Millicent, Duchess of Sutherland by John Singer Sargent, 1904

Escaliers (HDR) - Manoir au piano, 2014

Who Is Sylvia? - Edwin Austin Abbey

Marie Egner (detail)
By 1940
Friendly reminder that anyone born between 1985-1998 didn’t get their hogwarts letter because Voldemort’s ministry wiped out the record of muggleborns

Today’s the day!

Floral decor   ❤ liked on Polyvore

Rupert Friend & Emily Blunt in ‘The Young Victoria’ (2009).

This is Alphonse Mucha’s poster for the 1887 premiere of Sardou’s play La Tosca, written for and starring Sarah Bernhardt, who was the reigning doyenne of Parisian theater at the time. Apparently the walking stick Bernhardt-as-Tosca is holding sparked a fad.
Tosca, as a French play, has Cavaradossi only half an Italian; his mother is Parisian (related to the philosopher Helvétius, no less, and his father was pals with Diderot), and he has grown up in France. In the usual course of plays adapted into operas, the play has a much more completely sketched political plot, and, unsurprisingly, valorizes Napoleon’s victory of Marengo far more than the opera does, adding various politicians and Frenchmen in exile to the cast of characters. The opera libretto, extensively adapted by Italians, obscures a lot of this Francocentrism (and, apparently, corrects the church — Sardou wrote it as Sant’Andrea al Quirinale, the opera team changed it to Sant’Andrea della Valle, which may have been what Sardou actually had in mind as it fits the action better).
The famous business of the candles and the cross comes directly from the play, and was written with Bernhardt’s talents in mind, as she was particularly famed for acting without dialogue. (An interesting question for the opera crew: does knowing about the deep origin of the stage business and its centrality to Tosca’s character arc give it a status comparable to the sung dialogue, as far as elements of the text that cannot be ignored in a stage production? Though to be fair there are several productions that have no trouble blithely contradicting lines in the libretto as well.)

"Picking Wild Flowers" (also known as "Picking Daisies") (1905) (detail) by Hermann Seeger (1857-1945).