Cracks in the Varnish

This is a side-by-side comparison of an unfinished portrait (mirror view) of Sir Henry Lee by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger to one of Henry Holiday’s various depictions of the Bellman in Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark.

There are several different depictions of The Bellman which Henry Holiday contributed to Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark. The one on the left side of this comparison is a detail from the illustration by Henry Holliday and Joseph Swain to the chapter The Landing. On the right side you see a mirrored rendering of an unfinished portrait of Sir Henry Lee (c. 1600) by the Tudor court painter Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger.

This is not a face comparison. The noses and the eyes are different. In this case, Holiday’s pictorial allusions refer to the surrounding patterns of Lee’s face, not to the face itself. As in several other cases, Holiday maintained the topological relation between the quoted shapes.

Holiday even alluded to the cracks in the varnish of Gheerart’s painting.

 

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