dorset downs, and my grandfather came from Somerset and almost always managed a farm and eventually had his own small holding.  I wish he was still around to talk with, what he knew about growing things was amazing.

The Shepherd's Life is about sheep farming in the Lake District of Northern England, the area of Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth.  His family have been there for probably over a thousand years.  The upper fells are Common Land, this goes back to ancient feudal times and is probably hard for an outsider to understand; but I do because where I lived as a child in Hertfordshire, it was in the village of Albury and in that village of Albury was an area called Patmore Heath.  We owned an old cottage on the edge of the heath.  Geologically the heath was totally different to the surrounding farm land and Common rights to graze animals on the heath went with the ownership of the older properties around the heath, but had to be registered legally and I remember my parents paying a fee through a solicitor to keep these rights with the cottage.  So the land is not owned by anyone but is for the commoner for grazing rights.

A couple of years back I went to visit the area and our old next door neighbors still live there, I spoke with their son now grown up and he said that his father had to fight tooth and nail to stop a property developer from coming in and building on the Common land, this is so wrong.  These rights go back to the Domesday Book, and how someone should finagle things to try and take something like this is beyond me.  Just the fauna and flora of the heath is so different and such a tiny pocket in the South East part of England.  This area although in the country is only forty miles from London, so a very sort after, property prices are over the top.



  1. That is a beautiful picture. Hope you have a good weekend and manage to rest. The snow sounds so pretty. I never heard the Shepherd's Life on the radio but it has been referred to in a few country programs. There isn't much real countryside left now. It is mainly commuters and holiday homes. Only rich people can afford the house prices in many of these villages now.

  2. You mention these places with such ease: the Lake District, the upper fells, Patmore Heath—places I wandered on my visits to England in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I was so young, and I didn't realize I would never see these beautiful scenes again. I was mad about everything to do with that area, the authors, the beauty, the moody moors. Thanks for bringing all this back to me!

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed my post, and appreciate your comments.


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