The Coronado Couple

I’ve had the idea of an image — two friendly people walking, seen from behind — and a particular Franklin quote in mind for two years as the central window and capstone window for the north wall of my library. While on Coronado Island in February 2024, I was on the little balcony of our room, and saw a couple walking and took this picture:

Following the instruction to bring in images meaningful to me, I took this image into a week-long class with my long-adored glass painter Joseph Cavalieri:

Not only was this image very close to the image I had in mind for my North Wall window, the image of this couple had special meaning, given the reason we were on Coronado to begin with. So when I introduced myself to the class, I explained that I was here for a combination of glass painting and grief counseling. Joseph took this in stride, and we had a great week.

Martin Mangold (me), and Joseph Cavalieri,
Weisser Glass Studios, Kensington, Maryland
March 2024

The quote is from the final words of Claude-Anne Lopez’s Mon Cher Papa – Franklin and the Ladies of Paris:

And often, in my dreams, I dine with you, I sit beside you on one of your thousand sofas, or I walk with you in your beautiful garden.

BF to Madame Helvetius, October 25, 1788. Translation from Mon Cher Papa, p. 334

Some other images I incorporated were trees (from an image in an edition of the Autobiography), trees in a row, the receding pathway in my brother’s woods in Vermont, and an hourglass. Joseph recognized that the technical challenge for me was to do all the coloring and content with paint on clear glass, and my friend Stuart Gordon helped me assemble the frame. Joseph posted it on his own Instagram feed:

Coronado Couple panel in the classroom studio with Joseph Cavalieri
Showing the panel before any framing, in full light.

I’m not sure where it will go permanently, but for now it’s resting in the middle window of the north wall of my library. I’m enjoying how it changes in various lighting conditions:

The Coronado Couple in less-bright daylight.

It’s a foot down in a new place on my path, personal expression, incorporating the images of my family, nieces, nephews, and the quarter-year between the winter solstice of December 2023 and the vernal equinox of 2024. I’m a little vague here about the events of that quarter, happy to discuss it privately.

I’d also be delighted to correspond with the two people I photographed – my email is [email protected]

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