The Rose and the Ring

TSS Maasdam

We took the TSS Maasdam home from Europe in the late fall of 1965. We encountered a terrible storm crossing the north Atlantic and a giant wave pushed the ship down onto its side while we were at dinner. All the adults screamed – everything and everyone fell amidst all the broken dishes and food and furniture – a nice waiter picked me up and carried me out of the chaos…
Also I had a passionate fight with a little Dutch girl who insisted there was no Santa, only Sinterklaas.

My family went to Europe on a long tour of art and cities in 1965 when I was 5 years old. My mother was afraid of flying so we crossed the Atlantic to and from Europe on an ocean liner. To entertain my sister and I, my mother brought along the book The Rose and the Ring by William Makepeace Thackeray first published in 1855 as one of Thackeray’s Christmas Stories.

frontpiece for the Rose and the Ring 1855

The story is a delightful fairy tale with a lot of humor in it about the long lost princess and subsequent Queen of Crim Tartery, the beautiful Rosalba, and her eventual discovery and marriage to the handsome Prince Giglio. The story has many funny characters including the First Lord of the Toothpick, the Marquis degli Spinachi, Prince Bulbo and Count Kutasoff Hedzoff.

All the illustrations were done by Thackeray himself and were so delightful I remember making my mother draw them over and over again on a pad of paper to amuse us while we were crossing the ocean and traipsing across Europe. (We also made her read the story over and over again to us too with all the different voices.)Prince Giglio hitting King Valoroso with the bed warming pan

The story runs 147 pages in my little book of Thackeray Christmas Stories published by Oxford University Press (frustratingly my little leather bound book has no date, but given the style of the forward and the binding, I suspect a late 19th century publication date.) As the author of the forward writes The Rose and the Ring  “… is unique and sublime.”Gruffanuff Rose Ring153

So I thought I would share this with you this Holiday Season with a small selection of the funny pictures.

And as Thackeray himself says on the last page of the story, “Merry Christmas Good My Friends”.



I Did Make the Cut! (briefly)

In one of my first posts (Posing Old Testament Style) I bemoaned my lack of X factor while modeling, and believed that my disheveled appearance led my father to cover me up in a photographic shot in favor of my more distinguished mother and sister.

I also wrote that I didn’t know of any painting done from these reference shots – but Lo and Behold! …

Bernard Safran, the Fitzgerald Gallery show 1965, unknown title for painting with angel

Bernard Safran, exhibited at the Fitzgerald Gallery 1965, interior shot of installation

I found a photo taken at the Fitzgerald Gallery from my father’s first solo show in 1965 that shows a painting with this very group, including me, stunned by an angel appearing over us. My father is collapsed in shock in the foreground in front of my mother. I am still only a blob of hair – but there I am.

I cannot find a title for this painting or any other reference for it in any of the ledgers or papers of my father’s. So I am assuming that it was destroyed after the show, not sold.

If anyone can suggest what this is depicting I would really appreciate hearing from you – I have been trying to figure out what scene from the Old Testament this is of.

Its interesting to see the other pieces that were for sale in the same area. I know the existence of one of the drawings of the angel on the left wall, but again have no record of sales for the other drawings shown in the room. Perhaps they were gifted.

And… another wonderful surprise for me – I found a Kodachrome slide of a painting that I have to assume was destroyed, of myself and my sister based on that funny photo of me with my fly down. And here I thought I didn’t rate!

Bernard Safran, unknown painting c 1965

My sister and I in a painting, that as far as I can tell, did not go in the Fitzgerald Gallery show in 1965. So I guess I made the cut only so far as a painting was painted – it was probably destroyed by my father soon after it was created.

I guess my Dad did appreciate my unique style. I have no idea if this was painted to be a portrait of us two girls or it was meant to depict something else.

In any case, I am happy to find these last remaining images.

… to be truly accepted for who I am… not in spite of my personal style but because of it!

I will write more about the1965 show in upcoming posts. Stay tuned.