Saturday, March 23, 2019

Calmady Children


Have you ever looked at an image and been enchanted? I had that experience yesterday when I visited a second hand store near where I live. It had always been a place I wanted to go inside for the joy of simply looking around. I had the time and decided to just go on and take a look. A friendly shop full of happy people greeted me at the door. I took my time looking around at all the things. From furniture to decor to dishes and artwork. There was plenty to see. And plenty of those “oh! I remember these” moments seeing various household items from childhood. As I neared the back room I noticed this painting was displayed in the corner. Oh! My heart just felt full of sweetness. This painting is so endearing! I have learned that the portrait in front of me is a 1930s reproduction of Sir Thomas Lawrence’s 1823 painting called Nature (The Calmady Children). The girls, Laura Ann (younger girl) and Emily, were the daughters of Charles Calamdy of Devonshire. Lawrence said it was “my best picture......one of the few I should wish hereafter to be known by.” I completely understand. When I look at this painting I feel that he took great joy painting this portrait of two lively little girls, as all girls ages 3 and 5 tend to be. Full of natural curiosity and energy they must have been so entertaining to observe. I can imagine him first attempting to do a more formal style portrait but learning how children these ages are unwilling to sit still long realized how disingenuous the final painting would be. Rather than trudge on in formality, I imagine he just decided to paint the girls as they were. Sweet, gentleness with frequent movements. That is the nature of children being fully engaged in the moment not swaying from their need to be active. It came home with me because of all the things my imagination thought paired with my knowledge of sweet little girls. A reminder of the unique sweetness children bring to the world. 

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