Saturday, 23 November 2013


When I received this card from Daire who lives in a small town by the sea I thought it was a coastal view of perhaps cockle pickers, how wrong could I be.  It is actually a view of the ancient Portuguese city of Coimbra which lives well inland, sitting on the Mondego River.  The National Library of Portugal describes the people in the painting as washerwomen and there certainly seem to be a lot of them.  I love the dash of colour of the basket in the foreground which curls like a shell . The painting is by James Holland (1799-1870) who is probably most famous for his watercolours.  He was born in Burslem, Staffordshire so it is no surprise that the Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent own quite a few of both his oil and watercolour paintings.  He also produced drawings for illustrated annuals, travelling throughout Europe, first visiting Portugal in 1837 but making more than one trip.  There seem to be quite a few interpretations of this view by him, one coming up for auction at Christies as recently as 2011.  This version however is one engraved by Edward Goodall (1794-1870) for the publication "The Tourist in Portugal".  (Goodall was the foremost metal engraver of his day and was used extensively by GMW Turner).

I seem to be receiving a lot of postcards recently that are sent from an entirely different country than the view they show and this one is not exception because it came from
Estonia with one of the post horn definitives and the 2013 Estonian Fauna stamp of a weasel in  the summer grass (in winter it coat will turn white).  Thank you Daire for including the sheet margin complete with little miniature weasel.    

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