Years ago I traveled overseas for business and was gone for two weeks at a time. I traveled alone and kept my suitcase filled with paperback books. It was the perfect way to spend the evening after finishing up my reports and preparing for the next city.
On the long trip from New York to Egypt I consumed a romance mystery novel, The Mummy. It wasn’t the classic story, definitely a romance. I wish I could remember the author. I do remember the story taking place in the 1920’s. When I got to Cairo I stepped back in time. I walked through the Cairo Museum, a smallish building, that was filled to overflowing with mummies and sarcophagi. I took the obligatory trip to the Sphinx and Pyramids.
On a drive through the desert to Alexandria with my Egyptian colleague I saw sand dunes as large as mountains and in the distance large tanker ships that seemed to float through the desert. They were going through the Suez Canal. Business-wise the trip was a success. Personally, I reread my book as I experienced Egypt. It was more wonderful the second time.
When I returned home I once again scoured my local bookstore (we had them then) for something new. I found Elizabeth Peters. She’s become one of my favorite authors. She writes about Amelia Peabody, a Victorian woman deeply in love with her husband, archaeologist Lord Radcliffe Emerson, her son, Ramses, and Egypt. The stories are filled with mystery, adventure, romance and Egypt.
You can find out more about Lady Amelia in a post by Shelley Noble wrote a while ago as well as on Amelia Peabody‘s own website.
I know some of you write about Egypt, Greece and Rome. Tell me about them.
Lamia and the Soldier, by John William Waterhouse
You’ve heard the old saying that History repeats itself, right? Of course you have. But it’s not just the events of History that have a way of resurfacing every now and then. People have a tendency to look back to an earlier age for inspiration on both an artistic and spiritual level. At the end of the 18th century and in the Regency the trend was to look back to the ancient world of Greece and Rome. But as the 19th century progressed, artists and scholars began to take another look at a period of time that many of their contemporaries had written off as dark, bleak, and unenlightened: the Middle Ages.
In fact, Medievalism became such a fad with so many off-shoots by the end of the 19th century, that we are still feeling the effects of the revival today. What started as a small movement amongst painters and poets, a reaction against the modernization of Realism, turned into an expansion of creativity that today’s fantasy and paranormal fans would recognize, in spirit and practice. (more…)
“The whole world is Angelicamad.”
The above-quote, attributed to the Danish envoy to London or an engraver (depending on who you ask) perfectly describes a superstar of Georgian England.
Angelica Kauffman (1741 – 1807) was already famous on the Continent before her arrival in England. She was the daughter of an itinerant painter who early on recognized her talent and took her to Italy where she became a child prodigy famous in portraiture but also in music. Her mother taught her several languages, among them English, and this brought her to the notice of wealthy British patrons on the grand tour. She was invited to England by the ambassador’s wife. Shrewdly, the painter sent an ambassador of her own ahead–a portrait she executed of the island’s most famous actor, David Garrick.