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Friday, February 4, 2011

Minnie and Winnie

(The Cholmondeley Ladies, dated to 1600-1610, by an
unknown English painter)

The painting is of two young women sitting on a bed and holding, we may assume, their babies wrapped in red christening robes. The painting is named after Thomas Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley), to whose collection this portrait originally belonged. The women may be his daughters or nieces, or sisters who married into the Cholmondeley family.


Minnie and Winnie
Slept in a shell.
Sleep, little ladies!
And they slept well.

Pink was the shell within,
Silver without;
Sounds of the great sea
Wandered about.

Sleep, little ladies,
Wake not soon!
Echo on echo
Dies to the moon.

Two bright stars
Peeped into the shell.
“What are they dreaming of?
Who can tell?”

Started a green linnet
Out of the croft;
Wake, little ladies,
The sun is aloft!

~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892), English poet

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