Hermann Schmiechen

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First of two portraits of H. P. Blavatsky

Hermann Schmiechen was a German artist who painted portraits of the Masters Koot Hoomi and Morya, and also of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. While he lived in England from 1884-1895, he was a member of the Royal Academy of Arts, and painted members of the British aristocracy.

Madame Blavatsky, Patience Sinnett, Laura C. Holloway, Mohini Mohun Chatterji, and others gathered in the artist's London studio in 1884. HPB and others described first Koot Hoomi and then Morya as the Mahatmas appeared to them psychically, and Schmiechen painted to their instructions. Laura Holloway wrote an account of the session that was published in The Word magazine.[1]

According to Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett:

Schmiechen, Hermann, a German portrait pointer of note. While the Founders were in England during the summer of 1884, he went to London to paint the portraits of M and KH under the inspiration of HPB. He began these on June 19 and completed them on July 9. After completing, he then painted duplicates of each, probably two. The two original portraits of M and KH were taken to Adyar in October of 1884 and displayed there for some time. They are now in the Shrine Room in the Headquarters Building. He also painted two portraits of HPB, the first in Elberfeld, Germany, in the fall of 1884 and the second in London in 1885. The first one is now in London at 31 Holland Villas Road, and the second is at the Headquarters of the Indian section of the Theosophical Society in Varanasi (Benares), India. ML index; ODL 3: 156; LMW I: 214; HPB VI (chronology); D, p. 338. 'The Theosophist for September 1948, article by LCL.[2]

Additional resources

  • Blouinartinfo, an art auction website, has images of Schmiechen works and biographical information about the artist.
  • Geni.com, a genealogical website, offers some details of the artist's life.
  • ArchiveGrid describes some archival material of Schmiechen.


  1. Laura C. Holloway, “The Mahatmas and Their Instruments Part II,” The Word (New York) (July 1912), 200-206, available at The Blavatsky Archives as Portraits of the Mahatmas
  2. George E. Linton and Virginia Hanson, eds., Readers Guide to The Mahatma Letters to A. P. Sinnett (Adyar, Chennai, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1972), 243-44.