Bella is a mystery lover, especially when the mysteries involve art. She spent a full month talking her siblings out of playing Avengers and into playing Finding the Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea of Galilee for the Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum. If she were any less sincere, it would be unbearably pretentious. She comes by it honestly. We are art lovers in our family. My sister owns an art gallery. When she and I were homeschooled as teens we'd get our work done by noon and spend the rest of the day at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
That said, we are not exactly on a fine art budget here in the Griffith household, so I get most of my artwork at the Goodwill Gallery. I brought these two pictures home the other day for $5 a piece, with another $5 for the candle sconce between them. I was sick to death of looking at the bare walls and these just kind of fell into my cart. (tangentially, whenever I am thrift store shopping I'll look at the prices and think, "Are you kidding? $5! This is not Target! You're a thrift store. Price like one." Then I get home and think, "Actually, that was a pretty sweet deal.")
As we were hangning these beauties, Isabella read the back of this one, on which someone had written A Little Princess, with a bunch of numbers above and below it. (and a price, written in another hand, of $40. I guess it was a good deal.) She set about trying to find out which princess and prince these pictures could be.
We searched the internet for the name of the picture and, not surprisingly, came up with nothing but a bunch of links to Amazon selling the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel by the same name.
Next we decided to look for the clues in the pictures. The castle in the background, for example. Windsor Castle, maybe? We're not sure, but it could be.
We asked my dad, who thought they looked a bit like the work of Thomas Gainsborough (The Blue Boy, which we saw at the Huntington Library just last winter).
And then I thought, I have a whole lot of nerdball friends and family. There's someone out there who can help us with this. Any ideas? What era is the clothing? Recognize the castle? The country? The style of painting? Do a nerdy seven year old a solid and help her find the answers.