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Franz Hals

Edgcumbe Staley

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .y were welcomed with cordial hospitality by their relatives.

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(Royal Museum, Berlin)

Painted in 1650. This ancient, wrinkled dame was what they call in seaport towns "a sailor's mother," rather a dubious compliment to mariners! She was a "merry toper," like many of Hals' companions, and went from tavern to tavern to get a drink. Her real name was Alle, or Alice Boll—easily transposed. The owl is probably a painter's skit of the screeching, scolding old hussy! The portrait is quite remarkable for poverty of colour. Franz was out of funds and out of paints, but he has made the old bloodless flesh look like life. He often painted her: he loved her odd look, if he liked not well her scorn!

[Pg 15]One whole year the couple spent in the city of lace, and a little son was born to them, whom they registered in the name of Dirk. The greater opportunities off. . . Read More