Category Archives: England

St. Eustace in Canterbury Cathedral

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Among the many treasures at Canterbury Cathedral, one of my favorites on my visit this week  was this large large wall painting, done in about 1480. It’s the legend of St. Eustace, who lived a colorful if harrowing life. He might possibly have been a known historical character, a Roman general named Placidus, in the 2nd century A.D.

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The legend goes that Placidus was out hunting one day when he had a vision of Christ  in the antlers of a stag.  He immediately converted to Christianity and changed his name to Eustace.

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It’s hard to see the images that go high up the stone wall of the catheral.  But there’s a horizontal copy nearby.  Photos of it are not great because it’s covered by glass, but the reflections of the stained glass windows are sort of a bonus. I loved the images, especially the animals like the smiling stag and the hunting dogs above.

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The legend goes that Eustace’s troubles began right away.  His faith was tested by various calamities.

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I was admiring the lion image. Personality plus! Then I read that the lion was grinning because he had just eaten Eustace’s son.

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The wolf, looking all innocent? He had eaten the other son. But the legend goes that Eustace endured his hardships and kept his faith.

The painter of the Canterbury mural subscribed to a disputed end of Eustace’s story: the very upper part of the mural shows Eustace, his wife and his remaining children being roasted alive by order of the Emperor Hadrian. Eustace had refused to make a pagan sacrifice. Then they were all beatified, so there was still a happy ending of sorts. However, the martyrdom and even the historical existence of the saint are in doubt. I love the painting, regardless of the source. Bravo to the anonymous painter, back through the centuries!

To me, the charm of the mural is in the medieval images of people in nature, learning lessons from animals. The painter told the story with gusto and some humor.

Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Dear William!

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“Chandos” portrait, thought to be William Shakespeare, circa 1610, National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain

In honor of William Shakespeare’s 400th birthday, I’m revisiting an old post about one of my many treasured Shakespeare experiences.

Some years ago, I found myself with a lot of Frequent Flyer miles that were about to expire.  No one was free to travel with me.  So I treated myself to a solo trip to England.  I decided to see as much live theater as I possibly could. In the course of two weeks, I saw 18 plays.  Some days I doubled up and took in a matinee plus an evening performance.  I saw plays at grand theaters, in the London equivalent of “Off-Broadway,” and in tiny rooms above pubs.

At that time, to get to Stratford-upon-Avon, I had to take a train from London, then transfer to a bus.  (Now, there is a convenient train that goes all the way to Stratford).  I had dreamed for years of seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company in their home theater, the Swan. One evening, I saw a very fine production of a Shakespeare play with the actors in modern dress.  Which play, you might ask?  I think it was Romeo and Juliet, but I can’t be sure. (On the train, I met a woman who had saved the program from every theater performance she had ever attended.  Although she was a theater professor, I thought that was a little obsessive.  Now I wouldn’t mind having all my programs).

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The Dirty Duck pub, Stratford-upon-Avon, photo by Lindsay Dearing, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2.0 Generic

The next morning, I went to the bus stop for the trip back to London.  Just outside The Dirty Duck, the pub still frequented by theater folk and tourists alike, I spotted an actor I had seen the evening before.  I stopped and complimented him on his performance.  He seemed delighted to be recognized; he had only a medium-sized part.  I’m thinking maybe he played Juliet’s father. I know how much talent and hard work it takes for any actor to get even a non-speaking, spear-carrying part in the Royal Shakespeare Company. I did remember his performance, I thought he stood out in the character, and told him so.  He thanked me graciously.  Just then, the bus pulled up and I got on.

The bus was about to pull away from the curb when the actor jumped up the steps with a great theatrical flourish. He stood beside the driver, peering down the aisle at all the passengers.  “I am looking for a LADY,” he intoned, in his best Shakespearean elocution.  He spotted me and moved up the aisle toward me.  He took my hand, bowed low with a great stage flourish, kissed my hand, and made a great show of presenting me with a perfectly ripened peach.  Everyone on the bus applauded, he took a very grand bow, and he was off with a jaunty wave.

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Like all artists, actors pursue their passion even though they know they are very unlikely to gain riches or fame. I wish I could remember the name of this actor, who shared a magical personal moment with me and went out of his way to entertain a busload of non-paying strangers.  Did all this happen 26 years ago?  Yes, it did.  Travel memories are lifelong!

I’m off to England, and looking forward to seeing a play in the Globe Theatre in London. Photos to follow. Thank you, Mr. Shakespeare!

Happy Tax Day in the USA

 In the whole history of the world, has anyone ever enjoyed paying taxes?  Probably not. In London’s National Gallery, I came upon these two fellows, obviously no friends of the artist.  The painting is from the workshop of Marinus van Reymerswale, most likely from the 1540s. The caption explains that it was probably painted as a satire on covetousness.

At the time, government authorities imposed taxes on items such as wine, beer and fish.  The serious-looking gentleman on the left is apparently writing out a tax list. Once the tax rate was set, private individuals were entrusted with actually collecting the money from taxpayers.  An unscrupulous tax-gatherer could obviously take advantage of this system. The man on the right, with his grasping fingers and face contorted by greed, looks more than ready to grab more than his fair share of whatever he collects. 

Do tax collectors deserve any sympathy? The painting below, a 1599-1600 masterpiece of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, depicts the moment that Jesus Christ called the tax collector Levi to walk away from his lucrative profession and follow Jesus as a disciple.  He became the disciple we know as Matthew.

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The Calling of St. Matthew, Caravaggio, 1599-1600, Public Domain

So who is St. Matthew in the painting? Opinions vary.  I’ve always thought it was the bearded man, pointing to himself as though to ask, “Who, me?” But I recently read that some experts think Matthew is the young man slumped over at the end of the table, trying to avoid the summons to a life of poverty and hardship. It could not have been an easy choice.

April 15 is the day that Americans have to submit their income tax forms to the government.  We all would like to believe the tax system we live under is fair, uncorrupted and just. Let’s hope so, and as we send off our tax returns, let’s hope that every hard-earned penny is spent wisely.

Virginia Woolf at Monk’s House

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On March 28, 1941, Virginia Woolf wrote a loving letter to her husband, Leonard Woolf, and walked out of her country home in rural Sussex, Monk’s House.  She made her way to the nearby River Ouse.  On its banks, she filled her pockets with stones, waded in, and drowned.  Her body was recovered almost 3 weeks later. She was 59 years old.  She was a central figure of the intellectual and artistic Bloomsbury Group, whose influence is still felt.  Virginia herself was an avant-garde novelist who changed the shape of the English novel with works such as Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando, The Waves, and To the Lighthouse.

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Last year I visited Monk’s House, now a National Trust property. I was thrilled to walk in the footsteps of Virginia and Leonard Woolf.

Virginia had suffered bouts of debilitating depression for much of her life, but she had always recovered. Between illnesses, she was a fun-loving friend and a wonderful conversationalist.  But she needed a certain amount of “alone” time in order to create.

WritingShedIn her country garden, she spent long hours composing her ground-breaking novels and thoughtful essays in her writing shed. It is furnished just as she left it.  It looks as though she just stepped out for a stroll through her flowers.

One of Virginia’s most famous works is the long essay “A  Room of One’s Own,” in which she examined the need for women to have solitary time and space in order to create. She knew all too well that most women had no writing shed or other personal space. Maybe her need for creative time and space is what prompted a friend, Lady Ottoline Morrell, to describe Virginia as “this strange, lovely, furtive creature.”

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Inside the house, I could imagine long and lively discussions at the dining table, with the likes of Roger Fry, Lytton Strachey, John Maynard Keynes, T.S. Eliot, and H.M. Forster, not to mention Virginia’s sister the painter Vanessa Bell.VWBR2

Her bedroom was originally added to the house as a writing studio.

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But Virginia liked the airy room so much she decided to sleep there.  I would too.

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Naturally, there are books everywhere in the house.

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The drawing room is cosy, set up for long evenings of reading and conversation.

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Are these his-and-hers chairs?  I can imagine Virginia in one and Leonard in the other.

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After her death, Leonard had Virginia’s ashes buried in their beloved garden. A bust of Virginia stands nearby.  Her admirers leave stones beneath it.

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Later, Leonard’s own ashes and bust took their places near hers. In her final letter, Virginia sadly explained that she could not bear another episode of what she called her “madness.” Possibly she suffered from what we would now call bipolar syndrome. At any rate, she described hearing “voices.” The last line of her final letter read, “I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.”

The photo  at the top of this post is from the article cited below, “Virginia Woolf: The Woman Who Remade the Novel,” by Jonathan deBurca Butler. The photo, of Virginia in 1902, is by George C. Beresford. The article is an excellent summary of Virginia’s life, her sad death, and her continuing influence on modern literature.

http://www.independent.ie/life/virginia-woolf-the-woman-who-remade-the-novel-34572892.html

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Monk’s House is wonderfully maintained by the National Trust. Charleston Farmhouse, where Virginia’s sister Vanessa Bell lived, is nearby.  I would highly recommend a visit to both.

Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

 

 

Disraeli at Hughenden Manor

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I can’t really leave Benjamin Disraeli without posting some more pictures from his country home, Hughenden Manor.  It’s the most quintessentially Victorian place I can think of. In those days, it must have seemed perfectly natural to hang side-by-side portraits of the Prime Minister and his Queen above the fireplace–in the bedroom Mr. Disraeli shared with his loving wife, Mary Anne.  She decorated the room herself.

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In the House of Lords during the height of the British Empire, politicians wore red velvet robes on ceremonial occasions, without irony or having to wade through rude protests outside. Becoming the Earl of Beaconsfield was a proud accomplishment for a man born into a modest Jewish family in 1804.  Disraeli became an Anglican at age 12, and remained one for the rest of his long life.

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We tend to think that Britain has a fairly rigid class system, but even in Victorian times it was possible for an unlikely man to rise to the height of power, through luck, connections, charm and sheer hard work.

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Queen Victoria has a reputation for sternness, but she knew how to be amused, too.  And her trusted friend Benjamin Disraeli amused her.

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The Queen set an example of happy, respectable family life for her subjects. Mary Anne Disraeli created a peaceful refuge at home for her busy husband.

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Why did Victorians stuff their homes with so much stuff?  In a restored Victorian home like Hughenden, every surface is occupied:  baubles, bibelots, and knickknacks carefully arranged on top of curlicued whatnots. In Victorian times, minimalism was an unknown concept. And old photos seem even more crowded than restored rooms. Why? Here’s my theory: the British ruled an empire that spanned the entire globe. Victorian rooms seem crowded and stuffy to the modern sensibility, but I think all those possessions were an exuberant expression of Victorian confidence and optimism. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!

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Mary Anne Disraeli presided over a lively dinner table.  She was practical, too–which her husband was not.  Household records show that after one dinner party, she sent two big unused blocks of cheese back to the cheesemonger.  Waste not, want not!

Disraeli loved trees. In fact, while Mary Anne was busy inside finding just the right places for her trinkets and doodads, Disraeli was busy outside planting trees–the more the better.  He brought in specimens from the far-flung empire and created a forest that lives on today. He spent hours walking among his trees, taking solace from their growth and variety. He once remarked, “I am not surprised that the ancients worshipped trees.”

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I was so interested in the house–with its Victorian history as well as the amazing part it played in World War II–that I didn’t get into the gardens and the forest.  Next time!

The three posts just before this one described the vital history of Hughenden in more detail. Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

No More Red Boxes? What Would Disraeli Say?

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At Hughenden Manor last spring, I was thrilled to spot Prime Minister Disraeli’s famous “red box” in his study.  It’s a  kind of box used for the last 150 years or so by British government officials. It’s really just a briefcase, but so much more romantic–and quintessentially British. These boxes were first used in the 1860s.  They were covered in red-dyed rams’ leather, embossed with the Royal Cypher and lined with lead–reportedly so that if the carrier were captured at sea, the box would sink with all its secrets intact. The lead also made the boxes pretty strong in the event of bombing or other catastrophe. The lock is on the bottom of the box, guaranteeing that nobody will walk off without locking it. (Does anyone ever forget, grab the handle and spill the important documents?  Let’s hope not).

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Photo from “Daily Mail” article cited below

Until very recently, important government officials proudly carried their red boxes wherever they went. (Naturally, a government official is always hard at work, so the box is necessary at all times). Any man or woman would walk a little taller carrying the jaunty red case. And what a status symbol to casually place on one’s table on the train!

Queen Elizabeth, like Disraeli’s Queen Victoria, receives her own royal red box daily.  It contains documents the sovereign must sign before they become law.  I’d like to think the Queen’s red box will exist for a long time.

But now, the British government is phasing out the revered symbol of power in favor of secure smartphones. For one thing, ministers have developed the wasteful habit of having their boxes shuttled from place to place in chauffeured limousines, as described in an article from The Independent. Then there’s the problem of security. A fingerprint-activated smartphone is apparently safer (at least until it’s hacked.)

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So in England, red ministerial boxes are going the way of red curbside telephone boxes.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli lived in a slower-moving world.  His red box came with him to his country home, where he worked in his quiet study between long walks inspecting his grounds. There was time for him to think, to read actual books, to reflect on the weighty problems of state. I fear that Britain’s government ministers will now be more like the rest of us: constantly intent on a pocket-sized screen.

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Somehow, I can’t see the elegant Mr. Disrael hunched over a smartphone.

I wouldn’t give up my own smartphone for anything, of course.  It’s my only camera, as well as my window into the wider world.  I can look up most anything with a few thumbstrokes. But if I were a British government minister, I would miss my elegant red ramskin box with the Royal Cypher and the lock on the bottom.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2958851/Traditional-government-red-boxes-phased-150-years-ministers-given-thumbprint-activated-smartphones.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-government-ferried-briefcases-around-alone-in-chauffeur-driven-cars-3000-times-in-the-last-three-a6812851.html

Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

 

Hughenden Manor: Winning the War in the Icehouse

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Who was the man getting the surprise ice-water bath above, and what did he have to do with victory in World War II? One day in 2004, a National Trust guide at Hughenden Manor overheard an intriguing conversation.  An old man was very quietly describing to his grandchild how he had once worked in the very room they were standing in.  Hughenden Manor was the country home of Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister and friend of Queen Victoria.

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The house was a dusty relic of Victorian times. But it turned out that the house played a pivotal role in the Second World War, totally unknown to anyone except the 100 or so people who secretly worked there in the 1940s.

When the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz ended in late 1940, Britain’s Royal Air Force, the RAF, had overcome all the odds and held off the German Luftwaffe. Adolf Hitler had believed that the British would fold under heavy bombing, negotiate a peace treaty, and become his allies.  How wrong he was. About 3,000 young pilots, averaging 20 years of age, did battle daily over the Channel, outnumbered by 5 to 1 in both equipment and flyers. They were not all British; some of them were Polish, Czech, Belgian and French.  According to the RAF, 544 of them were killed in the Battle of Britain, and another 814 died later in the war. Winston Churchill famously summed up the Battle of Britain: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”  To this day, pilots who fought are referred to as “The Few.”

But the war was just beginning. It was necessary for Allied forces, soon including the United States, to knock out German infrastructure. The only maps available at the time were made for tourists. They showed roads, cities, railways and sightseeing destinations like castles and cathedrals. Bombers needed detailed maps to accomplish their missions of destroying armament factories and other strategic targets.

Hughenden Manor became a secret command center for the vital mission of creating detailed maps for bomber pilots to use.  British Spitfires and later Mosquitos were dispatched across the Channel with automatic cameras in their gun bays.  Since the gun bays had no guns, the planes had no protection.  The pilots, as brave as any of The Few, flew thousands of surveillance missions over Germany. Over the course of the war, they took 36 million photos. The camera film was carried by courier to Hughenden Manor, where the 100 or so top-secret mapmakers went to work.

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The old Hughenden icehouse was the darkroom.

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Mapmakers were on duty at all times; someone always slept in the icehouse.

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Inside, mapmakers worked day and night, translating the surveillance photos into maps for bomber pilots. Target maps were drawn by hand, with the target in the middle, surrounded by concentric circles one mile apart.

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Today, the visitor can try out the equipment, which in its day was high-tech. Completed maps, thousands of them, were sent seven miles up the road to Bomber Command.  Often, couriers used bicycles, so as not to draw attention.

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The entire map-making operation was a military secret, protected by the Official Secrets Act.  People who worked at Hughenden, military and civilian, took an oath to keep the operation secret for their entire lifetimes.  When the National Trust accidentally learned a little about the amazing World War II history of Hughenden, they went to Parliament and eventually received permission to make the secrets public.  Today, the icehouse and the basement of Hughenden hold an enthralling museum of this vital part of victory for the Allies in World War II.

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Veterans of the secret operation were tracked down and interviewed on video, before their stories were lost forever. People sent in their personal diaries and photos. The almost-lost history came alive.

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And the man getting the surprise ice bath?  Newbies were invited into the icehouse to have a wartime picture taken, to send to the folks at home (of course, the location was always kept secret). The helpful icehouse staff posed the unsuspecting person under an icy water outlet in the brick ceiling.  Someone pulled a lever at the exact moment the camera snapped.  Everyone, including the victim, laughed uproariously.

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The result was a nice wartime keepsake, and a personal reminder of undaunted British spirit when the odds of victory seemed slim.  British self-deprecating humor and camaraderie were a big part of that spirit.

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I’d recommend a visit to Hughenden Manor. Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

Mary Anne Disraeli: the Woman Behind the Man

Why is a Victorian carriage door prominently displayed on a wall at Hughenden, the country home of Queen Victoria’s friend and Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli? The Prime Minister himself removed it from the carriage and preserved it as a tribute to his wife, Mary Anne. One evening the ambitious politician and his doting wife set off from his London house to Parliament, where he was to deliver a very important speech.  When the carriage door was closed, it slammed shut on Mary Anne’s thumb. What did she do? She suffered in silence, all the way to Westminster. She didn’t want to upset the man before his speech. A placard next to the carriage door explains that Mary Anne said not a word until Disraeli was safely out of the carriage and on his way into the corridors of power.  The placard remarks drily that her words when her thumb was released were not recorded.

 Mary Anne was 12 years older than her husband, and the marriage began as one of convenience. But it grew into a true love match.

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According to the guidebook sold at Hughenden, Disraeli was a novelist and something of a playboy in 1830s London. He had written a novel, Vivian Grey, which was a thinly veiled self-portrait of a young man on the make. His friend Bulwer-Lytton described him thus: he wore “green velvet trousers, a canary coloured waistcoat, low sleeves, silver buckles, lace at his wrists, his hair in ringlets.” He cut a wide swath through bohemian London salons, finally gaining an entree into the highest circles. He tried five times for a seat in Parliament before he won an election.  His maiden speech was a disaster; he was shouted down. What worked in drawing rooms did not work in the House of Commons.  He famously ended by saying, “I will sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear me.”

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Mary Anne, my photo from Hughenden guidebook

 

What Disraeli needed was a rich wife. He met Mary Anne Wyndham Lewis in 1832, when she was just another older married woman he enjoyed flirting with.  He thought her “a pretty little woman, a flirt and a rattle” which according to the guidebook meant “incessant chatterer.” But her deep-pocketed husband obligingly died in 1838, leaving her a rich widow. Her appeal increased and Disraeli married her in 1839.
Disraeli soon learned what a treasure he had found.  He wrote, “There was no care which she could not mitigate, and no difficulty which she could not face. She was the most cheerful and the most courageous woman I ever knew.”  High praise indeed; Disraeli had known and depended on many, many women in his rise to power in Victorian England.

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A visit to Hughenden is a window into the Victorian past.

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The estate is under the care of the National Trust, and beyond the quintessentially Victorian rooms there’s a surprise, new since I first visited years ago. The estate was a secret location for surveillance work which was crucial to victory in World War II.  This work was so secret that not even the National Trust knew a thing about it until very recently.  I’ll be writing about what went on in the wartime rooms and the icehouse soon.

Join me next time for more explorations in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Victoria in her coronation regalia, public domain

Britain’s beloved Queen Victoria died on January 22, 1901, ending the Victorian Era. She was also Empress of India all through the heyday of the years when the sun never set on the British Empire. Her image still appears everywhere in Great Britain. The coronation portrait by George Hayter is in the Royal Collection (Public Domain now). It still appears in reproductions in some tradition-loving British homes.

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Other homes display mass-produced images like the one above, spotted in the very regal Wimpole Estate.

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Victoria’s image, dressed in black in her widowhood and with her little diamond crown perched on top of her head, is instantly recognizable. The little model above holds pride of place in an exhibit of military models at Blenheim Palace. That unusual crown served as a canny early version of a prominent person creating a unique brand for herself.

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How did Victoria see herself?  The sketch above, Public Domain, was Victoria’s own self-portrait as a young girl. She already has some kind of little whatsit balancing on top of her head. She looks apprehensive.  But when she unexpectedly took the throne at the age of 18, after everyone else in the line of succession had died, she rose to the occasion and she kept rising. She reigned over England for over 63 years.

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We tend to think of Victoria as a dour old lady.  But in fact she laughed often.  The Public Domain photo above shows her in a jolly mood, even into her old age.

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A statue of Victoria stands serenely at the entrance of Windsor Castle, the thousand-year-old complex that is one of the favorite homes of the current Queen.

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Queen Elizabeth II has now reigned longer than her ancestor, the redoubtable Victoria. Whatever one thinks of the institution of the monarchy, there’s no doubt that Queen Elizabeth is a cracking good Queen.  The photo above is from the shop at Sandringham, the country estate in Norfolk that Queen Victoria wisely bought as a private retreat for the Windsors. When I was there, neither the Queen nor her Corgis were in sight, but their presence was felt everywhere. There’s nothing more British than the Queen and her beloved Corgis.  I wish them all well.

Join me next time for more exploration in the art and history of Europe and the British Isles!

 

 

Remembering Captain Eustace Lyle Gibbs at Tyntesfield

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Eustace Lyle Gibbs, born March 10, 1885, was the second youngest son of Antony Gibbs. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford. Then, as expected of him, he joined the family shipping business.

Eustace was already a member of the North Somerset Yeomanry.  When World War I broke out on July 28, 1914, he was among the first British troops sent to France. Wealth and rank did not exempt men from serving; in fact, those of high rank mostly felt even more obligation to fight than those less fortunate. They generally entered the war as officers.

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Eustace had a short home leave in December 1914. While visiting his family at their beautiful Victorian country house, Tyntesfield, he gave an interview to the Western Daily Press. Asked how people at home could help soldiers at the front, he said the troops always needed gloves and socks.  And they really missed chocolate. When he returned to the front, he brought donations of these items with him, and handed them out to the men of his “B” Company, British Expeditionary Force.

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During his leave, Eustace no doubt spent time in the Billiard Room at Tyntesfield, a wonderfully masculine space designed for the men in the family. Eustace would never see his home again.

Eustace died on February 11, 1915 of wounds received fighting near Ypres. He was 29 years old. His portrait was painted in 1916 from a photograph of him in his uniform. The artist was Albert Henry Collings.

Ceramic poppies fill the Tower of London moat

1915 was the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Great War. I wrote about the spectacular display of close to a million ceramic poppies in honor of fallen British soldiers at the Tower of London. The The photo above is from The Guardian at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/tower-of-londons-ww1-remembrance-installation-share-your-photos-and-videos. The post is at https://castlesandcoffeehouses.com/2014/09/26/remembrance-of-wars-past/.

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That post also remembers another aristocratic young man who gave his life for his country, Edward Wyndham Tennant.  He died at age 19 in the Battle of the Somme, 1916. On the plaque above his marble relief portrait, a fellow soldier describes the young man’s leadership:  “When things were at their worst he would go up and down in the trenches cheering the men; when danger was greatest his smile was loveliest.” His grieving parents commissioned the touching memorial to him in Salisbury Cathedral.

Fighting in the Great War ended “at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.  Virtually every town and village in Britain (and also in other countries like France) lost young men to the carnage of the First World War. About 20 million people lost their lives. On Armistice Day, in England and in other places, there are ceremonies honoring the fallen.

Americans actively entered the war in its last few months, after supporting the Allied side indirectly. No one knows exact numbers, but about 110,000 Americans lost their lives in the fighting. In the United States, November 11 is Veterans’ Day, when all who have served their country in the military are honored. Today, women serve as often as men do. And as in times past, whole families and communities feel the effects of loved ones marching off to serve. We need to salute them all.