Wednesday, October 14, 2009

La Belle Chocolatière

Or ---- Baker's Chocolate Lady to those who are familiar with one of the first commercial advertising images to be used in the United States. But I digress - I'll begin with the paper.

I looked at a lot of paper last week, most of it was local and none of it was later than 1900. That's right - it was all earlier than 1900. The only problem with paper that's this old is coming up with advertising images which are appropriate for the time period.

I only found one piece of Confectionery paper, and it's dated February 16, 1881. Montana was not a state, but Helena had a Candy Factory! I have yet to determine where in Helena the Montana Candy Factory was located, and I also have yet to determine where J. H. McKnight & Company was located, but I do note that whomever the Candy Factory employee was that sold this candy states on the bottom of the bill head that he "Will send by Gov Team". Apparently, it took men with weapons to deliver your candy in 1881!

In 1760, Jean Ettiene Liotard did a pastel entitled "La Belle Chocolatière". Liotard's model for the pastel was Anna Baltauf, the poor (literally) daughter of a Viennese knight and a chocolate server, who later married Austrian Prince Ditrichstein. The Prince fell in love with Anna one day when he chanced to go in a House of Chocolate shoppe. He later married her and had the pastel commissioned.

In 1852, Walter Baker, the man who founded Baker's Chocolate died and left the business in his will to his brother-in-law Sidney B. Williams and a nephew, Henry L. Pierce. Under the management of Williams and Pierce, Walter Baker & Company, grew into a large chocolate business near Dorchester, Massachusetts.

In 1881, while traveling in Europe, Henry Pierce saw the pastel of La Belle Chocolatiere in a gallery in Dresden, Germany. Immediately, he decided to adopt "this chocolate server" as the trademark for Walter Baker's.

I have a number of bill heads from after the turn of the century which list Baker's Chocolate as a line item, and I intend to portray the Baker's Chocolate Lady on more than one of them. This paper was in such good shape that I simply couldn't resist doing this one as a first effort.

I obtained the image for this rendition from Susan E at This Old Paper, and she's getting a Thank You as soon as I'm through posting this.


  1. This 'sweet' little chocolate lady gets around! Love your inspired creation!
    Susan E

  2. Digress, digress, Dave! Anything about choolate has to be good, LOL! Love this one, she's wonderful. Great little tale to go with this piece too! Fancy having your sweets delivered by armed guards, although looking around at the members of my household maybe thats a good idea! Now I think I need a sweet fix, all this chocky talk has my mouth watering, :)

  3. Ok, I started had to go get a chocolate fix just now (and it's only 7.50 in hte morning (well, there I remembered there was a chocolate button lying on the bench that fell out of the packet last night after making muffins...). Ha ha.

  4. Dave,
    She is truly wonderful. I'm very curious about this candy factory and what they made in 1881. I imagine brightly-colored penny candies and the like, but maybe this was fancier.

  5. I really enjoyed this post about chocolate and the way the art was obtained for it. I am not so sure of how you add the art to the paper. Is it a Photoshop thing or is it something you have printed? Either way, it always looks good, and the story always reads very well. I would say there might be a book in the deal somewhere along the route. I hope you have covered all the bases and can get the copyrights all worked out. But I would think this information would make an ideal book.

  6. Me again...

    Well, thanks for the explanation on how you get the art on the paper. For some reason I was thinking you got the art as well as the paper and combined the two on the computer. It never even occurred to me that you were actually doing the drawings as well.

    Well, colored pencils is/was/would still be my favorite medium for paper. I used them for years and used to buy a new huge box of Prismacolor Colored Pencils before my first box was used down to stubs. Then I would give the used box to one of my kids.

    I liked to blend the colors and see they now have a blending pencil.

  7. I still have my real dog tags or originals. I got another pair (you have to order two as they sell one with chain to to get a pair you need to order two) from a place online. I think $5.00 plus shipping. Not much. There is a limit as to how many letters and lines. Mine have 5 lines with my name, address and a P for protestant and A for blood type. Type in Dog Tags in Yahoo search to find a place that makes them. They look real and are made on an old dog tag machine the guy must have bought.

  8. What a great piece. And I enjoyed reading all about it. :-)

  9. Hi Dave, want to say hello over here and thank you for providing a couple of interesting blogs in addition to your own (Tattered & Lost; Forgotten Bookmarks) to add to my reading list!