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Monday, August 18, 2008

La Belle Chocolatière

In my last post I showed you the eating area of my kitchen and mentioned that I would talk about the picture that is in the background.

Here is a closeup of the picture and the story to go with it. While living in Germany I regularly attended the indoor flea market held in our little village of Meisenbach. One Saturday, a gentleman was outside and had the doors of his van flung open and propped up against the door was this picture. She caught my eye and I asked "How much?" He replied, "5 euro." (Which at the time was about $4.50.) I smiled and said "I am going to go look inside now and I might come back later." Even as I type this some of you are cringing and saying "How come you didn't buy her right then?" I try very hard not to be an impulse shopper. I like to mull things around a bit. I believe that if I am meant to have something, it will still be there when I go back.
I was inside for about an hour or so and I kept thinking about her. So much so that I couldn't really enjoy anything else I was seeing. So I went back out and she was no longer propped up against the door. I felt my heart fall but the gentleman spotted me and said, "Love was in your eyes, and I saved her for you." So I took her home and much to my surprise Mr. Decor loved her as well. So she went on a dining room wall and then moved with us to Georgia a few years later. Soon after I received my copy of Country Living Magazine. In their monthly "What is it? What is it worth?" column I saw my girl. I found out a bit of history about her and learned that she was a form of advertisement from the late 1800's~early 1900's and was worth a BIT more than the $4.50 I paid for her. :)

A year or so later I went to visit my Grandma. (Yes, the same Grandma mentioned in this post.) Inside her china hutch I spied this small antique cookbook from the Walter Baker & Co. (Early Baker's chocolates) . I told her the story and my sweet grandmother said, "Well then, you MUST have this book." It now sits in my china cabinet.

The original picture was painted by Jean-Étienne Liotard, a Swiss~French painter, around 1743-1745. It is a pastel on parchment. She now hangs in Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) in Dresden, Germany. In 1862 the Baker's Chocolate Company obtained the right to use the image and around 1900 Droste cocoa also began using the image.

Here is my favorite part of the story, a sweet love story, which can be found here.

Very often it is claimed that the person painted was the young Anna Baltauf, daughter of a impoverished knight, Melchior Baltauf, who had possibly been recruited to court as a ladies maiden. It is said that the young prince von Dietrichstein spied on her beauty there, fell in love and married her to the dismay of the nobility.

The Walter Baker Company describes the story in it's little recipe-booklet of 1913 as follows:

"...There is a romance connected with the charming Viennese girl who served as the model, which is well worth telling. One of the leading journals of Vienna has thrown some light an the Baltauf, or Baldauf, family to which the subject of Liotard's painting belonged. Anna, or Annerl, as she was called by friends and relatives, was the daughter of Melchior Baltauf, a knight, who was living in Vienna in 1760, when Liotard was in that city making portraits of some members of the Austrian Court. It is not clear whether Anna was earning her living as a chocolate bearer at that time or whether she posed as a society belle in that becoming costume; but, be that as it may, her beauty won the love of a prince of the Empire, whose name, Dietrichstein, is known now only because he married the charming girl who was immortalized by a great artist. The marriage caused a great deal of talk in Austrian society at the time, and many different stories have been told about it. The prejudices of caste have always been very strong in Vienna, and a daughter of a knight, even if well-to-do, was not considered a suitable match for a member of the court. It is said that an the wedding day Anna invited the chocolate bearers with whom she had worked or played, and in "sportive joy at her own elevation" offered her hand to them saying, " Behold! now that I am a princess you may kiss my hand."She was probably about twenty years of age when the portrait was painted in 1760, and she lived until 1825..."


A big thank you to Shimmy Mom who has bestowed the "You Are Such A Joy to Me" award upon Decor to Adore. Thank you for the honor. She likes my historical posts so "Chocolate Girl" is dedicated to Sweet Shimmy.


Jannet said...

Oh what a sweet story and a great find. I love your picture and it's so perfect in your dining area. I also love the part about you grandma, what a lovely lady!!

Sorry for not being around much lately and missing out on your lovely giveaway, I will back to read more of your beautiful blog.
Much love, Jannet

Glenda~Many Fond Memories said...

I love stories like these. It puts another picture to the story.
I too have had those feelings about something. If it's meant to be it will be.

I thinks she's just the right addition to your history for your family.



wow! that is awesome!! and you definitely deserve that award!!!!

Anonymous said...

How wonderful that your grandmother would have a cookbook with that same image and share it with you to display in your china cabinet!

Shimmy Mom said...

Awww, thank you for the sweet dedication. I did love the post. History and chocolate, it doesn't get better than that. hehehe

Elizabeth said...

I love the picture to begin with, and the story and your grandmother's cookbook make it even more special! Things like this are great! Thanks for sharing all the research.

The Berry's Patch said...

What a great story! And a beautiful picture to go with it.

Lisa said...

Nice story and a lovely picture too. Have a nice day.

Liz said...

I love it when stories all collide together :)
I love that picture and the fabric your window treatment is made out of.

Great story!

TRay said...

You know I love the chocolate girl...LOVE HER.

Miss Sandy said...

I love the story of how you acquired your art work as well as her origin. She was meant to be yours so you could share her story!

Cheryl said...

I love reading your blogs, I get so lost in them at times. After reading this one it was to my surprise just yesterday I purchased this very same book for $2.00! Thanks so much for sharing a part of your world.

Peace and Blessings
Cheryl..... Snatch JOY!

Daniela said...

Thank you so much for linking this post of yours at your comment on my blog, my sweetest Laura, you cannot imagine how much I've loved reading it and learning this story so new to me !

Sending blessings of joy on the remainder of your week, lovely friend,
with love and thankfulness