Sunday, September 30, 2012

Latest Erzebet Newsletter

More original work soon on the legal status of women in Erzebet's position and the Ottoman occupation of Europe. More, also, about slandering powerful women and resentment towards them and information about women as victims of witch hunts. Enjoy. Greetings good people of COBSAE, Community of Bathory Scholars and Enthusiasts After taking the summer off, we are pleased to present you with our latest newsletter. As we look forward to the beauty and mystery of the fall season, we have the pleasure of interviewing and featuring the works of artists Kurt Wiscombe and Alex Adams whose hauntingly beautiful paintings pay homage to the Countess. And, speaking of a work of art, we update you on the availability of the supreme pewter figurine of the Lady Bathory that Doug Gardiner designed and brought to life. Only a few are left, and it is a beautiful piece that an enthusiast should add to their collection. Finally, we introduce a new segment entitled, "Her Ladyship's History & Mysteries" where we ask you, our members, for your insights and opinions on historical topics and questions surrounding the Countess. As always we appreciate your continued support and look forward to hearing from you. We invite you to participate in future issues by submitting your Bathory related writing, poetry, artwork and historical insights to: We hope you enjoy this issue and have a lovely fall season. Liz Carrington
COBSAE is a community of enthusiasts dedicated to research, discussion, and the appreciation of one of history’s most enigmatic figures, Countess Erzsébet Báthory. Community of Báthory Scholars & Enthusiasts Greetings, Good People of COBSAE! FALL 2012 We hope you enjoyed a relaxing summer. As we return from our hiatus, we look forward to the cool and calm change of the season. In this issue, we celebrate autumn’s gothic beauty and mystery by featuring a portrayal of Countess Bathory in the stunningly beautiful and magnificently macabre artwork of Alex Adams and Kurt Wiscombe. In addition, Doug Gardiner nobly immortalizes the Countess in a magnificent miniature sculpture and offers us the opportunity to obtain our very own piece of this one-of –a-kind work of art! Finally, we open the forum up to you as we begin a new segment entitled: Her Ladyship’s History and Mysteries, where we ask our members for their thoughts and opinions on posted topics. COBSAE members who participate will have their responses published in our next edition and be entered in a drawing to win a photograph of one of the Countess’ private letters! As always, we would love to hear from you and make your contributions a part of our next issue! Feel free to write us at: also invite you to join our Facebook Group and like our Infamous Lady Fan Page on Facebook! Many thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm! ~ Liz Carrington, COBSAE Co-founder In this Issue: Nobly Immortal...............................2 Gallery Macabre: An interview with Artists Alex Adams & Kurt Wiscombe…………………….……..........3 Her Ladyship’s History & Mysteries………9 The Last Word News & Reviews…………..10 Join COBSAE @: The Blood Countess, Erzsébet Bathory 1560-1614 © Alex Adams, 2009 Nobly Immortal A vision of the Countess Comes to Life “As an owner of one of these gorgeous sculptures, I will tell you that it is well worth it! The detail is exquisite and the quality is solid! A must have for the serious enthusiast!” ~Liz Carrington 2 COBSAE: Can you give us a few details about the figurine and how we may obtain one? DG: “The Countess Erzsébet Bathory figurine stands 4 inches high, standing upright with hands clasped in the front below her waist; she is dressed in the costume worn in the portrait, reproduced in incredible detail by the artist. The circular base of the figurine also shows traces of the stone paving of Čachtice castle. The figurine is hollow and weighs 250g. I am offering the figures for sale exclusively through the COBSAE newsletter. At this stage I only have a very limited number available but will have more figures produced within a couple of months if there is a demand for them. Figures will be posted from Australia.” The figurines are priced at US $39.95 each Postage within Australia is AU $10.00 Postage overseas is US $20.00 Tracking is optional and is available for an extra $5.00 For complete details please email Doug Gardiner at: if you are interested in purchasing one of these detailed figurines. Last year Doug Gardiner had a vision of the Lady Bathory and a quest began to seek a sculpture of her as the astute noble she was and not the blood-crazed murderess of popular lore. When nothing turned up, he took matters into his own hands and decided to have one created. He shares more about this fascinating figurine and how you can own one of these unique pieces. COBSAE: What sparked your interest in the Countess and then taking it a step further to have these unique figurines created? DG: “I have been interested in the life of Countess Erzsébet Bathory for many years now. I first found out about the Countess when I was in school, reading about her infamous blood bathing habit in a book on vampires. For years I accepted this as the truth until I began reading the biographies written by Raymond T. McNally, Tony Thorne, and most recently Kimberly L. Craft ’s ‘Infamous Lady’. These books presented me with the facts rather than the legends, and I found that I began to develop an interest in the truth about the Countess, not just the bloody and violent legends that initially fascinated me as a teenager. As a collector, I have always been dismayed by the limited figural representations of Countess Bathory that were available. The only display pieces I could find were of the Countess naked and slathered in blood and gore. With my new found interest in the truth about the Countess, I was disappointed that no one had created a classic and dignified figurine that replicated the Countess as she appears in the often reproduced portrait. I decided to have a pewter figurine created using the portrait as the basis for the design. I contacted a company specialising in creating custom pewter figurines and provided them with several images and notes in order to have the figure produced. When work was complete I was very happy with the result, and I knew other members of COBSAE would be interested in obtaining one of these figurines.” COBSAE: What emotions do you wish to invoke and which senses do you want to stimulate within those who view your art? AA: I want to invoke curiosity and provoke the imagination visually. I am interested in hearing what others feel when they see my work, and like to leave it open for interpretation. KW: With many of my paintings, I try to express a feeling of morbid curiosity. From an emotional standpoint my paintings are an expression of whatever my feelings were at the time I was working on the particular painting or at the time the inspiration for a piece hits me. COBSAE: How did you start your careers as artists, and how and when did the Skull & Bones Gallery come to life? AA: I became interested in art at a young age, when I was little I would draw things so that I could remember them. My interest in art has grown with me throughout my life. KW: I have pursued art for most of my life and it has taken me all that time to find my voice as an artist, to be in a place where I feel that I can use my art as a form of expression. For a long time Alex and I talked about the idea of having a place to display our paintings. In 2008 the space that we had always wanted became available and we decided to jump on it. We had our grand opening in july 2009. We use the gallery to display our works to the public as well we have had events such as unveilings of new works. COBSAE: When did you become interested in learning more about the Countess? How does her history influence or find its way into your work? AA: I had originally heard of Erzsebet Bathory in the media, movies and books... the romantic portrayal of the Countess Bathory, I have always been intrigued by her story, as I learned more about her, I found much of her story has been told in many different ways. I like to reference her as a subject matter because of her mystery. KW: I first heard of Erzsebet Bathory while reading the book “In Search of Dracula” by Raymond T. McNally and Radu Florescu. Gallery Macabre An interview with Artists Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams When you behold the artwork of Kurt Wiscombe and Alex Adams, you are led into a mysterious and magnificently macabre realm where life, death, beauty and antiquity coalesce. The husband and wife team are the proprietors of the Skull & Bones Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba where their art is housed and displayed. We had the pleasure of learning more about them, their work and their interpretations of Countess Bathory. Website: Facebook: Kurt Wiscombe Alex Adams Skull & Bones Gallery FB Group Blog: Twitter: @Kurtwiscombe @Alex Adams36 Email: ©Alex Adams, 2007 Learn more about and connect with Kurt & Alex on the web @: 3 ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2012 as stylistically true to the period as I can be, with a little artistic license here or there. In general, I have an interest in that period, the renaissance was a time when the arts flourished and science, literature, music and architecture was at a pivotal point in history. I try to portray the people I paint as having a story and being from a certain time and place, sometimes inspired by history but not always meant to be someone specifically. COBSAE: Tell us more about your piece “The Blood Countess - Erzsébet Bathory 1560 - 1614” What compelled you to create it? What aspects of her character did you wish to bring to life in your painting, what do we see through her eyes? AA: I wanted to portray her in the time of her life when she was at her most fiery passion, in the thick of the events that became so infamous. I started out painting her with an idea of how I wanted her to look and the mood I wanted to portray. As I was painting it, Kurt would come into my studio and read to me excerpts from the book “Infamous Lady” by Kim Craft, which he was reading at the time, as I was painting and hearing the testimonials of what she had done and some of the stories of her life, the image started to take shape. This painting was for a show at a local gallery. Although I had been thinking about doing it for a while, Kurt encouraged me to begin working on it for that show. I was trying to show in her eyes the secrets that only she would know, obsession, power and knowledge. She was a very educated woman and I believe she had a complex personality with much more to her than meets the eye… and perhaps much more than we will ever know. Visually I worked from written descriptions of her. I had seen the famous portrait of her supposedly done from a copy of a lifetime one. I found the Bathory coat of arms in one of the books we have about her. I also created the painting based on what I had read about her behaviour and her possible intentions. I have, actually, just put the finishing touches on a new painting inspired by Countess Bathory. This one is inspired in part by an early film portrayal of her, I took a few liberties with the costume based on my research of eastern European dress of the time, and the color pallette is similar to famous eastern European paintings of that period. I found her story to be very interesting and started doing more research. I read everything I could find on her, often the stories differed from each other, which intrigued me more, and I’m still very interested in her story. I read quite a bit and I have always been a bit of a history buff, many of my paintings are inspired by historical periods so it’s possible that Countess Bathory may have crept in there somewhere in a subliminal way. COBSAE: Alex, your portraits of the women of the renaissance are haunting and beautiful, what inspired you to start painting period pieces? ‘White Queen’ ©Alex Adams, 2009 AA: Well, thank you... The renaissance period has always had a special place in my heart. As soon as I started painting at a young age I was drawn to the art of such artists as Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci and other master artists of the time, I think that my interest in the works of these artists planted an interest for me in the people portrayed in the paintings and their lives. I wanted to go deep into the paintings, to discover their hidden secrets. This started in me an interest in history, particularly the stories of some of the women around the royal courts of mediaeval Europe. Kurt and I have had the opportunity to travel a bit, we have been though Florence, Rome, London, Paris, places like that where we were able to view the works of these master painters, and see a bit of the places they came from. One thing I really like about painting this genre is the costumes. The fabrics and the jewelry all work together to create an atmosphere. I spend a lot of time researching these aspects of what will eventually become a part of my paintings; I try to be . Gallery Macabre An interview with Artists Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams Continued 4 5 The Blood Countess-Erzsébet Bathory 1560-1614 ©Alex Adams, 2009 “I wanted to portray her in the time of her life when she was at her most fiery passion, in the thick of the events that became so infamous… I was trying to show in her eyes the secrets that only she would know, obsession, power and knowledge.” Gallery Macabre… Continued ‘Vampire’ ©Alex Adams, 2007 ‘Woman with Rose’ ©Alex Adams, 2007 These Haunting images inspire thoughts of a young Countess… …Or perhaps, one of her victims. COBSAE: If you were to portray a scene or mood involving Countess Bathory, what would it look like? KW: Over the years I have had a few ideas of how I would paint her, or at least something inspired by her story, but I haven’t nailed it down specifically yet. I hope to someday be able to go to Hungary and sketch some of the sites where the legend of Erzsebet Bathory unfolded. I know it is somewhat of a mystery where her final resting place is, but if I could ever find it, that would be the ultimate inspiration. Anytime I can come into contact with history, it speaks to me. To see her personal letters in person, to see the castle Csejthe and the country where she lived, that would be something. 6 An Interview with Artists Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams Continued COBSAE: Kurt, your expressions of experience and mood revolving around skulls and bones are breathtaking. Tell us more about your ‘Death Art’ and how did it come into being? KW: Thank you... I have had a lifelong curiosity of the macabre, going back to my early childhood; I have childhood memories of wondering about death, bones, funerals, mourning culture and things like that. I’ve always been inclined to draw or paint images of death. I spend a lot of time exploring the morbid side of life, I enjoy going to cemeteries, I collect mourning items and death related things. I am very interested in the story teller and in many ways the skeletons I paint are the story tellers. Don’t get me wrong though, while I’ll admit that I have an obsession with death, I am actually very much about living and I try to live life to the fullest, I consider my fascination with death to be a bit ironic especially since some of the biggest adventures I have had in life have been seeking out the dead. ‘The Order’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2010 ‘Plagues Messenger’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2010 ‘The Procession’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2010 ‘Capuchin Catacomb’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2009 Gallery Macabre Continued COBSAE: What inspires you to tell a particular story? Who are your skeletons? For example, what is the tale behind your work, ‘Coronation Day’ or ‘The Procession’? I am mostly inspired by the world around me, I see things that will just do it for me sometimes. “Coronation Day” came to me through my interest in another historical figure, Queen Elizabeth I. On a trip to London a few years ago Alex and I went to visit Westminster Abbey and when we saw the effigy of Queen Elizabeth on her tomb, I couldn’t help but imagine if I could lift the lid and have a peak what she would look like now! I actually discovered later that her actual coffin is in a chamber beneath the floor with a few other royal coffins, so there is no lid to lift! The image came to me after that moment. I actually have plans to do another painting based on the effigy of Queen Elizabeth itself. ‘Coronation Day’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2010 “The Procession”, is something loosely inspired by the “Dance of Death”, of which I have an extensive book collection on the subject. In this case the procession is all reapers heading away to do there grim work, the main figure looks back as if to speak to the viewer with his boney sockets, perhaps to say it may be your turn next! As well, I was reading about the Black Death around that time. The original painting is framed with convex glass over it and when you walk towards it, you can see your reflection in the glass, as if you are part of the procession. Each of my paintings has a story, all of them different. In recent years I have worked a bit in still life, in this case I am seeking out subjects that interest me sketching them, then painting from the sketches and from memory. This has brought me to some interesting places. I spent four days sitting in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily sketching the mummified dead. I did a painting of the coffin of Louis Riel who was the founder of Manitoba, the province Alex and I live in, and who was hanged for treason, and shipped home in a black coffin. A few months ago, I went to the Catacombs in Paris and sat there sketching in the dark. I am finding still life more of a challenge as I am painting subjects from real life and not my imagination. 7 About the Artists… Haunting images of a long lost day of decadence where elegance was a daily ritual, these are the images that dominate the imagination of Alex Adams. Her latest series of Oil paintings explore this world through portraiture and other imagery inspired by romantic figures of history and literature. Primarily a self-taught artist, Alex has been using artwork as a voice for her creative expression for most of her life. Over the years Alex has worked in various different mediums, in 2006 she started working in Oils. Other mediums in which she has worked include charcoal, ink, and graphite on paper. Her heroes in the art world are some of the great masters of painting, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, to these legends she looks up to very much and their art has left a great impression on her as she visits art galleries around the world to see the actual brush strokes of these masters. She also enjoys the art of many contemporary artists as well. She is an art lover and appreciator Alex also has a fascination with the morbid and ironic beauty of old cemeteries and will not pass up the opportunity to visit any that she may come across in her travels. ‘Reliquary’ ©Kurt Wiscombe, 2010 ‘Cemetery’ ©Alex Adams, 2010 8 Kurt Wiscombe considers his paintings to be his true voice as an artist, an expression of the world around him and his many fascinations. For nearly a decade, Kurt has been working on a series of "Death Art", mostly images of skulls, bones and macabre symbolism. To Kurt, images of death and particularly skulls are like a talisman that resonates of lives once lived and an experience that none of us yet has, but all of us must one day, experience. An Interview with Artists Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams Continued Want to find about more Kurt and Alex’s latest projects? Be sure to follow them on the web, Facebook & Twitter! Her Ladyship’s History & Mysteries We are pleased to premiere our new segment this fall where we open the forum to you, our esteemed members! Each season we will post a discussion topic or question for your input and opinions. Participants will have their responses featured in the next issue and be entered in a drawing to win a photograph of one of the private letters written by the Countess! Our inaugural topic has lately been a popular one and revolves around the question of the Countess’ death and final resting place. Many questions and legends have popped up as a result of the lack of information and evidence of where the Countess was finally laid to rest. So we ask you, dear reader, what do you think? “Where do you believe Countess Bathory was buried, if at all? What do you think may have happened to her body?” Báthory family church and mausoleum, Nyírbátor, Hungary Send your response, including your name, via email to: The Last Word News & Reviews Infamous Lady: The True Story of Countess Erzsébet Báthory Expanded Digital Edition Coming Soon to an iPad Near You! Exclusively for iPad via iTunes & iBooks! Prof. Kimberly Craft brings you exciting new content in this interactive and visually stunning special electronic edition. You will find information including new letters, images, and media such as videos and audio. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you more information as the release date nears and let you know when it’s available and where to download your copy! From “A Good Read” I enjoyed reading this book on Elizabeth Bathory and some of the letters she had written. I have many books on her and this was different and more personal. It made you feel as if you are reading what was not intended for others to read since it was her personal letters. It took you into the mind of Bathory and had feeling behind it. I think Craft did a real good job on the book. I would had liked it to have been bigger and had more variety of letters. I did like that it also contained info not in her other Bathory book. Both books together are a good way to learn about Elizabeth Bathory and are favorites of mine..” ~ N. Radd If you’ve read Infamous Lady, The Private Letters of Countess Erzsébet Báthory, or Elizabeth Bathory: A Memoire, we’d love to hear your feedback! Please share your reviews with us @: We hope you enjoyed this issue! We look forward to your thoughts and feedback! If you’re a fan of the Countess and would like to contribute to a future issue, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you and feature your contributions. Please write to us or send your inquiry to: Community of Báthory Scholars & Enthusiasts FALL 2012 Many thanks to the members who have so generously contributed to the creation of this newsletter: COBSAE Founder /Author, Kimberly L. Craft COBSAE Co-founder / Production Editor, Liz Carrington Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams Douglas Gardiner Features: “Nobly Immortal” Douglas Gardiner “Gallery Macabre” Kurt Wiscombe & Alex Adams Images Courtesy of: Kurt Wiscombe, Alex Adams, Douglas Gardiner, Kimberly L. Craft Last Word Review: N. Radd

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