The most enjoyable aspect of studying eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art last semester was reveling in how downright nerdy many experimental European artists were–in one fascinating example, the German Romantic painters who called themselves the Brotherhood of St. Luke basically cosplayed as medieval monks, and would paint each other dressed up as romantic figures from a seemingly distant past. In Johann Friedrich Overbach’s Portrait of the Painter Franz Pforr, Overbach depicts his buddy in an anachronistic paradise–he even gives him a pious medieval babe for a wife in the background, though Pforr was unmarried!
Perhaps my own romanticized fixation with various aspects of the past — including as the nineteenth-century William Morris designs I transformed into my outgoing Christmas mail — becomes less strange when contextualized within each generation’s endless cycle of “golden age” nostalgia.
If I’m romanticizing the past with these envelopes, then it’s a past formed from a great mashup of various artistic periods–the Victorian Arts & Crafts glory of Morris’ elegant floral designs predate this style of peaceful flower fairy representation, which is clearly inspired by Cicely Mary Barker’s illustrations of the twentieth century. That lovely lady in red, a sticker that arrived as a freebie with a recent pin order from Hannah Kienzle, adds another member to the nineteenth-century team with her Art Nouveau aesthetics.
Glitter washi tape, I’m sorry to say, only recently appeared on the scene: but somehow they all seem to complement each other!
I think fairies, gold, and the coziness of William Morris are perfect for holiday mailing: they’re both festive and non-denominational! The bigger question is whether I can also find a way to make William Morris envelopes work for Valentine’s Day…