Figure 1 from Julien Barois’ book entitled ‘Les irrigations en Égypte’.
Aspect of a flood basin during the flood. Giza Plateau, Egypt, 1891. ph. G. Lekegian.
Figure 1 from Julien Barois’ book entitled ‘Les irrigations en Égypte’.
Aspect of a flood basin during the flood. Giza Plateau, Egypt, 1891. ph. G. Lekegian.
Botanical study of moss (bird’s nest?), holly and white flowers by William Henry Hunt (known as ‘Bird’s Nest Hunt’ for his liking for painting nests)
Watercolour and bodycolour.
© The Trustees of the British Museum.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license.
Chasseur in the Forest, 1813, by Caspar David Friedrich
Vintage 1890s hat (source)
A gentleman's brass signet ring with a ship ( maybe a frigate), by unknown, 19th century
Unamed victorian crossover, rough draft.
"All set to go, Mina darling?" Van Helsing's voice rang through the empty studio, wooden walls covered in cobwebs and dusty windows barely letting any light through places that weren't cracks made by bullets.
Mina took a good look at the scene, some broken furniture older than Van Helsing himself, curtains scattered into the floor, red stains of the vital crimson liquid she came to associate with her former source of torment, she had no time to think of him, with fist clenched and a sigh she turned back to the already graying man who smiled and waited for her, "At least in here, If only Johnathan was here… I would ask him to boil some water for me, I'll need a hot bath after this…"
"Understandable, understandable, may I recommend a warm drink after? It soothes the spirit, darling."
"Probably will…" She looked back as she started to walk, Mina had to remind herself that the creature laying on the floor was not a poor infected soul just like Lucy once was (may she rest in peace), the poor thing was an animal of sorts, a deer? Maybe a goat? A deformed version of them, the blood seemed fresh when they arrived, no signs of predation however, even stranger, the poor animal had what looked like clumsily done stitches. Some months ago her and Van Helsing received a letter from some form of authority on Geneva whose identity was irrelevant to the case, disappearances of people and animals, trails of blood, it would seem like their area of investigation and yet once there no sign of vampirism was found.
Records of disappearances can be found from the late 1780s to late 1790s, specially of humans, particularly a poor family, with two confirmed murders, once charged to a family friend and the other for a member of said family who was never to be seen again.
"Whatever this is, Abraham, it isn't a vampire…"
"Well not all of them are like our friend Dracula, dear, some let the need for blood drive them to commit some… eccentricities, madness, remember Seward's patient? What was his name again?"
"Renfield? Renfield was a puppet who lost his mind, whoever did this must have a reason?"
"And how can you be so sure?"
"This place, Van Helsing, look around and ignore the ruins and damage. Can you see an individual making this place a safe liar to experiment? A home perhaps, all the decorations around it? Because I do, not to mention that somebody must have shot the window, if not our suspect then anybody who knew who was in here."
Winter was waiting them on the outside and both had to make sure their coats were well secured, hopefully the horses were doing well, "You have a fair point, dear Wilhelmina, but we cannot do much for today, now, let us walk away from this and call it a day, we shall find the answer tomorrow." Van Helsing shrugged, straightening the wrinkles in his coat, "I will buy you the best tea I can find when we get back to the village."
Mina had something to look forward too, other than to be sleepless at night wondering if little barely one year old Quincey was doing well or missing his mom and if Johnathan hadn't burned down the house yet— No, no, no, they will— are fine, she would get in her horse and come back to the village to drink tea and eat biscuits and even get a couple of shots if needed and— her horse… the horses, neither her or Van Helsing needed to be equine experts to know the poor animals were scared out of their minds, tossing and trying to get rid of their saddles, untie themselves, run as fast as they could from the place.
That was all it took for her to get her pistol out and ready, her companion did the same and all they could do was to keep an eye open and hope whatever was out there was easy to spot among the bright white snow.
The sun blinded her, she had to squint in order to get any semblance of visibility she'll need in order to aim, was that the noise of hooves? Footsteps? Her finger was ready to pull the trigger, she could hear the chattering of Van Helsing's teeth, the dutch must be smiling and trying to keep himself from laughing, her shoulders tensed, she still hears the sound, footsteps, thump, thump, thump, muffled, slow, breathing or just the wind?
Thump, thump, thump.
"Abraham…" if she acted now, she would have a clean shot, "How common are giants around these parts?"
Breathe in, breathe out, steady hand, steady aim, eyes on the target so the bullet isn't lost.
Mina didn't have enough time to react as she was tossed to the ground, her pistol had fallen and gotten lost in the snow, the horses were trying to free themselves as they whinnying grew louder and louder to the point she swore her ears were going to start bleeding, the trashing of her heart and her exasperated breathing joining the wretches cacophony that played during the pandemonium, cold, cold, cold, even with her gloves on, the bullet was still in, she only needed a clear shot to the head.
The head… Assuming that would be enough.
A massive figure covered in a coat that had seen better says and mangled long black hair hunched over Abraham, the man was a fighter, thankfully, good enough to be able to defend himself, but Mina's ears didn't deceive her, that was the sound of a man choking, not even Van Helsing could free himself from such creature, if she was to fail him she would at least try not to fail the shot.
"Who—" even in such dire situations the old dutchman insisted on talking, albeit barely intelligible, had the creature seen her? Was she deemed as not enough of a threat to get rid of first? Her shaking hands were good enough with any sort of firearm on them, "Who are—"
Van Helsing's gasps for air were loud enough to be heard above the horses' fear, among the chaos she was able to hear mumbling, broken, tired, defeated mumbling, no rage, nor ill-will, mumbling that had to come from the creature.
The air would soon leave Van Helsing's body unless she acted quickly, and the old man still had something to say.
"Who did this to you?"
Mina pulled the trigger at that moment.
The bullet missed by mere inches, as she stood frozen she saw the creature slowly standing up as Van Helsing's body felt to the cold, snow riddled grown, clutching his chest and taking breaths as deep as he could, the hulking figure slowly turned to meet her eyes, his gaze, bloodshot, yellow eyes, teary bloodshot yellow eyes and a face riddled of stitches and a mismatch of features with flesh and bone exposed.
"Who did this to you?" Asked once more Van Helsing.
The creature slowly backed away, hair covering the face Mina had seen so clearly just seconds ago.
"Father…" she heard from the lips (or lack thereof) of the giant.
Mina pulled the trigger once more, it was an instinct of sorts, she watched as the bullet hit the creature, another, another, piercing the rotten flesh of the creature, the poor being slowly falling down, mouth ajar, eyes wide as saucers, she only walked forward, reloading her pistol, kneeling down, the monster was around her size, Van Helsing was finally recovering his breath, slowly, shakingly standing up, Mina's eyes were locked on the target, who had been frozen ever since the bullets hit the flesh, no blood or anything resembling gore, not even pain, simple holes and shock that she didn't understand and had no time to.
"Mina…" she heard.
All she could think of was staying away from the fight, trying to convince herself that she was doing the right thing, trying to tell herself everyone was safe.
She hated herself for quivering in fear as the thought of what he did to her, she hated herself for not being there to fight back, for not being there for Lucy, for Quincey. She could've done something, she should've— She protected herself, that day she stated her own well being as a priority.
Mina will still blame herself about the things she didn't do, but she will take pride in keeping herself alive. Had she not done that, she wouldn't be holding monsters to gunpoint and avoiding others to go through what she and many others had.
"Wilhemina, he is talking to us!"
Mina shook her head. The creature talked once more, soft, barely hearable. Enough for her to lower her weapon.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so— I cannot apologize enough for my actions—"
"I…" she mumbled, "I should apologize too…"
The creature— man, or perhaps boy, was fine, albeit with a few wounds that he claimed, caused no pain, he took them back to the old wooden studio, they calmed the horses, even manage to find a place on the building to give them shelter, the man had made a small fire out of old furniture, her and Abraham had to sit on the floor as the figure acted almost out of habit in a routine consisting on cleaning the old place.
"You are the first visitors," he had told them as he offered various nuts and berries as supper, "You can call me creature, devil, monster, abomination if you will."
"Of course not!" she said, she had to admit the guilt of using one or two terms before, "Why would we do that?"
"My father did."
"Father…" interrupted Abraham, "And who may that man be?"
"A poor soul who called himself a scientist."
"And did that scientist even care to name you, my boy?"
"He never did, Victor Frankenstain was never keen on his creation."
As soon as the words left his mouth, something made Mina's heart stop, almost choke on her meal, Victor, Victor Frankenstein, allegedly disappearing after the murder of his wife, who he was a suspect of, acused of murdering Henry Clerval at some point, claiming to have the real culprit of his brother's murder, a poor student who dissapeared from class and one day was gone from the map for years until a ship came ashore to England, a man named Robert Walton claiming to have taked to the real Victor Frankenstein. That's what the documents said.
"I should have been the Adam to his creation yet he decided I was not worthy of such a title."
"Adam suits you well, however." Said Van Helsing in between munching the food on his plate, "Shall we call you Adam?"
She remembers letters, worn out by time, barely readable, Mina didn't dare to touch over-a-century old pieces of their research, at first she thought those were nothing but nonsense made up by a sailor with too much free time, but if there's something she had learned was that there is truth even in the most strange cases, she should've had known.
A tale of a man damned by his own hubris and fears. The creature was real and he was nothing but a lost soul instead of a monster or demon, she should've have thought of the letters earlier, she wouldn't have even pulled the trigger is she had any idea of—
"Am I truly deserving of a name? After my actions? Should I be called anything but evil? Monstrous? Damned?"
"I hold no grudges son, I know your actions were out of fear and self defense, I have gotten out of worse!"
Mina cleared her throat, shoulders tense, gathering some courage before speaking, "Is it true? She began, "How much do you know of Robert Walton? Of the letters he sent to his sister, the story of the man who created you, how much do you know?" She asked, his eyes staring in awe at her, mouth slightly opened, "Adam…"
Van Helsing remained silent and so did she as Adam tried finding the right words, she hoped he was doing that instead of keeping it to himself, was it bad that she wanted to know? Had her hunger for answers turned her into something to be afraid of? Adam looked at the mess of the mangled animal corpse they found earlier, how did they even ignore that? Adam sighed, "I knew of him, by name and I knew his face, of his letters and sister, I learned from Victor's last words, I knew from my father's delirious state before he finally died, I never pondered if word of me got out, only that I had to hide. I have blood on my hands and I must pay the consequences by remaining here..."
"The… animal, the experiments—"
Adam continued talking, "I buried Frankenstein in these grounds, now his bones are somewhere deep in the snow, an unmarked grave for a man who disappeared, I kept his notes, I did as I could with the animals that came near to create another one who was like me, I defied the same broken laws that allowed my wretched existence out of selfishness and I paid the consequences the times I was seen by any soul who deemed me too monstrous to be alive—"
"Monstrous!? You have yet to see real monsters!" Had she really said that? "Adam Frankenstein I have seen evil with my own eyes and being it's marionette, you are far from a monster!"
"Mina, I think you should—"
"Look at the boy and tell me he is a monster, Abraham Van Helsing."
"Mrs. Mina, I do agree with you but please consider…"
"Consider what, Van Helsing?
"Our host may not be keen on such strong emotions…"
Looking back at poor Adam, he seemed to be agasth, petrified, scared? Clutching where the bullets had hit before, she had to find a good way to apologize for that. Abraham did have a point, at the end of the day, perhaps she had let herself go, perhaps she was too much? But was she wrong? Her actions, perhaps, she wanted to think they were good.
"Adam," Van Helsing spoke, "Are you alright, boy?"
He blinked just a couple of times.
"You have been kind… Van Helsing... Mrs…"
"Harker, Mina Harker."
He sighed, "You must go, however, for I only bring disgrace upon those who show me kindness…"
"Nonsense! Will you hurry us to be away just so you can go back to isolation!?" Said the dutchman.
"If I must."
"This cannot be good for you, son."
"It is good for the others…"
"Nonsense once more, you are coming with us!"
Even Mina wanted to ask what the old man was planning. Sure, more life in isolation couldn't be good but the people's reaction could potentially be worse. "Abraham…"
"Adam Frankenstein, you are coming with us to meet the outside world, if you are with us that should grant you safety, the world has changed, boy, hopefully it'll be more welcoming." The man stood up and began walking away, Mina followed as Adam stood still, "Come with us, if this has been your jail then you have done your time, you are a free man now, Adam, and you shall see the world under new eyes."
She had nothing to say. Neither did Adam. Did she think of him deserving of a second chance? Surely now she did. Did Mina think that was a good idea? That was a whole different story.
"Can you keep up with the horses, boy?"
"I can, I have run longer distances with no consequences whatsoever."
"Excellent, then we shall leave immediately."
"Abraham, it's the middle of the night in winter…"
"And this is Geneva, not the Arctic Circle."
She sighed as she saw Van Helsing going to get the horses back, her gaze directed to an Adam that was a mix of shock and excitement, perhaps even fear, she would be lying if she said she didn't feel something similar.
If they were to leave, they better hurry up, "Welcome to the family, Adam Van Helsing," she joked, a simple attempt at lighting up the mood, possibly failing at doing so.
"Van Helsing," he said, as if to examine each syllable, "Van Helsing…"
One Dress a Week Challenge
The Young Victoria / Miranda Richardson as the Duchess of Kent
*Is she having a bad time? Yes. (She gets publicly humiliated by the king at dinner. Not that she doesn't deserve it, at least up to a point.)
Honestly, I can't decide whether I like 1830s styles or not. Sometimes they're a case of "more is more," and sometimes they're just too far over the top. But I do think this dress is one of the more attractive examples of the style. The contrasting fabrics and embroidery make it visually interesting, and the silhouette is almost 17th-century. Not having an exaggerated bonnet probably helps. The dress also has a long train, as you can see in the second picture, where it's being carried behind her.
Here's a detail of the embroidery on her sleeve, seen through a carriage window:
Three Early Prints of Quebec, Canada, by unknown, early 19th century
Pierre Auguste Renoir: Young Girls at the Piano, 1892
The painting at the top is the final composition in the Musée d'Orsay. The one below it is at the Musée de l'Orangerie. It is a preparatory sketch painted the same year. I think I like the sketch better.
Photos by Charles Reeza, Paris, October 2021
Madame de Loynes, 1862, by Amaury-Duval - Musée d'Orsay
Marie-Anne Detourbay, aka Mademoiselle Jeanne de Tourbey, and by marriage the Countess of Loynes was a half-socialite who held an influential literary and political salon in Paris under the Second Empire and the Third Republic. A half-socialite is a woman whose status oscillates between a courtesan and a mistress maintained by a wealthy man. Though technically married to the Count de Loynes, they never had a genuine relationship as he was in America most of the time. The countess later became the mistress of the French writer and drama critic Jules Lemaître, 15 years her junior.
Photos by Charles Reeza
I was mesmerized by this portrait as soon as I saw it.
Details: The Wave, Ivan Aivazovsky, 1889
Today's 1850s-ish drawing practice. She didn't feel like waring a bonnet (and that's lucky for me, since I can't draw them!), but she is well-equipped with gloves and a shawl
i swear to god italians try to pretend they're oppressed
Ludmila Savelyeva as Natasha Rostova in War and Peace (1966)
Velleda by Laurent-Honoré Marqueste 1877. Height: 140 cm (55.1 in); Width: 72 cm (28.3 in); Depth: 163 cm (64.1 in). Musée des Augustins de Toulouse. This statue of prophetess Veleda could be found in the Toulouse Grand-Rond (a giant roundabout as well as a public garden) about 100 years ago.
"Munius Lupercus, commander of a legion, was sent, among other gifts, to Veleda. This maiden of the tribe of the Bructeri enjoyed extensive authority, according to the ancient German custom, which regards many women as endowed with prophetic powers and, as the superstition grows, attributes divinity to them. At this time Veleda's influence was at its height, since she had foretold the German success and the destruction of the legions." -Tacitus, The Histories: Book 4, Chapter 61
Velleda receives the desired loot by Hermann Hirsch Pinhas 1795-1844. 21.3 x 16.7 cm, Printing plate: 20 x 16 cm, Representation: 15.7 x 11.8 cm.
"Munius Lupercus never became her slave: he was killed on his way to Veleda. We do not know why. A few months later, the Batavians captured the flagship of the Roman navy, which they proceeded to tow up the river Lippe to present it to the prophetess, who lived in a large tower near the river." -taken from Livius
Carmela Bertagna, John Singer Sargent, ca. 1880
Velleda, moon effect, by Jules-Eugène Lenepveu 1883. Height: 231 cm (90.9 in); Width: 131.5 cm (51.7 in). Musée des Beaux-Arts de Quimper.
Summary: It's the 19th century and you're invited to your first masquerade ball. With everyone including you, hidden in their masks and costumes, you come across a man with eyes so heavenly, you just fell in love.
Pairings: Josh Kiszka x Fem!Reader
A/N: this is the first fanfiction I have ever done so my apologies if it's not the best. I would appreciate it if you leave feedback!
The two guards proceeded to let you into this extraordinary building. There were crystal Chandeliers that would light up the magnificent hall perfectly. It's was wonderful. Everyone was having a pleasant time as they all swayed gracefully to the music. You wondered how someone like you would be invited to a gorgeous occasion like this.
You made sure your masquerade mask was in place and made your way near the orchestra. You were wearied, you had not a single person to talk to. You glanced around the hall feeling sheepish. Then suddenly felt a fast breeze pass you, you glance even more to find out what that was. It can't be from the windows, they're all closed. It could be from a person. It could be from him. A man wearing beige leather boots and bottoms, a pure white waist and frockcoat with gold piping and a mask that stood out from the dancing crowd. You walked towards him but didn't want to be a bother as he was now talking to a few noblemen. So you sauntered back to where you started and stayed there.
“Would you like a wine, ma'am?” A bartender then suddenly requested. “Yes please, that will be marvellous.” The bartender moved the tray towards you to choose. You chose the red wine and took a swig of it. As soon as you put the rim of the glass away from your cerise lips his eyes were on yours. Beautiful and brown. They were heavenly. You got trapped in them.
He then looked like he was walking closer to you. It was hard to not gaze. “Why is a woman so ravishing like you not having anyone to dance with?” You didn't realise how close he was. “Oh uh, I'm not quite sure to be truthful.” Your wine glass was shaking and realised it was you getting nervous. so you quickly put it down on the nearest table. “Well then, may I?” He had his hand out to you with a smug look plastered on his face. You just took his hand without warning. “You may,” You replied. The man escorted you to the crowd. “Now tell me what is your name, darling?” He questioned you. “It’s Y/N.” You answered.
The man went to bow. “It's a pleasure to meet you, Y/N, I'm Joshua but you can call me Josh for short.” You then went to curtsy. “Well Joshua, it's a pleasure to meet you too.” The both of you rose and proceeded to get into position to start dancing. Josh had a hand on your waist, the other hand in yours and you had one of your arms around his shoulder. You both stared at each other eyes. You were falling in love. “Are you ready?” Josh queried. “I'm ready.” You nodded. The orchestra began playing and both of you started moving back and forth to the rhythm. You felt comfortable but didn't know whether it was Josh or you just love to dance. “I must say Y/N, you are quite a dancer.” You giggle. “Why thank you, you're not too bad yourself.”
Josh stopped dancing and pulled you out of the crowd. “Josh, what are you doing?” You questioned. “Taking you where nobody can see us,” Josh answered. ”And why is that?” He ignored you. Both of you dashed to the outside door and found the most well-kempt garden you have ever seen. “Wow, this is so magical.” You whispered. “Yes, it is.” Josh smiled. “Why did you bring me here?” You responded. Josh cleared his throat. “Well, you see Y/N, now that we are alone, we can remove these pesky things.” He pointed at his mask.
“R-really?” You stuttered. “Why of course, I can't get to know you well if I can't see the rest of that face of yours,” Josh replied. “Shall we do it at the same time?” You inquired. “If you think that will be best, it's fair with me.” You sigh and bring your digits to each corner of your mask, Josh did the same. Our masks were released from our now revealed features. You realised that your eyes were sealed. You opened them. And God you never saw anything like it.
A face that could launch a thousand ships. The complexion of an angel. He looked unrealistic. You notice that Josh had patterns of gold paint and sequins on his cheekbones which made him look more angelic. “My God, I never saw a face so divine in my 25 years of living,” Josh spoke astonished. You laugh. “Don't be silly.” Disagreeing with Joshua’s compliment. “Y/N, I would die at a brutal battle just to see your eyes.” You look down with crimson cheeks. Josh used his index finger to lift your chin to look up to his beautiful brown irises.
“What's wrong, why getting all sheepish?” Josh curiously questioned. “It’s nothing negative, it's just not a single soul has said something so heartfelt to me before.” You replied. “Well, they have a problem cause you are beyond gorgeous.” You giggled. It got silent for a moment. But not until Josh threw his mask onto the damp gravel and had his hands on either side of your face and pressed his soft lips onto yours. You never got so lost in a kiss before. It got more passionate. Tounges were stirring. Lips curving into grins.
You pulled away from the kiss to see eyes so hungrily looking at yours. "Wow Y/N, you are something else.” Josh chuckled scratching the back of his head. “Well, I could say the same for you as you were the one that kissed me first.” It got silent once more. “Did you like it?” Josh inquired. You glance at Josh. “Of course, now I'm pleading for more.” You say with a smirk. Josh stepped forward to kiss again but someone chimed in. “Broth- oh well this is a surprise!” A gentleman who had a couple of Josh’s features strolled and wrapped an arm on Joshua’s shoulder. “What's going on here then, brother, who's this beauty?”
“Jacob, I would like you to meet Y/N and Y/N this is Jacob, my brother.” Josh introduced. Jacob snatched a hand of yours and gave it a little peck. “Lovely to meet you Y/N but it's past Josh's bedtime, come on josh the carriage is not waiting.” Jacob let go and jogged up into the building. “Will we see each other again, Josh?” You interrogated. “I'm sure we will, I can feel it in my heart and soul, darling.” You both pressed your lips together once more. “So don't worry, I'll find you someday.” Josh continued as your foreheads touch each other. His hands let go from yours. You never wanted him to leave. You watched as his whole body left your arms.
Josh made it halfway inside. “Josh!” You cried. He looked back one last time. “Yes, Y/N?” He retorted. “I love you.” You muttered. He heard it and sighed in relief as he was waiting for something like that to be said. “I love you too, darling, see you soon.” He waved and walked forward to the garden’s exit.
You wanted that night to last for an eternity and forever will hear those words in your head.
“I'm sure we will, I can feel it in my heart and soul, darling.”
“So don't worry, I'll find you someday.”
“I love you too, darling, see you soon.”