Saturday, June 6, 2009

Vintage Venice

Re-reading through pages of a favourite biography about the marvellous Marchessa Luisa Casati inspired me give today's posting a Venetian flavour.






...Starting with a vignette of the lady herself, in Venice, in the early 1900s.....


'...I was unable to resist the attraction provoked by this strange woman. She pointed a small diamond monocle on the other guests and invited them to a masquerade ball...The party was to be given several days following in her Palace on the Grand Canal....

....At midnight she had gondolas...come to get the two hundred guests to take them to the Piazetta that the mayor of Venice had authorized her to occupy....There was already an orchestra waiting there. Along the arcades some gigantic black men, dressed only in cloth of scarlet silk were place there every ten meters tied to one another by a golden chain which prevent the crowd from gaining access....

...With a bouquet of giant white and black flamingo feathers twisted up in her lunar white satin, in a costume with a sash of black velvet, she grasped with one hand a bunch of black irises and held her favourite leopard on a leash with the other. The Marchessa Casati stepped off her gondola to the acclamations of the crowd. The party was fabulous.'




San Georgio by Moonlight, Venice.
Photo c.1890s





Bridge of Sighs, Venice, Italy
Photo c.1890s





Underneath Day's azure eyes
Ocean's nursling, Venice, lies,
A peopled labyrinth of walls,
Amphitrite's destined halls,
Which her hoary sire now paves
With his blue and beaming waves

Percy Bysshe Shelley




Doge's Palace & St. Marks by Moonlight, Venice.
Photo c.1890s






Venice ! What siren music then
Stirred on the shoals and shallow sea,
When that small band of wandering men
First in their dreams imagined thee,
And hung thy lyric splendour high
Between the water and the sky!

Herbert Asquith





Near St. Marks, Venice
Photo c.1890s




Venise et le Lido by Grassi
Poster c.1920s






I stood in Venice, on the Bridge of Sighs,
A palace and a prison on each hand:
I saw from out the wave her structures rise
As from the stroke of the enchanter's wand:
A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying Glory smiles
O'er the far times, when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles,
Where Venice sate in state, throned on her hundred isles!




Gondola by Moonlight, Venice, Italy.
Photo c.1890s





She looks a sea Cybele, fresh from ocean,
Rising with her tiara of proud towers
At airy distance, with majestic motion,
A ruler of the waters and their powers:
And such she was-her daughters had their dowers
From spoils of nations, and the exhaustless East
Poured in her lap all gems in sparkling showers:
In purple was she robed, and of her feast
Monarchs partook, and deemed their dignity increased.





Gondolas near Rialto Bridge, Venice.
Photo c.1890s





In Venice Tasso's echoes are no more,
And silent rows the songless gondolier;
Her palaces are crumbling to the shore,
And music meets not always now the ear:
Those days are gone-but Beauty still is here;
States fall, arts fade-but Nature doth not die,
Nor yet forget how Venice once was dear,
The pleasant place of all festivity,
The revel of the earth, the masque of Italy!

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage [I stood in Venice]
by George Gordon Byron






1930s Venice Travel Poster






The images above are available as prints via our website. Click on individual pics above to see more details or to purchase.

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