March 26, 2017


It is Mother’s Day in the UK today. Yesterday it was my birthday. So what better time than to make a blog post full of gift ideas?

my husband handed me my birthday present after my birthday breakfast (which included pastries and apple pie). And yes, I am very happy with my new windscreen wipers. Really. 😉 I had been nagging my husband for ages to replace the windscreen wipers of my car as they were so loud and screechy. (I probably could have done it myself as it isn’t hard) so I couldn’t help but laugh when they appeared as my birthday present.


Although we never do anything about mothers day in my family (it might be less of a thing in The Netherlands?) I thought this weekend would be the perfect timing for a blog post with the perfect presents for arty, art history loving mums, or dads, or childless people, or, well, your dog. I am just assuming that I am not as unique as I’d like to think and there are others out there who like the same things as I do. Prove me wrong in the comments below if you must.

We’ll start off seriously.

Gift box of Pastel or Paint

I think most artists would drool over any arty gift box. I mean we are of a species that cannot resist a box full of glorious colour, right? Although I love many different types of art materials and one of my best ever birthday gifts (besides the windscreen wipers obviously) was a set of Vasari oil paint, nothing beats the yummy look of a box of pastels. Hundreds of coloured sticks easily beats a few metal tubes visually. Sorry, but it is a fact. So for the sheer yumminess and candy store feeling, a gorgeous box of pastel hits the spot!




Most of us artists, art lovers, art history lovers and probably even dog lovers devour books (my dog does!).  We can probably make a list of just books; art practice books, art history books, historical novels.  Just a few highlights from my wish list and book shelves.These are some favourites:

Some that I have just bought and am about to read:

Some great painting books:

  • Mitchell Albala, Landscape Painting
    Not just for landscape painters, as it is full of general fabulous painting advice.
  • Richard Schmid, Alla Prima
    There is also an Alla Prima II now, and for many the painting bible of all time. Down to earth and engaging work on how to paint directly.
  • Linda Cateura, David Leffel, Oil Painting Secrets from a Master​Great book full of advice for oil painters.


Every gift list contains a mug. Or so it seems. And we all get them for Christmas, as a joke, and we all use them and like nice ones, funny ones and big ones. There are many mugs for artists. Most play on the fact that we tend to dip our brush in our tea instead of our paint water.  Can’t say I’ve ever made that mistake though. Maybe more one for watercolour artists?

I quite like the art history mugs at the National Portrait Gallery. Although art history has moved on a bit from all the -ism’s and the linear take on history, it surely doesn’t hurt to drink your -ism’s with an Assam flavour.
Or better still, with the kings & queens mug I can practice for my citizenship test (I might need it after Brexit!).

17th Century Dutch Glass

OK, lets move away from mugs. If we’re talking drinks and gifts and something really amazing, I quite like the reproduction 17th century Roemer glasses the Rijksmuseum sells (€59.95). You can see these types of glasses in many 17th century genre and still life paintings. Think Heda and the like.  That’s said, an original 17th century one would be even better! You must have a rather large wallet though, and have no kids or pets, and better not drink from it…. £775

Antique Lace

If we are talking really truly nice antiques and money is no object, well you can guess what I would go for….. Have a look at this £1700 late 17th century beauty….. English needle lace.


Bosh Figurine

Various museums started doing these funny and quirky Bosch figurines. They are perhaps a bit naff but also funny and quirky. So why not. £40


Tudor Dog Costume

Talking about naff….. I spotted this on Etsy. Any takers? No, not on my dog. Seriously. Get real. Picture

Feel free to let me know what you think of my suggestions in the comments below. Do you agree with my choices?

About the author 


Sophie is an art historian, artist, art tutor, and writer. She writes on art history and painting (oils and pastel). The 17th century is probably her favourite era, although the ancient Romans are currently fighting for the lead spot. She is currently researching lace in Tudor portraiture.

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