I hope that everyone has enjoyed their Victoria Day weekend. Whilst noticing some of the photos of Queen Victoria that appear in the media over this weekend I decided to focus on the painting of an equally attractive woman from the past, my great great, great, great, great ( I don’t truly know how many greats) grandmother, Maria Farr, from about 1800. My grandparents brought this to Abbotsford from England when they arrived in 1908.
The painting hung on my grandparent’s wall when I was a child, and ended up with my cousin Art who kindly gave it to me out of storage because of my interest in the past.
This oil painting is at the entrance and greets every visitor to our house in Harrison Hot Springs. Two hundred years ago oil paintings were done to capture great beauty or because the subject was wealthy enough to pay to commission an artist. I assume in the case of this ancestor, her family had money. As a small child I always thought it was the painting of a male ancestor . Please no comments from anyone that they see a family resemblance.
In the seven years that the painting has been hanging at the entrance door in Harrison I have noticed that our number of visitors has continually decreased,from the early days of almost constant visitors to last year of few visitors when even Pam’s sister did not visit from Hawaii. I blame this painting as not being welcoming. I’m sure it’s the problem, not four obnoxious kids, two increasingly cranky parents and two overly friendly dogs with tongues the length of serpents, that like to lick.
In any event, despite my rambling comments above, I greatly treasure this painting and the piece of the past that it brings to me in terms of my family history. Victoria Day week end does the same thing. It is an opportunity to reflect on the past both good and bad, without sanitizing the past but to also to understand where we come from. It also helps us understand where we need to go as a society.
I hope that everyone got as much valuable family time from the weekend as I did.