Thoughts on all things garden themed from an antique dealer gone amuck! I write, play with the dogs, and fill my house with garden art. There is hardly time to work the dirt!

Copyright 2010-2013 Barbara Barth, Writer With Dogs

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose by John Singer Sargent

A favorite painting!

You see this image everywhere! It is copied by other artists (I am lucky to have a Sunday Artist's version in my collection. See at the end.) and has been reproduced on everything from tote bags to posters. I did a bit of research and thought I'd share it with you.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (Tate Gallery, London), a painting of light and mood , is the masterpiece of John Singer Sargent's early English career. The inspiration for this painting came during a boating trip Sargent took on the Thames at Pangbourne in September 1885, during which he saw Chinese lanterns hanging amoung trees and lilies. He began his work while staying at the home of the painter F.D. Millet at Broadway, Worcestershire, soon after his move to Britain from Paris. His first model was the Millet's five-year-old daughter Katharine, but she was soon replaced by Polly and Dolly Barnard, daughters of illustrator Frederick Barnard. They had the exact hair color Sargent was seeking. Dolly, 11, is on the left and Polly, 7, is on the right.

He worked on the picture, one of the few figure compositions he ever made out of doors in the Impressionist manner, from September to early November 1885, and again at the Millets's new home, Russell House, Broadway, during the summer of 1886, completing it some time in October. Sargent was able to work for only a few minutes each evening when the light was exactly right. He would place his easel and paints beforehand, and pose his models in anticipation of the few moments when he could paint the mauvish light of dusk. As autumn came and the flowers died, he was forced to replace the blossoms with artificial flowers.  Read more on the Tate Britain.

Artist Inspired

Luther Emerson Van Gorder's 1895 Japanese Lanterns

Luther Emerson Van Gorder's  (American, 1861–1931) 1895 Japanese Lanterns at the Tweed  Museum of Art was clearly modeled after Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and is one of their most popular paintings.

Some charming modern artist versions and a link to their websites.

Replica by Christian Flores-Cordova. Link here.

Student artist Jessica Reed (Coco-Puppy-Fluffy on

My own modern Sunday Artist version, acrylic on canvas, no signature, found online at Ebay.

 And detail

Not only are artists inspired by this painting, but a children's book has been written on the story behind the painting.

Written by Hugh Brewster, illustrated by John Singer Sargent, published in 2007. Available on Amazon.   Young Kate Millet is the model for the painting John Singer Sargent is working on in her parents' garden. Everyone says she is posing well, even though she finds it very hard to stand still. Then, one of her father's friends arrives with his two daughters. They're older, taller and have lighter hair than Kate. Sargent decides to use them as models instead. Kate is devastated. Based on numerous letters and recollections from the period, Hugh Brewster's story describes Kate's disappointment, the many difficulties experienced by the painter through the long artistic process, Kate's reconciliation with him and how she is immortalized on canvas after all. Illustrated with over 35 of Sargent's paintings and sketches, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose recreates the 1880s milieu of the famed American painter during an extended trip to England, and the thoughts and days of a girl who was there alongside him.

A beautiful English garden in Toronto was the scene of the book's launch party, September 2007. View photos from the party here.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Garden Clutter

I love clutter! Garden style clutter. Everywhere I look something pretty that reminds me of spring pops into view. I couldn't resist taking some photos. It's a lovely way to spend a dreary January afternoon!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Yorker Magazine Vintage Garden Covers

 The first three covers can be puchased on Etsy at onlinevintage.

I love the old New Yorker magazine covers and ran across a few garden related ones for sale on Etsy. I resisted buying them, but am sharing the links to the sellers in case you can't resist temptation. These are the old vintage covers, not reproductions, so the seller only has one for sale. Wouldn't they be charming framed in a garden room? As you may have figured out by now, I am a fool for art with garden themes!

Very interesting seed packs! Cover can be purchased here.

For Busy Man cover click here.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, French Artist, Garden Ladies

I love how a picture can bring back so many memories. Experiences and feelings long forgotten flow back as if it were just yesterday.  My evening check of the latest on Pinterest found the picture above. There was something familiar about the artist's style so I clicked on the link to see more. The picture was a small portion of a larger lithograph by French artist Jean-Paul Cassigneul. The name was very familiar to me from when I sold graphic art in the 1980s-early 90s (Silkscreens, lithographs, art posters, and prints) out of a room I rented in a friend's used book shop in Midtown Atlanta. I never sold much, but I could buy wholesale! In those days, with a tax number, you could buy art one piece at a time at wholesale prices. Shortly after I got my tax number the art world changed, you had to subscribe to buy the entire collection to get a wholesale price. That stopped my buying!  But for a brief period I was happy adding to my growing collection and attending the Art Expo in New York City with another art dealer friend of mine. It was a glorified hobby, but one I had a grand time with. Most of my graphic art collection is gone, sold as I found Ebay and changed to a love of Victorian / vintage oils. The theme of my art stays the same, women in gardens, with flowers, and, as a dog hoarder, I now have rooms filled with vintage dog paintings. The poster below is the one I remember most. I don't know if I bought it or just dreamed of it. It was one of my favorite pieces by the artist.

About the artist: (Jean-Pierre Cassigneul, French 1935 - )

Following in the tradition of the early 20th century French artists, Bonnard and Vuillard, Jean-Pierre Cassigneul creates beautiful compositions with great appeal. Born in Paris in 1935, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts

in Paris and held his first one-man exhibition there at the age of 17. Since then, his work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe, Japan and the United States, including shows at the Galerie Tivey Faucon and Galerie Bellechase, Paris; Gallery Tamenaga, Japan and Wally Fihdlay Gallery, New York. Cassigneul has also illustrated several books, including LE TOUR DE MALHEUR by Joseph Kessel.

Jean-Pierre Cassigneul went on to exhibit in various group exhibitions, including the Salon d' Automne in Paris (of which he was member), the Salon de la Jeune Peinture, and Meubles Tabeaux (Furniture-Paintings), an exhibition held in 1977 at the Centre Beau Bourg, where he showed a piece of occasional furniture in the Louis XIV manner, the doors and sides of, which were decorated with female figures.

He exhibited solo as of 1952, on a regular basis in France but also in New York, and Tokyo. Cassigneul is known for his charming and extremely popular Van Dongen-influenced paintings of women in floral hats, complete with frequent allusions to other aspects of the Années Folles. From RoGallery.

Enjoy the images below!

A dog in this poster, if I had only known I'd become dog crazy, this would have been a purchase!

Jean-Pierre Cassigneul was only seventeen when his first exhibition opened at the Lucy Krogh Gallery in 1952. It was also the year of his first poster, a plain unillustrated bill. Since then, he has produced around fifty posters which enlighten us on his artistic approach and the way his work has developed over the years. Most of the posters are lithographs, although a few were printed in offset on account of their strong advertising bias.  From the artist's official website. Note the website is in French, but in the top right corner a little flag translates to English when you click on it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Squirrel Chairs - Who Knew?

Green Adirondack Chair available at Doctors Foster and Smith for $15.99

I saw my first squirrel chair on Pinterest the other day and laughed til the dogs came running in to see what was going on! I thought it was a joke, a whimsical photo. Today I did a little checking on Google, and by golly, they make and sell squirrel chairs all over the place!

Squirrel chairs keep the squirrels away from your bird feeders and come in a variety of styles from commercially made to home made.

There are no bored squirrels in squirrel chairs!

Enjoy the You Tube video I borrowed showing a squirrel eating away.

Please let me know if you have a squirrel chair in your yard!

Order your own home made cedar squirrel chair on this site.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

"Miss Jaster's Garden" Children's Book

My 'thrift store' copy complete with added gold seal 'best illustrated children's book, The New York Times Book Review

Children's books have always been a favorite of mine. I love those lavishly illustrated and, if the story is garden themed, I am in my own private heaven!

I found a copy of Miss Jaster's Garden at a local thrift store! It is a large oversized Golden Book, copyright 1972. It is in excellent condition with very little wear. The book has an inscription to 'Emily' in the front. It was a Christmas gift to her from her cousins in 2005.

One of the things I love best about buying used books, you also get a bit of a peek into the history of the book, who gave it, when, what was the occassion. I love that. I have many late 1800s gardening books in my collection and the script and messages on the front pages always make me smile.

Niels Mogens Bodecker (1922-1988) was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, and came to the United States in 1952. He illustrated many children's books and wrote books and poetry himself. Miss Jaster's Garden was the first story both written and illustrated by Mr. Bodecker.

A brief summary of the story: 'Hedgie the hedgehog lives a quiet, peaceful little life in a little corner of Miss Jaster's garden...until the morning nearsighted Miss Jaster mistakenly plants some seeds on his back while he is sleeping. Before Hedgie knows it,a colorful bunch of flowers has sprouted among the quills! "I'm in bloom," he cries.

But when Miss Jaster thinks she sees her flowers walking by themselves, she is convinced that her garden has been pillaged by a flower thief and starts to chase after Hedgie. The small, frightened animal runs off and Miss Jaster must enlist the help of the constable to find the runaway 'flower bed'. Will Hedgie ever be able to return to the garden he loves?'

This book will steal your heart with its charming illustrations and enchanting story!

I plan to share more of my book collection here on my blog and hope you will enjoy these treasures as much as I do.

Miss Jaster's Garden is available on Amazon. You can link to it here and peek inside on Amazon.

And a better cover photo!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Fresh Start

Changes. 2013 will be about a fresh start and change! I closed my shop last year, which was a major event in my life. I loved my shop, but it was the original money pit! The rest of 2012 bloomed full of surprises. In August, a seventeen-year-old foreign exchange student from Italy came to live with me. I've never been a 'mom' before, so this is an engaging challenge. She is teaching me patience and I am trying to teach her to plan ahead. Her favoirte answer to my question, what are you doing tonight? today? tomorrow? is i.d.k or I don't know! She will be with me through June.

The sunflower seems a great symbol since I dream of going to Tuscany. One of my favorite books and movies was Under The Tuscan Sun. Perhaps I am one step closer! I just need to find a dog sitter for my six dogs at home. 

My  blog format for Barb's Botanical Garden has changed. I wanted a new look to inspire me to post, just as I hope for a new look in my yard this spring! The old white picket fence with it's huge sunflower to the side has been replaced with an avatar for me! But perhaps I am older and a bit heavier, still, I love the image above.

I am not a great gardener, but I do plant seeds of ideas and find myself in trouble a good bit of time trying to make my plans life rather than in the dirt.  I plan to keep a journal here of my love for all things garden related and then some!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pansies For Thought

Purchased today at a local antique mall, an early, primitive style pansy painting.

Today a trip out for lunch and a dash through a local antique mall added a new painting to my already overwhelming collection of vintage and Victorian flower oils.  I seem to be on  a shopping spree this month, but the treasures I've found can't be left behind.

I love the folklore behind old fashioned flower names. My antique garden book collection contains several copies of The Language of Flowers.

Pansies mean 'to think', particularly of love. The flower's name comes from the French word pensee, which means thought. The French believed that a pansy would make your lover think of you.

My new painting brought back many thoughts, as I remembered the days I sold vintage art on Ebay. It was a lovely time. Ebay was just starting out and the excitement of finding treasures from the comfort of your home, kept me in trouble most days. Boxes, upon boxes, were delivered to my house, each filled with a wonderful old painting with a flower or garden theme. I bought more than I sold, but the selling was good too.

My husband was alive then, and thought I'd lost my mind, with all my purchases, and the walls of our house full of nail holes covered by paintings. It always took at least three tries with a hammer to get a painting positioned the way I like. He told me once there was nothing more terrifying than watching me walk around a room with a hammer.

My new painting is on a round wood box top. The background is a soft robins egg blue, the color of an early morning sky in spring. The simple flowers, so gently painted, remind me of a time when I was more naive, my home complete, before my life changed. The delicate pansy faces made me smile, as I thought about the man who captured my heart so many years ago.

A Victorian Postcard full of Pansies reads Think of Me.

Life, like a garden, is constantly in flux. Today my garden is full of memories, tomorrow I might just fill it with pansies!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Dreaming At The Garden Table

An Outdoor Garden Dining Table Is A Great Place To Dream

A quick trip to meet a friend for coffee turned into an afternoon of redecorating my dining room. My friend, an antique dealer, had a truck full of treasures she had just picked up. I couldn't miss it as I pulled into the parking lot at The Waffle House. Garden green metal chair legs caught my attention, even before I saw her waving to me from the door way.

"Come on. I need coffee!" She yelled across the parking lot.

"I think I see something here I need more!"

I was already standing on my toes, peeking in on an amazing garden table and chairs. My own dining room table was a great old farm table, but not the right height to eat at. A new table was on my mind, but I was not looking just yet.

And then......there it was. The perfect set for me. We had coffee and drove to my house. On a dreary day, a bit of summer shined down on me . The garden table fit perfectly into my dining room and it is a place I sit and dream of my garden this spring.

My house is my indoor garden. Old lovely cement ladies and frogs fill nooks and sit on table tops. Oil paintings of gardens, Victorian roses, and women with bouquets leave very little white space on my walls. This charming set was the perfect addition.

I spend many hours looking at garden photos, old gardening books. I wonder if this will be the year I bloom outdoors. My yard is full, three outbuildings, a huge deck, the Lady of Lilburn life size vintage cement muse sits tucked next to a lattice trellis that blooms with jasmine when the season changes. Yet I rarely plant flowers and my front yard is neglected. The established beds bloom out of control with butterfly bushes that reach so high they mingle with the brances of the crepe myrtle tree, but it is not as lovely as I'd like.

I want to journal here as I plan my work in the yard. There is a good chance, however, the writer in me will write more than I plant, and my antique dealer side will still shop for more garden treasures. The artist in me wants to paint garden scenes more than dig in the dirt. The dreamer in my heart sees a garden full of the cottage flowers I love and herbs that leave a fragrent scent as I brush pass them going down my gravel path to the little cottage out back.

For now I'll share my dining room. We'll see what blooms in time.