It’s Day 333 and I really enjoyed creating today’s piece. I was stumped at first at what I wanted to paint, but when the ideas started flowing, I had a great time. I also wanted to keep it somewhat simple, but also really capture the artist’s essence so to speak. 🙂 Join me in honoring Bridget Bate Tichenor.
Bridget Bate Tichenor (born Bridget Pamela Arkwright Bate on November 22, 1917 – died on October 20, 1990), also known as Bridget Tichenor or B.B.T., was a Mexican surrealist painter of fantastic art in the school of magic realism and a fashion editor. Born in Paris and of British descent, she later embraced Mexico as her home.
The mesmerizing story of the Magic Realist painter Bridget Bate Tichenor has never been told. It is a riveting revelation of an extraordinary female artist who impacted the 20th Century world of fashion, art, and society, with enormous contributions. Revealed are the intimacies and secrets of an outwardly beautiful, exotic, bold, and courageous, yet painfully shy and reclusive woman, who lived in extraordinary times, yet was unknown to her peers, colleagues, and the world at large.
Bridget lived in an astonishing way, in many contrasting countries, and in many revolutionary platforms. Her personal code of excellence has yet to be recognized or acknowledged, outside small and eccentric art circles. Bridget adhered to rarefied and noble standards of human pride, integrity, respect, discipline, and compassion.
She honored these humane traits above all else in life. Bridget’s impeccable values, in tandem with her determination and prioritization to execute her artistic vision, are the essence of her story, and substantiates her historical value.
Bridget inherited a peripatetic world from her self-absorbed, famous, and creatively gifted parents. It fueled deep insecurities, and was equally fed by fears of abandonment. Subsequently, in order to survive, she reinvented herself by necessity, and chose to mold herself into whatever she needed at any given time.
Bridget’s mother, Vera Bate Lombardi (Sarah Gertrude Baring Arkwright Fitzgeorge Bate Lombardi) was an indomitable combination of beauty and bravado with the highest connections. From 1925-1939, Vera became Co Co Chanel’s muse and Public Relations liaison to several European Royal Families.
Her demeanor and style influenced the ‘English Look’, the very foundation for the House of Chanel. Vera Bate Lombardi’s mother was Rosa Frederica Baring of the Baring Banking family, who had rescued the British Royal family during difficult economic times. Vera was allegedly an illegitimate descendent of George III, through her reputed father, HRH Prince Adolphus Cambridge, 1st Marquess of Cambridge Duke of Teck. She was presented socially as Fitzgeorge, as she was the unadopted daughter of her stepfather, the morganatic and bastard Colonel Fitzgeorge, son of Prince George, Duke of Cambridge and his mistress Sarah Louisa Fairbrother.
Chanel craved Vera’s immense popularity and privileged patrician heritage, however shrouded in controversial
royal illegitimacies. Chanel came from humble beginnings, and was decidedly uneducated. She looked to Vera as a ‘social advisor’, who would be responsible for her societal launch and business triumph. It was evident that Chanel’s personal identity had been tragically dehumanized and shamed as an orphan, and she systematically absorbed Vera’s exotic mannerisms, from gestures to stance, with Cambridge and Oxford intonations, in a scheming and arrogant self-reinvention of entitlement.
Lombardi was a flawless British Royal Fashion icon to Chanel, and Chanel shamelessly used her to establish her fashion-identity-template, which became the legendary Chanel brand. Years later, Vera, retaliated against Chanel’s ruthless jealousies and manipulations, and exposed her as a Nazi spy to her cousin Sir Winston Churchill in Spain circa 1944. This disclosure shattered Chanel’s reputation for many years.
Until now, Vera Bate Lombardi has been relatively obscured in Chanel’s literary and film biographies. Chanel cunningly perpetuated her adapted character identity, and concealed the truths of her business cornerstone. What had begun as flattery for Vera, terminated in disgust.
Bridget’s father, Frederick Blantford Bate, was born in Virginia but lived in England for over 20 years, working as a British representative for NBC during World War I. Bate was a Mechanical Officer in the US Army, who, in 1916, was instrumental in establishing The Field Service of American Ambulance in Paris. Bate was an intimate friend of Vera’s cousin, the Duke of Windsor. He was the first news correspondent to receive the story of the Duke’s abdication and marriage to Wallis Simpson, and contacted his associate, Alistair Cooke, in the UK to broadcast it.
The beautiful, noble, artistic, and rich are patently different, often misunderstood or condemned, yet granted societal privileges few receive. These very qualities that embodied Bridget’s unique style, influenced and were
copied by some of the greatest names of the 20th century such as her rivals Diana Vreeland and Frida Kahlo. She was loved and envied, but most importantly, awe-inspiring to Man Ray, Diego Rivera, Ernst Lubitsch, James Whale, Laurence Olivier, Anais Nin, Greta Garbo, and Joan Crawford.
Bridget had an amazing, yet tragic, multidimensional life, which included an arranged marriage, true love, romantic and professional rivalry, artistic achievement, mysticism, fantasy, perfectionism, and shattered dreams. All of which were played out in the most glamorous settings, with famous personalities and eccentric nobility that she orchestrated in a dramatic metaphysical theater of remarkable relationships.
She was difficult to get to know, guarded, and very secretive. She revealed certain things to socially survive, while withholding her poetically rich emotional and spiritual communications to focus through her dedicated relationship with her sacred and sovereign art. She had a genius gift of observation and execution in cryptic detail, both in her character and painting.
Her controversial royal illegitimate background overshadowed her profound artistry and her sense of self worth. In her era and society, it was important to be of royal lineage. Her achievement in the art world was diminished by who she was as an illegitimate royal family member, her ravishing beauty, her refined intelligence, and her commanding personality. Her controversial background was more important and interesting to her friends, which graciously made her celebrated and received on one hand, yet made her hide how great an artist she was on the other and never acknowledged. This is why she was so shy about showing who she was as a superlative painter.
She compartmentalized her life. She was deathly afraid to remove her complex multiple masks and reveal not only her precious art, but also her deepest intimate feelings to others. She was validated only by those relationships that had a higher profile than she, so that she could retreat behind her provocatively mysterious and seductive persona to hide her acute vulnerability.
She was difficult to get to know, guarded, and very secretive. She revealed certain things to socially survive, while withholding her poetically rich emotional and spiritual communications to focus through her dedicated
relationship with her sacred and sovereign art.
Bridget spiritually adopted me and I became her protégé in 1971. Among her many gifts, she benevolently trained me in painting and introduced me to ancient occult religions, which included many lost esoteric sciences of Egyptian, Tantrika, and Mesoamerican Magick and Alchemy. She fed my hunger to learn, and I became her consummate student in a world that had received a death rattle to classically trained artists.
Just before her death, I promised my dear friend and genius mentor Bridget that the world would know who she was. One of the legacies she gave to me were her life stories. I began to document Bridget’s life in 1990 shortly after her death, recording her extensive and detailed personal accounts that she imparted to me over the nineteen years of our relationship. The following biography is a small part of my promise that perpetuates the significance of her life.
Biography is from www.bridgetbatetichenor.com.
I hope you enjoy my piece today! I really had a blast painting it. I will see you tomorrow on Day 334.