Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Oudry - well . . . kind of

I have to laugh at myself, which is something I do pretty regularly.  I was preparing an "O" post about Georgia O'Keeffe.  However, as I often do in internet land, I went wandering.  My clicking took me to a painting by Jean-Baptiste Oudry, a French painter that lived from 1686 to 1755.  When I saw the title of the below paining I just had to know more.  Why was Oudry painting a rhinoceros, and more importantly, how did she get the name of Clara?  I'm cheating (just a bit) because this story is really about Clara and not about Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

Clara the Rhinoceros, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1749

In 1738 when she was just one month old, Clara was adopted by a human in India after her mother was killed by hunters.  After a few years, Clara ended up in the hands of a ship’s captain, who sailed her off to Europe.  What a journey that must have been.  She disembarked at Rotterdam (Netherlands) in 1741, at the age of 3.  She then started a lifelong journey visiting many of the capitals of Europe.  She had audiences with King Frederick II of Prussia, Augustus III (the King of Poland) as well as King Louis XV.  She spent 5 months in Paris where Jean-Baptiste Oudry painted a life-size portrait of her.  After her stint in Paris she toured Italy, including Rome, Napes and Venice.  She made it to Prague, Warsaw and Copenhagen before her return to London in 1758.  She died in London at about the age of 20.

Clara the Rhinoceros in Venice, Pietro Longhai, 1751

With a few more clicks I found out there is actually a book about the story of Clara's life called "Clara's Grand Tour" by Glynis Ridley (2004).  Think they will make this into a movie?

Many thanks to Christine for pointing out Blogger wasn't working earlier.  I hope I've fixed it and people can now leave comments. 


  1. Cool post.
    Got your info from the Blogging from A to Z Twitter Chat!
    Have a great day!

    Heather M. Gardner
    The Waiting is the Hardest Part
    Stormy's Sidekick
    Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Co-Host

  2. Hi from Chile! We stumbled upon to your blog from the #AZChat ... have a great rest of the challenge!

  3. Hi from Twitter and A-Z land...
    I enjoyed your post. She had quite a life!
    Have a fab day!

  4. Hello! I also came to your site through #AZChat. You have a beautiful blog and I am so impressed by the lettered beadwork. Are you on Twitter? Your posts need to be shared with the world!

    ~ Michelle
    Happy A to Z!

    1. Hi Michelle,
      I may eventually venture onto Twitter, but for now my life is as full of social networking stuff as can comfortably fit. Thank you so much for your visit. I'm heading over to your blog right now :-)

  5. A rhinoceros touring Europe sounds funny to me, but back then it must have been exotic to see such a creature outside of her natural habitat. I am sure she was a pampered rhino.

  6. New follower here.

    I've seen one of these paintings somewhere. I didn't know the story behind it though. Very interesting.

    Visiting from #AZchat. Join in for next Twitter chat tonight at 8 PM Eastern Time #atozchallenge

    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  7. How fun and interesting this post was about Clara and how she came to be the subject of a Baptiste painting. Hope you can fit in O'Keeffe later...she is my FAV. Having been out of town and getting behind, I'm catching up with posting and visiting...hope you can stop by.
    Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

  8. Great painting. Georgia O'Keeffe, oh, she's a favorite, what a monster talent. I enjoyed reading the post and the beautiful images. Interesting, the connection between the painting and Clara's story.
    I'm glad I finally made it here, as your blog was recommended at the twitter AZ chat recommendation today.
    Silvia @


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