Among the (many) challenges of writing historicals, is the lack of photographs. What did people really look like? Our best sources are portraits and, let’s face it, they can look strange and unattractive to modern eyes.
The painter’s art can also come into a story, evoking emotions or providing a plot point: a miniature of an absent loved one or a portrait of a parent, perhaps. Remember when Elizabeth visits Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice?
Darcy’s portrait is a definite “moment,” a turning point in her view of him.
Elizabeth walked in quest of the only face whose features would be known to her. At last it arrested her–and she beheld a striking resemblance to Mr. Darcy, with such a smile over the face as she remembered to have sometimes seen when he looked at her. She stood several minutes before the picture, in earnest contemplation, and returned to it again before they quitted the gallery.
I’ve been thinking about another book. Not, mind you, the book I’m actually writing. Heaven forbid! I’m chasing plot bunnies for a book to be named (and hopefully written) later. I have this idea about a man falling in love with the portrait of an unknown lady and I’ve been looking for inspiration. Here are some of the candidates I’ve found.
Which lady do you like? Can you imagine one of them inspiring a grand passion?