Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Pauline in the Yellow Dress, Herbert James Gunn, 1944

I see this painting on my desktop every day ... I can't remember why I dragged it there but it has become my gateway to BBC's Your Paintings, my favourite website, where I drop in constantly for work and for pleasure.

So when I realised I'd be passing through Preston on my way to the Lakes, I thought I'd break the journey to visit Pauline at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery.

Isn't she a glamour puss, with her 'shampoo and set' hairdo, her red lips and painted toenails peeping out from her shoe? (The Daily Mail called her 'the Mona Lisa of 1944.'

Dorette, Gerald Leslie Brockhurst, 1933

Then I came across Dorette ... don't you think she could be a Daphne du Maurier heroine?

In the Golden Olden Time, John Atkinson Grimshaw, c 1870

One of the best things about visiting provincial museums is running into old friends - like this Atkinson Grimshaw - and thinking, 'Well, fancy that, I never realised you lived here!' Is this a Wilkie Collins' heroine on her way to confront the brute who seduced her and got her with child ....
Or is she just an ordinary woman walking briskly home to a welcoming fireplace? (No prizes for guessing that I prefer the Victorian melodrama option.)

Girl Reading, Harold Knight, 1932
 I was sorry that this old favourite didn't appear to be on display. (Back in 12 months, apparently.)

Preston Corporation Chrysanthemum House, Albert Woods, 1921
And I would have loved to have seen these splendid chrysanths.

The Harris Museum is one of those wonderful examples of Victorian civic pride and there are some magnificent buildings in the city centre. I strolled for an hour - it's easy to wander out of Victorian splendour and into present day poverty/drugs - but I also discovered this beautiful Georgian square and a café that was like stepping back to the 1930s.

And then ... I jumped back on the train and headed for Art Deco Morecambe.


Miranda said...

Glorious pictures! I'd love to visit that museum. It looks full of treasures. BBC Your Paintings is one of my very favourite websites too!

mary said...

It's a lovely museum for pottering, Miranda - the building itself is stunning - and there are lovely displays of Victorian card cases and scent bottles and Horrockses dresses. If you're ever passing that way, it's worth a detour.

Pauline dorking said...

I am looking for a print or postcard of pauline in the yellow dress i live in london can anyone help me thanks pauline

mary said...

Try the Harris Museum, in Preston - it's a very popular picture, I'm sure they'll have something.