Endeavour’s Passenger – Passing Trains of Thought?

Viewers of the genre are always on the lookout for a good crime show. I know I am and it was that effort that led me to Endeavour.

Now, while this British show might be popular where it’s aired, many of us are forced to swallow an exclusive diet of our own creations or those from the US. Though the British once governed us, we have not shown them much partiality as TV shows go. It is a shame as that deprives us of some really well made shows.

Endeavour, fragrant with literary allusions, is set in Oxford, a very temple of erudition, and the show is deliciously well made. I can watch it again and again and gape and gawk at the sheer beauty of shots and locale. The acting is also really good. Of course, British English is quite hard for the Indian ear but it’s worth the endeavour.

CSI, Bones and Law and Order were all good shows and there must be good ones now, too. However, they more than narrowly miss being very very good. Unfortunately, we, in India, and much of the elsewhere, are subjected willy nilly to TV shows that are primarily from the US.

I hesitate to say ‘No harm done’ as any diet that does not include diversity is noxious, on the one hand. On the other, hardly any one can claim that TV shows from the US can be viewed as enriching!

I represent a small set of bloggers around the world who seek to bring home news of the delightful diversity of output from around the globe.

And so I continue my endeavour to invite you into the world of young Morse. Endeavour is a British crime show, a prequel to the popular Inspector Morse. The Morse show also sprouted a Lewis show but that’s another story.

Names are fancy in Endeavour. The main character is Endeavour. And then there’s Fred Thursday, Strange, Bright and Fancy!

Endeavour’s series five’s third episode, Passenger, opens to June 1968. Detective Constable Fancy is looking for Frances Porter. She was supposed to get on a train to Oxford but missed the last connecting one. Endeavour Morse finds her dead in a station that’s no longer used.

Now, in 1964, it’s reported, there was another murder and this one has things in common with that one. Is there a connection?

And we come to know that the dead woman was having an affair with a married man. In fact, shortly before her death, she was with him in a motel where she gave the name of her sister.

Then they find her co-worker’s body near an old railway track! The body count mounts as do the red herrings that pepper all episodes of Endeavour.

Alas, I doubt you’ll get to watch the series but I do hope you’ll enjoy the tracks from the episode. Endeavour always has good music from the period.

Young Morse visits the exotic boutique where the murdered Frances Porter worked and in the background plays a Cream number: Sunshine Of Your Love.

And when another girl at the boutique breaks down and weeps over the dead Frances and the boutique owner comforts her, we hear Liar, Liar by The Castaways.

At another point in the episode, Trewlove, the pretty lady constable, is sifting through records and the soundtrack plays Ba Ba Boom by The Jamaicans. And I just can’t get the videos from here on to the centre! WordPress! Argh!

And when Detective Chief Inspector Thursday and Morse visit the boutique to question the owner, and inform him that another employee is dead, Janis Joplin screams Piece of My Heart.

Now, Morse is sweet on Fred Thursday’s daughter, Joan, we already know, and when he comes to her house warming party, the The Rolling Stones are playing Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.

Here, we run out of steam with Keith & Tex playing Stop That Train when Thursday and Strange interrogate suspects.
Passenger is, as usual, written by the fabulous Russell Lewis, the backbone of the show and a master of allusion. The show is directed by Jim Field Smith. He’s directed She’s Out of My League which many may have seen.

Passenger is well made, with very pleasurable scenes and it has the regular features like the sandwiches Win, Thursday’s wife, makes for him – a different one for every day and they’re never tasty to him. Colin Dexter, the author of the detective books, stars in all the Morse related shows. Here, now that he is no more, his picture hangs on a wall – employee of the month.

What with all the pop music in the show, Passenger still strives for cultural highs. Early on we have a recitation of an Auden poem:

As sign off, I offer you a taste of what being an Endeavour fan entails  and two classical pieces which grace the episode. The show opens to a Vivaldi:

And for this trek through British railway history via a murder mystery, what can be better than Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata?

I sincerely hope you enjoy the music and, as for Passenger, I can only wish you chance upon Endeavour.

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Endeavour’s Muse – A Fancy Egg Scrambles Lives

Fabergé eggs are costly bejeweled creations, made for Russian royalty in the late nineteenth century. 

Twelve Monograms, 1895 Fabergé Easter Egg

April 1968. The first episode of Endeavour’s Series Five opens to a briefing about a Fabergé egg. Nastya’s egg, Innocence, is to be displayed at the Oxford University. Nastya or Anastasia was one of the daughters of the then Russian Tsar.

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna – Public Domain

She was just seventeen when the whole family was wiped out but many of their treasures continue to surface and attract auctions. The episode begins with the solemn notes of Mendelssohn’s oratorio based on Elijah.  Elijah is a prophet in the Bible.

Meanwhile, somewhere, a man is painting a woman in the nude. Detective Sergeant Endeavour Morse feels that the artist is seeking to recreate a famous work of art.

And, somewhere else,  a man is murdered. Detective Inspector Fred Thursday identifies him as a boxer and petty criminal. And, in the murdered man’s apartment, the police find “contact mags” – publications with phone numbers for sex workers.

Endeavour is a series which boasts some fine music and what is more fitting for sexual scandals than Verdi‘s La Traviata, the tragic tale of a noble minded young man’s love for a high class prostitute.

One such lady was the last to see the murdered man alive, before he was found in his taxi, with bullets in his chest and a spike in his ear.

In the meanwhile, a masked someone, it is suspected, is trying to rob the fabulous egg. Is it “The Shadow”? This burglar is known to leave a red rose as signature.

Now, there is another corpse, stabbed in the eyes with a steak knife. And he has lipstick – the same type that the police found in the car of the first corpse.  It’s time to look for a deadly female!

Could it be Eve, the lady in the white raincoat seen leaving his place? Eve has been posing for the artist.

Wally Gobetz Paris – Musée d’Orsay: Manet’s Olympia

Elsewhere, women take telephone messages – somewhat like today’s call centres. And one of these women is a friend of Eve’s. Long ago, they were raped. Are the murders revenge?

Precious eggs, pretty women, lecherous academics, boxers, gangsters all come together in Muse. While I’ll admit that getting hold of Endeavour might cost you an arm and a leg, it’s a worthy investment for an entertainer that’s worth every shot.

Shirley Bassey’s Big Spender is played when Eve does the Dance of the Seven Veils, a term which has come to mean something less exotic and more in the nature of synonym for strip tease.

In the midst of all this, the police force is being restructured. A very unsettling time, as it is, for our protagonists, British detectives based in the academic Oxford.

As for Joan, on whom Morse has a crush, it does not look like they get to spend the night together, even in this episode.

Muse continues the fine tradition of providing the viewer with aesthetic pleasure and of opening the mind to diverse snippets of interest. When a book or show does this, it serves one of the greatest functions of communication – that of being enriching. Muse also has a piece from Erik Satie, a fascinating cerebral composer.

As usual, this episode is also written by Russell Lewis. Lewis has written almost all of Endeavour and most of the Morse and Lewis shows as well. The award winning screen writer has also directed Agatha Christie’s The Pale Horse for British television.

Muse is directed by Brady Hood whose Sweet Maddie Stone won for Best Short at the Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival 2017.

To wrap up this glance at the first episode of Series 5, watch a trailer for the whole season:

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Endeavour’s Fourth Series Finale – A Pagan Harvest

Long before Christianity came to the British Isles, people there were pagans, who performed strange rituals and celebrated the autumnal equinox.

Harvest, the finale of the fourth season of Endeavour, a classy British detective show, opens with black and white shots of a car. The car swerves to avoid a lorry and we swerve to another time. It’s September 1967 and a skeleton is unearthed at an archaeological site in a marshy place near Oxford.

Detective Inspector Fred Thursday and Detective Constable Endeavour Morse leave Oxford to investigate the discovery. Is the skeleton Matthew Laxman, wonders Thursday. The botanist was last seen in that area in the autumn of 1962.

However, Dr DeBryn, the witty pathologist, certifies that the corpse was ritually sacrificed. Just as the team is brushing off this bitter ‘harvest’, Endeavour sees glasses near the bones. Were they Laxman’s?

Alison, the botanist’s wife,  says they might be Laxman’s. And she mentions a friend of his, physicist Donald Bagley. The two were part of a protest against Bramford B, a nearby nuclear plant.

Once upon a time, Bagley supported using atomic energy. However, after his wife died of leukaemia due to radiation, he turned against it. Bagley has teamed up with a street preacher to protest against the plant. The preacher, it so happens, was the last person to see Laxman.

Morse also meets an American living in the village. Her husband is employed at the nuclear plant. Morse is suspicious as the man is not straightforward about whether or not he was in the UK when Laxman vanished.

Morse and Thursday find it hard to visit the plant until a journalist helps Morse sneak in to speak to the manager.  The man scoffs at the fears of villagers about  safety.

At the nearby village, no one volunteers any new information. Not even clairvoyant Dowsabelle Chattox, whose home will be flooded to expand the plant. Sheila Hancock, who plays the woman, is, in real life, the step mother of Abigail Thaw, who plays the journalist, and who is, actually, the daughter of John Thaw, the actor who does Morse in the main series where Endeavour has attained inspectordom. As clairvoyant, she brings out the witch-like character of an old woman with supernatural vision.

The soothsayer’s son is creepily interested in Selina Berger, who claims to have spotted Laxman’s car near the plant. In fact, her sinister brother, a doctor, works there.

Finally, a village scarecrow is discovered sporting Laxman’s jacket. The villagers acknowledge that Laxman had come there to visit the power station.

Endeavour’s flat is ransacked. Looking into the matter, Detective Inspector Thursday finds a photo of Joan, his daughter, in Morse’s flat. In the finale of Series Three, she left home, fearing that she would always bring danger to her father. Thursday had come to her rescue when she was held hostage, along with others, including Endeavour, during a violent bank robbery.

With Joan gone, her mother, Win, slips into brooding. The relationship between the parents is filled with painful silence. It is as if their daughter is punishing them. Have they been too controlling? Win whines that, though they are detectives, neither Thursday nor Morse have located Joan.

Detective Inspector Thursday finds an address on the photo he took from the room of Detective Constable Morse. And he goes to Joan. He soon gathers that she is having an affair with a married man who has children. He, naturally, tries to make Joan change her mind but the lover enters the room at that point and tells Thursday to go.

Thursday catches the man outside and beats him up to stop him seeing Joan. Some good does come of it all, however. When DI Thursday gets home, he finds his wife bursting with joy because Joan called to say she was alright and promised to call again.

Later Joan goes to Morse. He notices that she has been beaten but she says she deserved it. She thinks it was because she got pregnant. Morse proposes.

On the one hand, Harvest has cutting edge modernity – a nuclear plant – and, on the other, there are villagers doing ancient dances and preparing for primitive ceremonies.

Government cover-ups are suggested and, with Endevaour’s standing up to corruption in the police force, Harvest pits Endeavour Morse against unseen and powerful forces.

The story is full of red herrings – who killed Laxman? The villagers for some autumnal sacrifice? The government to hush up something about the nuclear plant? After taking us for many a merry wild goose chase, the episode presents us with a twist in the tail.

As usual, besides red herrings, the show has a fine blend of music. As with everything about the show, it is a feast for the senses and an education in refinement.

And to balance that classical piece, there’s a typical number from the sixties.

Harvest, as with all Endeavour episodes so far, was written by Russell Lewis.
Each episode usually has a different director and  this one is directed by  Jim Loach whose  2018 Measure of a Man is a comedy about bullying.

With this post, we wrap up Series Four. The fifth one is outstanding so hold your breath till the next post!

Endeavour – The Sixties, Sex and Drugs – Series Four’s Canticle

A canticle is usually sung in a church. And a typical canticle of the Sixties sings us into the story. This episode of Endeavour, a very stylish crime drama from the UK, opens with rainbow colours.

The story intercuts to a very religious elderly widow, Pettybon. She is part of the National Clean Up Television Society, the Keep Britain Decent campaign, and considers herself the guardian of national morals. In other words, she is like many Indian ‘aunties’. She finds pop music and everything on TV disgusting. Yet she watches TV avidly to identify all the ‘bad’ words used: bloody and so on. She and her supporters hold morality rallies.

As it so happens, The Wildwood, a pop group, is rehearsing nearby.  Detective Constable Endeavour Morse meets the members of the group: brothers Nick and Kenneth Wilding, Clark, Lee “Stix” Noble and a bunch of female groupies. Where there’s a pop group, there are often female fans who are very loyal.

Endeavour is there to investigate reports of marijuana use. As we shall soon find out, marijuana is the least of the headaches that DC Morse will have to tackle.

Endeavour, in his suit, sticks out like a sore thumb in contrast to the pop group where everybody is either dressed psychedelically or is popping LSD and the like. He does not belong with the moralists either.

However, young Morse has to babysit Pettybon as she is being threatened for her views. A rather irritating task when there is a death to be investigated. A labourer, Barry Finch, associated with the pop group, has been strangled.

Instead of investigating the death, Morse has to accompany Pettybon and team who are to appear on a TV show. The sequences have some splendid music from a Sixties icon:

The pop group is also there and Joy Pettybon attacks Jennifer Sometimes, their latest song.  It has too much S-E-X as she puts it.

To make matters worse, Dudley Jessop, a gay activist disrupts Pettybon’s TV appearance. DC Morse has  to step in to save the newspaper man from her supporters.

And soon Reverend Golightly, Pettybon’s side-kick, also dies in a suspicious manner. He has been poisoned! He ate chocolates that were sent to Pettybon.

Could this be Jessop’s work? Jessop’s magazine had to close down as a result of Pettybon’s battle against him for being gay.

To make things merrier, Pettybon has a daughter, Bettina, who can’t seem to keep her hands off men. Outwardly a mouse, behind her mother’s back, in her own room, she smokes and drinks. Morse has to fight tooth and claw to keep safe from her advances when he innocently accepts her invitation for a drink.

He learns that Pettybon’s husband, Bettina’s father, killed himself when he was about to be prosecuted for being gay.

A symptom of the times? The Sixties are known for sexual liberation and Canticle pumps up the issue with helpings of free love between the pop group.

Nick of the pop group has slept with groupies, Emma and Pippa, and is upset at Barry Finch’s death.

And Barry Finch was killed during a sexual experiment between three people. The group’s manager shifted the body to save the group from police pestering.

The Sixties were also all about ‘opening the doors of perception’ – ideas written about by Aldous Huxley. Drugs are consumed and the show makes the point about the danger of it all.

Endeavour has his doors opened for him when one of the group’s groupies, Emma, spikes his drink. She is jealous that Nick and Clark are lovers. Her emotions reach a point of no return and she gives Morse a drink with a lethal dose of LSD. Morse, of course, loves his drinks but hates drugs. Luckily, Detective Sargent Strange and Detective Inspector Thursday rescue him in the nick of time and he is very cute as a convalescent. He’s really been led up the garden path by all the liberated ladies in this episode!

Besides Bettina and her seductions and Emma and her special beverages, Endeavour has had to see the groupie girls sunbathing. Yet, he never feels free with any of them.

The story also lingers over the continuing sorrow of Detective Inspector Thursday and his wife about the disappearance of their daughter, Joan.

Fred Thursday feels responsible for his daughter’s leaving home. This is evident when he warns Pettybon that if her daughter leaves, she may not come back. His cynicism is rising making him feel angry with pop groups and all the things that he blames for making his daughter leave.

Like other Endeavour episodes, Canticle also boasts some fine classical music. As opposed to a canticle, a requiem is for mourning. And there is much to mourn for many in Morse.

Morse is still sulking at his failure in the police exam and he is always delightful in this mood. His brush with death by LSD brings us a tender scene between him and Thursday. Though Thursday has his own son, as well as a daughter, he seems fatherly only towards Endeavour and that too is very strained and stiff.

Canticle is about hiding feelings, about public masks and private lives. As Pettybon’s daughter tells her:

You’re not kind. You’re wicked. And godless!

If we have any doubts about which way the show’s makers hang, Thursday’s quiet reminder to Bright is that evil is as old as humans.

The show also has the usual ingredients – other characters and regular features. Woman Police Constable Trewlove is as clever and pretty as ever. Detective Sargent Strange continues to please as does the witty pathologist Max DeBryn.

Colin Dexter, the author of the detective novels upon which Endeavour is based, would regularly appear on the shows. As he aged and after his death, he appears as photos. In this episode, he shows up in the top right-hand corner of a newspaper.

Canticle continues with the ending we have come to expect where a shadowy figure lays out tarot cards – a clue about the episode that follows? In this case, it was Lovers. Does that spell romance for Endeavour? We can’t be sure of that to go by his thoughts on the matter.

Jessop: How can love be dirty?
Morse: Well, if it isn’t, I expect you aren’t doing it right. 

And, while that may be true of Morse and love, director Michael Lennox, with many fine films to his credit, does right by Canticle .

I have to apologise for a lapse on my part and what ought to follow Canticle precedes it. So our next post jumps to Harvest – troubles bubble and brew amidst ancient village rituals in the season’s finale.


More Morse? Endeavour – Series One

Here in India, and, by extension, perhaps in many other regions of the world, we’re not exposed to a decent variety of TV shows from the UK, as opposed to from the US – Australia and Canada are next in frequency of being featured. Europe, in general, is denied a fair representation and the case is worse with the remaining continents. There are broad regional preferences, of course. Each nation will tend to favour itself and immediate neighbours besides the US/Australia/Canada. Thus, Malaysia had a greater selection from China, Japan and Korea not to mention others. Truth to tell, much more regional variety than is to be found in India.

In my TV viewing years, I recall some comedies such as Fawlty Towers from the UK but not much else and I’m pretty certain there has not been an increase in the years since I forsook TV. Frankly, for Indians, though we have a large number of people who claim to be ‘native’ speakers, “my good self” included, it is harder to comprehend the ‘Queen’s’ English than it is to make head or tail of a US accent. Subtitles are as much in order as would be the case for a Japanese TV show in India. And yet Endeavour will not need to strive to engross. It’s that good.

For the anglophile, out of the closet or not, Endeavour will be a delicacy. It is, indeed, a gourmet treat with its tendency to be laced liberally with literary and other rich cultural references. While the visuals enchant the eye and frequently bring classical painters to mind, besides Morse’s own love for opera, the music of such as Wagner not only graces the audio track but forms an integral part of some plots.

While I definitely hope to make my readers watch it and get hooked, it’s also my pleasure to provide die-hard fans, like myself, resources to fan the fandom flame.

With each post about each series, the endeavour will be to offer the best fan sites and, perhaps, glimpses into their individual focuses. Today, it’s a list of things about Endeavour that are

Good to Know

  1. It’s always Thursday on Endeavour. Actor Roger Allam, Inspector Thursday, is one of the main characters in the Endeavour series. Initially, he’s the only one who appears to appreciate Morse’s talents – a quick reminder that Morse’s first name is Endeavour.  For more such fascinating detail, visit Allam’s Inspector Morse Fact File.

Thursday has a wife, daughter and son and his family life forms a good deal of the regular drama on most episodes.

More importantly, the actor has a wonderful page of episode summaries on his site.

2. The author of the Morse novels almost always appears in the shows, Hitchcock style.

Colin Dexter makes his appearance at 42 minutes and 40 seconds in the dining hall.

Endeavour S01 E01 ‘Girl’: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc.

3. The daughter of the actor who plays Morse in the original series is a staple on Endeavour.

Played by John Thaw’s daughter Abigail, the character’s name of ‘D. Frazil’ is actually a bit of a crossword clue of the type Morse was very fond of. Frazil is a type of ice, so “de-ice” is to Thaw.

Endeavour’s continued tip of the hat to Morse is a fitting tribute to its’ predecessor

Those were some of the regular features. Now for the fun part!

Series 1 – Trailers

Girl: Episode 1. Directed by Edward Bazalgette and written by Russell Lewis

While everyone in Oxford appears to be dolling up for a night out, Endeavour is preparing to settle in with his copy of Moriarty’s Police Law. This book is a real thing—“An Arrangement of Law and Regulations for the Use of Police Officers”—that a young officer would have studied to pass his exam for promotion. That it’s called Moriarty’s is just a happy coincidence considering that Endeavour Morse will do the full Sherlock about 23 minutes into the episode…

But first, a corpse:

Margaret Bell, age 20, is found dead of an apparent heart attack. Seeing Margaret fit and fine just a few moments earlier, we have no reason to believe a heart attack was her actual cause of death, and her G.P. confirms as much shortly after. She did have a weak heart, but if she’d been taking her medication she shouldn’t have suffered a heart attack. The doctor has questions, and now so does Morse.

Fugue: Episode 2.  Directed by Tom Vaughan and written by Russell Lewis

… of course it is focused on music. Morse and music go together better than bacon and eggs. The episode opens with choral singers, specifically Morse, who has been spotted by the local newspaper as he leaves a concert he performed in.

As ever, we settle back into the pattern of seeing all of the puzzle pieces in the opening interspersed with the credits. Pieces, players, games. This plot rotates completely around Morse but the mystery beneath it all is fascinating without that. A serial killer is working his way through Oxford using the deaths in operas as a means of killing his victims. The killer leaves clues for Morse, taunting him, and eventually stabbing him as he leads Morse a merry chase. Meanwhile there is a traitor in the camp and every one we see seems to be tied back to a musical theme.

Endeavour S01 E02 ‘Fugue’: Review, Music, Art, Literary References, Locations etc. pampers you with spoilers – no true fan is immune to such blandishments.

With a name like Fugue, how can reviews not rave about the music?

Before we get to Barrington Pheloung’s spine tingling theme tune at the end, this week’s episode served up an impressive body count, more than a liberal sprinkling of Oxford’s dreaming spires and another intricate and compelling storyline. As if to punctuate the point further even the climax is fittingly set among these very spires. The plot is driven by a medley of soprano duets, arias and sonatas which proves a mesmerising cocktail.

Endeavour’s skills are tested to the limit

archiveofourown.org has a tongue-in-cheek go at the episode. Quite entertaining even if you’re yet to watch the story.

Locales, we have mentioned in a previous post, are one of the many charms of Endeavour – you seriously want to buy a ticket to the UK after catching an Endeavour or two. As you see below, someone has beaten me to it!

I’ve compiled the various answers I received here for anyone else who might be interested in doing their own mini-Endeavour locations tour:

1) Magdalen College, bridge over to Addison’s Walk

2) Radcliffe Square or St Mary’s Passage by the Radcliffe Camera (possibly the same place!)

3) Queen’s Lane, by the back gate of New College

4) Possibly the side of Jesus College, opposite one of the exits to the Covered Market

5) Roof of Trinity College chapel

6) Broad Street or Turn off High St down King Edward St, this is between Christchurch & Oriel College (again, possibly the same place)

7) Merton College

8) Merton St, outside Merton College or Logic Street

Rocket: Episode 3. Directed by Craig Viveiros and written by Russell Lewis

This might be my personal favourite of the series.

the Queen is visiting a local missile factory, to aid relations with the Arabs, who are thought to want to place an order for 36 weapons. It’s a suitably grand occasion and the bunting’s out for HRH. The rest of the staff are assigned to oversee her safety, but Morse is left on general duties once more. This week that means making sure the crowds stay in order as all the ‘wooden’ police are busy at the factory. Jakes’ condescending manner is heightened again, and the way he talks down to Morse really makes it seem like Russell Lewis is setting him up for one hell of a fall in the final story of this series.

A few hours after the Queen has left, just as Bright is congratulating himself on a successful operation, Morse receives notification that a body’s been found.

… Craig Viveiros’ beautiful direction makes everything feel like it was shot on location; it’s gorgeous.

Home: Episode 4 – Directed by Colm McCarthy and written by Russell Lewis

The series winds up with an episode that delivers quick punches. Thursday is up against powerful old foes. His daughter, June, and we know that Endeavour suffers from unrequited love for her, is giving the Inspector more heartburn than could any of the famously unappetising sandwiches his wife makes him.  We get a peek at Morse’s family.


In this episode the viewer discovers why Morse has a limp in later life. A storyline from the young Endeavour Morse to coincide with the real-life injury sustained by John Thaw and thus a physical element that Thaw brought to the character of Inspector Morse.


At the very start of the episode we hear Faure’s Requiem: VII In Paradisum. This piece is of course very significant in the world of Morse as the same piece of music was playing when Morse collapsed to the ground with a heart attack in the episode, ‘The Remorseful Day’.

Endeavour: Connections to Morse and Lewis

The site is rich in detail, has photos and plenty of spicy trivia.

And with that we bid the series farewell, moving on, soon, to the second series of Endeavour while I eagerly await news of the upcoming sixth series.

A Series of Paintings on Postcards – A Sampling of Spanish Painters

I’ve been frying eggs for most days of my married life! And there’s nothing quite like a fried egg when made to order. Today I’m not exactly presenting you with a Spanish Omelet but rather a paella of Spanish painters, tossed together with joyful memories of their art.

Diego Velázquez – Google Art Project, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19980800

From Flemish to Spanish is not really from the frying pan to the fire but here is a painting that shows eggs being fried! This is the second postcard from my collection.

Diego Velazquez painted An Old Woman Cooking Eggs before he was 20 years old. It is clearly a demonstration piece. Everything is on display. The contents of the scene are laid out around the canvas like decorations on a Christmas tree. Let the eye circulate, checking each thing off: melon, glass flask, wooden spoon, terracotta pot, brass pan, egg, china plate, red garlic, brass mortar, red onion, earthenware jugs, tin dippers, woven straw basket, linen cloth.


You can stroll through his other works here

This particular painting is termed A Masterpiece in Texture and Culinary History

Learn more about Diego Velázquez (1599 – 1660), such a compassionate, yet unflinching painter

Here is a video about one of his other famous paintings

Velázquez was a painter of the Baroque period – a period in Western European art and music from roughly 1600 to 1750. But, for me, he is mainly a Spanish artist – along with others whose art has given me such a world of joy:

El Greco (1541 – 1614)

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos) – Laocoön – Google Art Project

I chose this one because it is very powerful. Slightly disturbing too – qualities I associate with Spanish painters.

There seem to be two films about him and here is a trailer from one:

I’m putting Goya (1746 – 1828) next – a painter for whom I do have a special spot. However, I’ve merely chosen the one that remains representative to me of the Spanish Civil War.

The Third of May by Francisco Goya, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18777858

And, if we are speaking of  Spanish painters, how can we not mention Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) and Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989)?

Picasso’s Guernica, image from Mark Barry, flickr.com/photos/markart/236849245

Picasso’s Guernica was inspired by the bombing of Guernica, in Spain, April 26, 1937. It was the time of the Spanish Civil War. The bombing killed some 1600 people and destroyed the city. The Spanish Republican government commissioned the mural for the Spanish Pavilion of the Paris International Exposition.

Explore the range of Pablo Picasso’s art.

With both Picasso and Dali, I find it hard to get a good print to share with you! Here is a famous Dali:

Salvador Dali’s Slave Market with the Disappearing Bust of Voltaire, wikiart.org/en/salvador-dali/slave-market-with-the-disappearing-bust-of-voltaire-1940

A short piece by Andy Warhol explores some of these ‘modern’ artists:

There are many books about these artists and here is one, merely as a sample:



A Series of Paintings on Postcards – Petrus Christus, Portrait of a Young Girl

During my early childhood, my father received dairies every year. These were wonderful to me as each showcased  some aspect of India’s art and architecture. And then it was my sister’s school book which furthered my love for art as it had passages about paintings with some very good colour plates. Alas that textbooks in India today lack such quality.

My journey of exploration of world art settled on European painters for many years as our school had some fine art books and a serene room in which students could sit and explore such volumes. Somewhere along the way, people started sending me picture postbards with famous paintings.

Today I share with you, not the first such postcard that I received, but one that is earliest in terms of the period of the painter.

By Petrus Christus – UAGsuoFcmmRiTg at Google Cultural Institute, zoom level maximum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13333895

I will not go into detail about Petrus ChristusPortrait of a Young Girl, as there is a long and thorough discussion about it on Flemish Primitive Mystery Painting. He is said to be influenced by Jan van Eyck.

I have certainly seen a Jan van Eyck or two in my time.  Continue reading