Happy Summer Solstice!
“Solstice” is derived from “sol,” meaning sun, and “sistere,” to stand still. As the summer solstice approaches, the noonday sun rises higher and higher in the sky on each successive day, but on the day of the solstice it rises an imperceptible amount compared to the day before, and so it is said to stand still. In some languages solstices and equinoxes begin or separate the seasons; in others, they are the center points. This is so with the Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer.
In celebration of Midsummer I present Queen Titania inspired by William Shakespeare “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”. In 2009 Kyle took Ginny McQueen, Adella and I to Russia for a cosplay gathering and photoshoot. While the main photoshoot by the talented Kyle is still in the works, Mr.Gnob snapped some amazing photos!
Ruler of the Seelie Court, and all realms of the heart, Queen Titania graces her kingdom with her wisdom and beauty. She pervades this court with her King and lover, Oberon. Subjects in the faerie court seek Titania’s knowledge and intuition concerning matters of love and companionship. Each wedding that takes place in the fey realm is attended by the Queen, for if her presence is absent, the union will prove to be a disastrous one! If you happen to catch a glimpse of Titania and Oberon during a midsummer procession, it is believed you will be lucky in love.
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in”
– “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare”
The name “Titania” conjures images of an ethereal Queen adorned in gauzy layers of sparkling fabric. The color palette of her gown represents her purity and royalty. I used silver, gold, and pearl details on champagne brocade. The crystal heart emblem worn on her chest represents the subject that she holds dearest. The skirt, bolero, and Tudor inspired collar are dotted with gold glitter, which adds faerie glamor to her overall visage. Glass bubbles, and snowy white periwinkles are caught in the golden strands that create her necklace.
Peterhof Palace – Saint Petersburg – Russia
Peterhof is an immensely luxurious and beautifully preserved Imperial estate, founded in 1710 by Peter the Great on the shore of the Gulf of Finland (Baltic Sea). It combines several ornate palaces, a number of beautifully landscaped parks and a dazzling array of magnificent statues and fountains, lending it the epithet “The Russian Versailles”. The focal point of both the Lower Park and the Upper Garden is the magnificent Grand Palace (Bolshoi Dvorets) with the Grand Cascade (Bolshoi Kaskad ) in front of it. The original palace was built for Peter the Great between 1714 and 1725 and was later remodeled by the Baroque architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli.
The Grand Cascade flows spectacularly from beneath the palace towards the Baltic Sea and is one of the largest fountain ensembles in the world. From the Grand Cascade’s largest fountain, decorated with a magnificent gold statue of Samson battling with the lion, a channel flows through the park to the pier, where hydrofoils and boats from St. Petersburg dock. Multiple fountains and pavilions are scattered throughout the park and in a quiet corner of the Alexandria Park visitors can wander through the carefully preserved Cottage palace of Nicholas I.