Difference between revisions of "Blavatsky photographs and portraits"

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| style="height:100px; width:100px; text-align:center;" | ca1893
 
| style="height:100px; width:100px; text-align:center;" | ca1893
 
| P. Vishnevsky
 
| P. Vishnevsky
| style="text-align:left;" | This engraving is scanned from the Russian book «Загадочные племена на Голубых горах в дебрях Индии. Дурбар в Лагоре». СПб, 1893. (''Mysterious Tribes from the Blue Mountains in the Deep of India; Durbar in Lahor'', St.Peterburg, 1893.) The book is a compilation of articles originally printed in the Russian magazine Ruskii Viestnik (Russian Messenger) during the years 1883-1886 when HPB was supporting herself by writing travel stories.<ref>See also pamphlet by H. P. Blavatsky, translated by Mary G. Langford: ''Mr. Peters and the Goddess''.</ref>.  
+
| style="text-align:left;" | This engraving is modeled after the 1877 photo by Napoleon Sarony. It has been scanned from the Russian book «Загадочные племена на Голубых горах в дебрях Индии. Дурбар в Лагоре». СПб, 1893. (''Mysterious Tribes from the Blue Mountains in the Deep of India; Durbar in Lahor'', St.Peterburg, 1893.) The book is a compilation of articles originally printed in the Russian magazine Ruskii Viestnik (Russian Messenger) during the years 1883-1886 when HPB was supporting herself by writing travel stories.<ref>See also pamphlet by H. P. Blavatsky, translated by Mary G. Langford: ''Mr. Peters and the Goddess''.</ref>.  
  
 
Thanks go to Oleg Boldyrev for providing the image. The location of the original art is unknown.
 
Thanks go to Oleg Boldyrev for providing the image. The location of the original art is unknown.

Revision as of 21:21, 27 December 2018

Frontispiece of World Theosophy, September, 1931

These are photographs, paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other depictions of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, also known as Madame Blavatsky or HPB. They are presented chronologically by date of creation, as much as possible. Individual renderings and small groups are included, but not large group photos such as those taken at early Theosophical Society conventions.

This collection of photos was inspired by a display on the Theosophy Canada website in 2005, "A Pictorial Look at H. P. Blavatsky," which has more recently evolved into a slide show. Many thanks go to the Edmonton Theosophical Society for the website, and to Geoffrey Barborka for the research that went into its collection. [1][2][3]

Images used here are from several sources, but most were scanned from the photo collection of the Theosophical Society in America and from printed publications. The digital photo collection of Blavatsky Archives was an important source. Other sources are identified where possible, with copyright data if applicable for the more recent works. Additions and corrections are welcome - especially information that might help pinpoint the dates and creators of these works. Contact the wiki administrators with suggestions. Higher-resolution versions are available for some photos from Theosophical Society in America Archives.

Please be certain to ask the creators for permission before making use of copyright-protected photographs and art.

Photograph or Art Work Year Created Artist Notes
H.Hahn and H.Blavatsky.jpg Late 1840s Unknown Painting of young H. P. Blavatsky and her mother, H. Hahn. It is at the H. P. B. museum in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine. The painter is unknown, but it may have been HPB herself.
Lovely Maiden portrait of HPB.jpg 1840s Unknown HPB painted as "The Lovely Maiden."

The reproduction was made by means of a special process from a printed copy which was first published in Sinnett's book "Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky." The print was from a medallion painting, which had been sent to Nadyejda de Fadeyev (as related when her photograph was shown.[4]

A print "copied by" the London studio of Elliott & Fry is in the photo album of HBP's sister Vera Jelihovsky, which is held by the State Archives of the Russian Federation. A scan of that print is available at the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua.

This portrait appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931.

HPB young in furs.jpg 1865-1868 Unknown Young HPB dressed in furs. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume I.
HPB in hoop skirt JPEG.jpg 1860s Unknown HPB in a hoop skirt.

Most likely the picture about which General Rostislav wrote: "taken 20 years ago in my presence." September 18, 1881.[5]

This portrait appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931 and also printed in a rectangular format in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume I.

200px 1867-1868 Unknown Portrait of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, ca 1867-1868. This image is from the photo album of HBP's sister Vera Jelihovsky, which is held by the State Archives of the Russian Federation. An inscription is on the back of the photo, in HPB's handwriting, roughly translated as " Elena Petrovna Blavatsky. In a difficult moment of life..."

A scan of the print is available at the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua.

HPB 1870.jpg ca1870 Unknown HPB around 1870. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume II.
HPB portrait 9.jpg 1870s Unknown Photograph reproduced in A. P. Sinnett's Incidents in the Life of Mme. Blavatsky.[6]

This portrait appears in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume II, and in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931.

HPB by Beardsley 1875 smoking.jpg September 1875 J. Beardsley
HPB inscription to Nadezhda Andreyevna
.Photograph taken in Ithaca NY in September 1875 while HPB was visiting Professor Hiram Corson and writing Isis Unveiled.
In an undated letter, written to Professor H. Corson, H.P.B. wrote about the photographs Beardsley had taken: The important factor here is that H.P.B. actually ordered two dozen portraits made of this special photograph. "When will Beardsley send me the rest of my portraits? Please order from him two dozen more of those with the cigarette in the hand, only bigger, if he can do them. I will enclose you a post office order for eighty-five dollars in my next; if you answer me, that he is at work on them. I suppose by the thirteen dollars he, too, charged me for the three dozen, that every extra dozen will be four twenty-five. Will you inquire please?"[7][8]

A print of this photo is in the photo album of HBP's sister Vera Jelihovsky, which is held by the State Archives of the Russian Federation. A scan of that print is available at the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua. An inscription on the back of the photo, in HPB's handwriting, can be roughly translated as "Sweet and dear Nadezhda Andreyevna, comrade of childhood and nightly dinners. From the secretary of the Theosophical Society, E. Blavatsky."

HPB by Beardsley 1875 standing.jpg September 1875 J. Beardsley Another photograph taken in Ithaca NY in September 1875 while HPB was visiting Professor Hiram Corson and writing Isis Unveiled. It appeared as the frontispiece of the November, 1928 issue of The Theosophist as "An Unpublished Photograph of H.P.B. about 1879," but that year is incorrect.

Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume XV.

HPB by spiritualist photographer.jpg 1875-1876 Unknown Portrait by a spiritualist photographer. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume I and XIV.
HP Blavatsky 1877.jpg 1876-1877 Napoleon Sarony Taken in New York and used as a frontispiece in early editions of Isis Unveiled.[9] Also printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume III and other works.
HPB portrait Edsall Studio.jpg 1876-1878 Edsall Photographic Studio Taken in New York. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume IV.
HPB Sarony portrait 1877.jpg 1876-1878 Napoleon Sarony Portrait of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky by Napoleon Sarony in 1877. This image is from the photo album of HBP's sister Vera Jelihovsky, which is held by the State Archives of the Russian Federation. The back of the print is stamped "Sarony’s Imperial Portraits, 37 Union Square, New York."

A scan of the print is available at the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua.

HPB with feather hat.jpg 1877 Napoleon Sarony This photograph was printed as a carte de visite by the Sarony studio in 1877.[10] The image shown here was scanned from a framed print in the Theosophical Society in America Archives.
HPB - NY.JPG 1878 J. Beardsley This photo of H. P. Blavatsky in New York days was printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume III and VI, and has served as the inspiration for a drawing and a watercolor (shown below). One extant print of this photograph from the Beardsley studio has a handwritten notation: "The Mulligan of 1878."[11] Mulligan was a nickname that Henry Steel Olcott used for Madame Blavatsky.

This image was provided by Blavatsky Archives.

200px 1878 Edward Wimbridge Edward Wimbridge was an artist and architect who embarked for India with HPB and Colonel Olcott in 1878. He designed the cover for the first issue of The Theosophist. In her diary, HPB noted that on September 11, 1878, Wimbridge prepared this image for engraving. It was etched on copper and appeared in the 1878 fourth edition of Isis Unveiled published by J. W. Bouton in New York.[12][13]

From New York Public Library Digital Collection.

HPB with fur sash.jpg 1878 Unknown HPB en route to India in December, 1878.[14]
Bronze medallion.jpg 1878 William R. O'Donovan Bronze medallion sculpted by William R. O'Donovan, who knew visited Madame Blavatsky and Colonel Olcott at The Lamasery. His friendship and the medallion are described by Olcott in Old Diary Leaves, Volume 1, pages 411-412.
HPB portrait from NYPL.jpg 1880 Charles T. Scowen Charles T. Scowen was a British photographer who worked in Sri Lanka and India from 1871–1890. He set up a studio in Kandy by 1876, and later opened a second in Colombo. The year when HPB spent most time in Sri Lanka was 1880.

Image from New York Public Library Digital Collection.

H P Blavatsky in Benares 1880.jpg 1880 Unknown Taken in Benares (now Varanasi), India, in 1880. This photo was downloaded from the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua. It was scanned from the photo album of HPB's sister Vera Jelihovsky, in the State Archives of the Russian Federation.
200px 1880-1881 Unknown Taken in Galle, Ceylon.
HPB 1882-1884 from Russian State Archives.jpg 1882-1884 Unknown This photo was used as a carte de visite made in Madras (now Chennai), India.[15]

This image is from the photo album of HBP's sister Vera Jelihovsky, which is held by the State Archives of the Russian Federation. This scan of that print came from the Ukrainian website art-roerich.org.ua.

Another image is available at BlavatskyTheosophy.com.

HPB with Subba Row and Babaji.jpg 1882-1884 Unknown HPB with T. Subba Row and Babaji ca 1882-1884. From New York Public Library Digital Collection. A carte de visite at the Winterthur Library seems to be from the same studio in Madras that printed the "ca1882" photo shown above.

Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume V.

HPB portrait.jpg 1884-1885 Hermann Schmiechen This is a fragment of the first painting of HPB by Hermann Schmiechen. It "was made at Elberfeld in September, 1884, and was later presented by Mrs. Toni Schmeichen to the Esoteric School; for some years past, it has been in C. Jinarajadasa's home, 33 Covington Square, London," according to Boris de Zirkoff, writing in 1954.[16]
HPB Schmeichen portrait.jpg 1884-1885 Hermann Schmiechen This is the second painting of HPB by Hermann Schmiechen. "The second portrait, reproduced herewith, was for many years at the London Headquarters, 19 Avenue Road. It is now in the Hall of the Indian Section, at Benares," according to Boris de Zirkoff.[17]

This portrait appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931.

Italian HPB Postcard Portrait.jpg 1885 Giulia Hoffman Tedesco
Reverse side of postcard.
A portrait of HPB was painted by prominent German artist Giulia Tedesco - probably inspired by an earlier photograph. It was printed in a postcard format by Alfieri & LaCroix in Milan. This postcard is in the collection of Joma Sipe.
HPB reading book JPEG.jpg 1887 Unknown Photo of HPB reading a book "while residing in Maycot, Crownhill, Upper Norwood, London, at Mabel Collins' home She left Ostend for London, May 1, 1887."[18]
HPBphoto.jpg 1887 Laura Holloway Detail from a larger portrait of HPB with a fan, which appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931. Photographer was Laura Holloway Langford, according to H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume V, page 257.
HPB with fan.jpg 1887 Laura Holloway HPB with a fan.
HPB in 1880s.jpg 1887 Laura Holloway Fragment of previous photograph. Described in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume VI as HPB "in her forties," and "reproduced from a photograph given by William Quan Judge to Mrs. Harriet Farrar in New York."
1888 Kodak photo by W Q Judge.jpg 1888 William Quan Judge
Kodak camera

This view is of HPB at her desk at 17 Landsdowne Road, London, taken by William Quan Judge with a Kodak camera as she was working on Lucifer. The picture was originally published in The Path, New York, Vol. VII, May, 1892, p.39."[19] Mr. Judge wrote of the occasion:

[No photographs] were obtained of her as she paused in her work until in 1888 this little photograph seized her, after consent, just as she was beginning the day’s work on Lucifer, then in its babyhood. She had, only a short while before, come out from the room behind her and sat down at the desk on which the first pages of Lucifer were begun and whereon most, if not all, of The Secret Doctrine was written. The pen in her hand is an American Gold pen given to her by a New York Theosophist and made by John Foley, whose name is known to thousands of writers. The sheet of paper in front is a sheet of the MSS. of The Secret Doctrine, and others lie about.[20]

This copy of the photograph was provided courtesy of Will Thackara at International Theosophical Society (Pasadena); restoration of photo by Vladimir Krasnoperov.

HPB and family.jpg 1888 Unknown Taken October, 1888 in London. HPB is seated next to her sister, Vera de Zhelihovsky. Standing behind them are Vera Johnston, Charles Johnston, and Henry Steel Olcott.
HPB and HSO final meeting JPEG.jpg 1888 Unknown H. P. Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott in their final meeting, taken in October 1888 in London. "H.P.B.'s tobacco-basket [under HPB's hand] is now in the possession of Geoffrey Watkin, London," Boris de Zirkoff wrote in 1964.[21]

The photographic reproduction in Collected Writings Volume X, page 176, shows the following message handwritten by HPB: "To the Aryan Theosophical Society of New York, with H.P.B.'s and the H.S.O.'s good wishes," London, October, 1888.[22]

Resta portrait 1.jpg January 8, 1889 Enrico Resta "The Sphinx" pose - the most famous image of HPB. This was taken in Resta's studio at 4 Coburg Place, Bayswater, London on January 8, 1889. Six glass plates were taken altogether; in some HPB is looking to the side or is holding a cigarette. The originals are now located in the Archives of the Blavatsky Lodge of the Theosophical Society in England, with duplicates at Elliott & Fry, Ltd. in London. Image from the Theosophical Society in America Archives, scanned from Elliot & Fry print.

This photograph has been printed in publications more than any other. including H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume XI. Among the first was The Path in February, 1890.

HPB smoking.jpg January 8, 1889 Enrico Resta This is another of the six poses taken in Resta's studio at 4 Coburg Place, Bayswater, London on January 8, 1889.
Resta portrait 3.jpg January 8, 1889 Enrico Resta This is another of the six poses taken in Resta's studio at 4 Coburg Place, Bayswater, London on January 8, 1889. From Blavatsky Archives. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume X.
200px January 8, 1889 Enrico Resta This is another of the six poses taken in Resta's studio at 4 Coburg Place, Bayswater, London on January 8, 1889. From Blavatsky Archives. Printed in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume VIII.
Resta portrait 5.jpg January 8, 1889 Enrico Resta This is another of the six poses taken in Resta's studio at 4 Coburg Place, Bayswater, London on January 8, 1889. From Blavatsky Archives. Scanned from H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume XII.
HPB with Mead and Pryse.jpg 1890 Unknown HPB sitting in a bath-chair, with G. R. S. Mead (right) and James Morgan Pryse. Taken in London.
HPB in bath-chair.jpg 1890 Unknown HPB sitting in a bath-chair. This portrait appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931.
HPB in white lace.jpg 1890-1891 Unknown HPB in a white lace shawl holding a copy of The Path. Probably the last photo taken of her. This portrait appears in a collage as the frontispiece of World Theosophy in September 1931, and also in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume XIII.
HPB death mask.jpg 1891 Unknown Side view of death mask of HPB as printed in May 1991 issue of The Theosophist.,
HPB death mask front.jpg 1891 Unknown Front view of death mask of HPB, as printed on the cover of the May 1913 issue of The American Theosophist.
Borglum portrait of HPB.jpg ca1889-1909 Gutzon Borglum Painted for his Theosophist father by the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, copied from the Resta photograph. This painting hangs in the Meditation Room in the headquarters building of the Theosophical Society in America. It was painted between 1889 and 1909, when the father died.
HPB engraving by P Vishnevsky.jpg ca1893 P. Vishnevsky This engraving is modeled after the 1877 photo by Napoleon Sarony. It has been scanned from the Russian book «Загадочные племена на Голубых горах в дебрях Индии. Дурбар в Лагоре». СПб, 1893. (Mysterious Tribes from the Blue Mountains in the Deep of India; Durbar in Lahor, St.Peterburg, 1893.) The book is a compilation of articles originally printed in the Russian magazine Ruskii Viestnik (Russian Messenger) during the years 1883-1886 when HPB was supporting herself by writing travel stories.[23].

Thanks go to Oleg Boldyrev for providing the image. The location of the original art is unknown.

HPB from Posthumous Memoirs.jpg ca1896 Unknown This is the cover art for a purported autobiography dictated from beyond the grave by Madame Blavatsky, Posthumous Memoirs by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Joseph M. Wade, in the preface to this work, described how the spirit of George W. Stephens operated a typewriting machine designed by G. W. N. Yost, whose spirit supervised the operation. The typewriter was enclosed in a cabinet placed a few feet away from a medium who was connecting with HPB. Published in Boston by Jos. M Wade and in London by H. A. Copley 1896. Available from Library of Congress. The image may be an automatic drawing.
Founders stature in Adyar.jpg 1907 Govinda Pillai This statue stands in the Great Hall of the Headquarters Building in Adyar, Chennai, India. "The Colonel stands beside H. P. Blavatsky, who is seated, with his hand on her shoulder, an upright, robust figure, with venerable beard and strongly cut features." The statue was unveiled on December 7, 1907." Colonel Olcott had died on February 17 of that year, and the unveiling was an occasion to honor him and his work with Madame Blavatsky. Tribute addresses were given by Sir S. Subramania Iyer, Mr. V. C. Seshachariar, Dr. W. A. English, Mr. P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar, Mr. Sitarama Shastri, Mrs. Russak, and Annie Besant.[24]
Helder - Sketch of HPB.jpg 1930 Z. Vanessa Helder Graphite sketch based on an 1878 photograph, as published in World Theosophy vol. 1 no. 8, August 1931, p. 599. Previously it had been printed in The Personality of H. P. Blavatsky, a pamphlet written by C. Jinarājadāsa in 1930.
Fake of HPB with Ascended Masters.jpg 1930s-1950s Unknown This is a FAKE photograph of HPB with the "Ascended Masters." See "The Fake Photo" at BlavatskyTheosophy.com website for more information.
HPB drawings from 1850s photo.jpg Unknown, before 2000s Unknown This pencil drawing was made from the 1850s photograph. It was scanned from a reproduction of the pencil drawing in Theosophical Society in America Archives.
Blavatsky HP - stature with sphynx.jpg 2004 Alexey Leonov This work, entitled "Sphinx of XIX century," is made of a ceramic called "grog" (also known as firesand and chamotte). It is in a private collection in Moscow.[25]
Blavatsky HP - head (A.Leonov) 2.jpg 2008 Alexey Leonov This original sculpture is in the Museum of H.P.Blavatsky and her family (Dnepr, Ukraine).[26]

In 2015-2016, bronze versions of this pose were installed at the Theosophical Society headquarters in Adyar, Chennai, India, and at the International Theosophical Centre in Naarden, The Netherlands. These installations were facilitated by Dialogue of Cultures - United World Fund.

Blavatsky HP - head (A.Leonov) 1.jpg 2011 Alexey Leonov This sculpture is on permanent exhibition at "Великие Учителя человечества" (Great Teachers of Humanity) in the ethnographic park "Этномир" (Ethno-world), Kaluga region, Russia.[27]
HPB drawing from 1877 Sarony.jpg Unknown Unknown Drawing derived from photograph by J. Beardsley in 1878. Location of original is unknown. Scanned from photograph.
HPB watercolor from 1877 Sarony.jpg Unknown Unknown Watercolor derived from photograph by J. Beardsley in 1878. Location of original is unknown. Scanned from photograph.
  1. John Algeo turned "A Pictorial Look at H.P. Blavatsky" into a PDF file that he printed out. A copy is in the John Algeo Papers, Records Series 08.12, Theosophical Society in America Archives, and that was the impetus for this project. The URL was http://www.theosophycanada.com/bios/HPB_Bio.htm. It was printed on June 18, 2005. A backup is available on the Wayback Machine of the Internet Archive, for the date November 5, 2005.
  2. Slide show called "HP Blavatsky - A Pictorial Biography" is available at Theosophy Canada, along with individual photographs. Accessed November 13, 2018.
  3. Rogelle Pelletier email to Janet Kerschner. September 15, 2017. Rogelle wrote, "Further to your wondering about the slides and narrative, our understanding is that Geoffrey Barborka assembled them and wrote the descriptions. He had also written an introduction, which has been included in the presentation."
  4. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  5. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  6. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  7. Eugene Rollin Corson, Some Unpublished Letters of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (London: Rider & Co., 1929), 171.
  8. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  9. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  10. Joma Sipe email to Janet Kerschner. 20 December 2018. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
  11. Joma Sipe email to Janet Kerschner. 20 December 2018. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
  12. H. P. Blavatsky, "Diaries of H. P. Blavatsky" in H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume I, page 409.
  13. Joma Sipe email to Janet Kerschner. 20 December 2018. Theosophical Society in America Archives.
  14. Sunrise 46.5 (June/July, 1977), inside front cover.
  15. Joma Sipe email to Janet Kerschner, 20 December 2018. Theosophical Society in America Archives. He also wrote, "This photo appeared for the first time on an Exhibition for the Celebrations of the 180th birthday of HPB on the Nicholas Roerich Museum."
  16. Boris de Zirkoff, ed. H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume VI, 1883-1884-1885 (Los Angeles: Blavatsky Writings Publication Fund, 1954), 299. [[Boris de Zirkoff[[ wrote the caption of an illustration that showed the second version of this painting.
  17. Boris de Zirkoff, ed. H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume VI, 1883-1884-1885 (Los Angeles: Blavatsky Writings Publication Fund, 1954), 299. [[Boris de Zirkoff[[ wrote the caption of an illustration that showed the second version of this painting.
  18. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  19. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  20. William Quan Judge, Echoes of the Orient Volume 1 Second edition (Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 2009), 262. Compiled by Dara Eklund.
  21. Boris de Zirkoff, ed. H. P. Blavatsky Collected Writings Volume X, 1883-1884-1885 (Wheaton, Illinois: Theosophical Publishing Company, 1964), 176.
  22. Description from Theosophy Canada website, 2005.
  23. See also pamphlet by H. P. Blavatsky, translated by Mary G. Langford: Mr. Peters and the Goddess.
  24. "The Unveiling of Colonel Olcott's Statue," World Theosophy 2.12 (December, 1932), 634-636.
  25. Information provided by Ukrainian artist via Pavel Malakhov.
  26. Information provided by Ukrainian artist via Pavel Malakhov.
  27. Information provided by Ukrainian artist via Pavel Malakhov.