Mr Hassall’s art school

First, a little bit of colour:

blackpool 4 - Copy

4 colours combine to make a single image.

Blackpool 05 final

The solitary child wondering “when’s the fun begin?”

After becoming interested in John Hassall it was pointed out to me by my friend Carrie that we had some material from Hassall’s correspondence school in what we call the manuscript collection – many shelves of identical cardboard boxes, most of which contain deeds and other legal documents, but some of which have Local Studies gold. I’ve used some examples before (like this one) . In this case in one plain box was a set of lessons for Hassall’s students of art and design.

Some of the lesson sheets are concerned with basic elements

Lesson 12 - expression

Tickling the fancy of Mr Everyman.

Or cartooning dogs and chicks:

Animal form

Some are concerned with techniques, like texture:

Textures 04

Or simple line drawing:

Lesson 3 simple pen drawing

And using different materials as in this “Charcoal Girl”.

Lesson 3 charcoal head

Others with anatomy:

Lesson 7 - arms

On the surface, and within:

Lesson 7 - arms sheet 3

And sometimes composition:

Elizabeth

Whether a big, grand subject,

or a small one:

Lesson 15 - pen and ink

As he states, Hassall used his own works as examples:

Study

Compare it with a published version

Study in red

He also looked at parody. Do you remember the vacuum cleaner poster from the first post?

Parody 01

He has reversed the subject of the cartoon to show it can be used in a number of ways.

And goes on:

Parody 02

Culminating in one of those pre-humorous Punch cartoons.

As well as these sheets, there was a great deal of text for the students all on duplicated type-written sheets, and comments in letter form like this one:

Letter

So the students got their money’s worth. Instructions, and personalised feedback, with practical advice on getting work as an illustrator.

I don’t know how many of them went on to equal, or surpass the master.

John Hassall remains an intruiging artist, poised as many are between commerce and art. But he was a man with a vision, demonstrated here with this a realistic slant on a classic tale.

Pied Piper

The Pied Piper leans casually against a tree like a steward marshalling a crowd. They could be evacuees.  I can’t say whether this image was connected:

Textures - dead rat

We started with colour, so let’s end with another colourful image from the theatre:

Sporting Girl

Postscript

I mentioned our Great War website http://www.kcworldwar1.org.uk in the first post about Hassall and one or two of you went to have a look. So I’m mentioning it again – new material is being posted regularly by my colleague Lucy Yates who will be guest blogging here soon.


Dreams of the Westway 3: The view from the high rise

This week features the return of guest blogger Isabel Hernandez who has subjected our recently acquired collection of pictures of the construction of the Westway to close scrutiny.

 

Below are a few images taken from a set of photographs I have been working on showing the construction of the Westway from the Paddington perspective. Quite a few of the photographs were taken from the roof of my old home (Gaydon House) which certainly was of personal interest as I looked through them.

As a child growing up with the Westway in close proximity perhaps I should feel some sort of affinity for it. I certainly never thought it attractive. It was just always there: a city structure, part of the landscape…the truth is, I never gave it much thought. Such edifices are often described as eyesores for the most part – much like electricity pylons are along country fields – it was to me a modernism that (literally) passed me by. The Westway was a fixture I grew up with. I knew nothing of its history or the controversy surrounding its construction, let alone the disruption and the displacement it caused. It was simply concrete: imposing and strangely pragmatic. It was many years before I really got to know the story behind one of London’s more contentious projects.

The image below shows the south of the Harrow Road, opposite Lord Hill’s Bridge being filled around 1966. The middle building directly behind the corrugated iron is Gaydon House with the Victorian school, Edward Wilson, next to it. The difference in size is evident. The school is not a small building and yet it is dwarfed by the 21 storey block. Many of the aerial views for the area during the project were taken from the roof of this high-rise block.

W129

In some ways I am a child of the concrete era, when Brutalist architecture, as it was known, became the progressive force in the construction business. Laing was one of seven major construction companies responsible for much of the redevelopment in the Great Britain of the sixties and seventies. It was in their interest to champion “the strength and simplicity of concrete” (White Heat: A History of Britain in the Swinging Sixties 1964-1970 ~ Sandbrook). It was considered the answer to the ailing, defunct, overcrowded Victorian slums that were being cleared as the redevelopment boom took hold in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Concrete was the new emperor, running roughshod (as perceived by many) over history and traditional Britain like a lava flow. But I was oblivious to all this. By the time most of this had happened I was already a part of this infamous megastructure: I resided in a tower block on a housing estate with a massive motorway next door – you can’t get more concrete than that!

In this photograph we see the beginnings of an area in transformation. A large section of what will become a part of the Warwick Estate is being prepared to hold the materials and moulds for the soon to be motorway that will run parallel to the Great Western Railway. The white arches (top left corner) are part of Paddington Station with the Westbourne Bridge just before it.

W290

Here we have an image of the Harrow Road at ground level facing west a few months later.

W368

This view (below) would have been a familiar one from my balcony, except it predates me by several years and the Westway has yet to appear. I suspect some form of long lens was used here to photograph this section of the Harrow Road with Lord Hill’s Bridge just off it. You can also see Royal Oak Station serving the Hammersmith & City line on the left of the bridge. Today it remains largely unchanged with the staircase leading down on to the platforms. Now, with the Westway present, you cannot really see it this clearly anymore from the lower floors of Gaydon House.

W401

Three months later and we see the beginnings of a subway. This served pedestrians who wished to cross the busy Harrow Road over to Lord Hill’s Bridge that leads on towards Porchester Road and Queensway. In subsequent years most of us residents would still risk the busy road rather than venture below deck, so to speak. But to be fair it was never threatening or particularly dangerous during my time living in the area. Occasionally the compulsory graffiti would decorate the dirty, dull walls, but overall it was thankfully devoid of harder criminal activity. It is only in recent years that it was decided to seal off the subway for safety reasons. Not so much because of its insalubrious elements, but more to do with the fact that people preferred the more direct route on ground level, risking life and limb.

W595

Below, looking east towards Paddington. This is the route of the Westway. The Great Western Railway and the Harrow Road follow on either side of it. In the distance you can just about make out the spire of, what I think was, Holy Trinity Church on Bishops Bridge. The church itself was demolished around 1983/84 but the spire was taken down earlier C. 1972. There are now some unremarkable flats built in its stead called (to rub salt in the wound) Trinity Court.

W592

Here you see Bourne Terrace in June 1967 (bottom right) leading on to the Harrow Road. Anyone who has read my previous blog called Familiar Street: A Paddington Estate might recognise some of the streets. Many old streets were abolished and new ones created. This aerial view is taken from Gaydon House (my old residence) pre-Westway with construction underway all around the Warwick and Brindley (soon to be) Estates. The Westway has yet to parallel the rail track of the Great Western that will encroach from the west. Up ahead is Westbourne Park Road which you can reach over a pedestrian bridge walkway. It’s the first bridge you see by the wasteland. An area that is now the Westbourne Green sports complex. North Kensington is in the distance. If you look closely you might be able to make out the tower of St Charles’ Hospital (extreme top right).

W659

At first this picture confused me. I thought I was looking at the foundations of what would become part of the Westway. But on further study I realised this was actually the precast yard for the motorway (where large sections of concrete would be moulded) as well as being a storage area for all the heavy materials and machinery that would be used for this section of it.

W710

A closer view. Note the crane on tracks.

W713

This view faces south with the spire of St Mary Magdalene and Princethorpe House in the background (one of the six sibling tower blocks in the area).

W714

Below, Brinklow House in construction and to think that double-glazing was never even considered with the Westway looming next door. I can remember listening to the motorway traffic whizzing by. Eventually it became background noise along with the trains, the planes and the automobiles. The sirens too get a special mention. When the towers were eventually refurbished around 2004/5 double-glazing was put in. I had left by then.

W768

March 1968 and here we can see the beginnings of the motorway rising up off the ground. If you want perspective take a look at how small the cars are, driving along the Harrow Road.

W1364

The Westway encroaching from the west. By April 1968 the Paddington section was rising fast.A diesel train heads towards Paddington Station and behind that, blocks of flats along Westbourne Park Villas adds to the strangely linear synchronicity of the whole image.

W1424

I can only describe this as chaos.

W2097

But somehow, eventually, the engineers manage to bring a semblance of order to the scene.

W2098

The Westway is taking shape as the traffic below continues to ebb and flow as normal. The chaps on the motorway, probably inspecting sections of it, look like they’re exploring a playground. It was not unusual to find workers of the period (depending on their assignments) not wearing the required hard hats or safety gear compulsory today. Below left you can also see a number 18 routemaster heading west towards Harlesden, possibly Wembley. It still continues on a similar route to this day.

W2729

See the caption on the picture below. What is an epox pipe you may ask yourselves? The truth is I have no idea. But I think it has something to do with a strong, protective coating that can be used on piping or bars in concrete to reinforce it. All those dials and conducting cables make me think of physics lessons. It was a science that flummoxed me. As do epox pipes.

W2726

Here is my own blurry photograph of the Westway taken in the early 1990’s during the autumnal season. It was taken with one of those incredibly daft 20th century inventions – the throw-away camera. I snapped this from my balcony, which incidentally, boasted one of the best views of London. The small park below – once a slum, then a wasteland converted into a temporary building site – gives this particular corner of Paddington a lighter, less congested feel, hinting back to its former rural history and remarkably, the Westway, despite its initial ugliness and awful connotations, actually doesn’t look so out of place here. Not anymore. Something natural to balance out the progressive, intrusive advance of technology seems to be the secret here. Concrete used unwisely is a monster. But, temper it with an intelligent creative flair and you could be looking at a masterpiece. Love it or hate it, the Westway is here to stay.

Westway, Gaydon House view early nineties

Postscript

Despite the fact that I’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this I still haven’t managed to work out how to add an author on WordPress. Anyone?

My thanks to Isabel for another excellent post.

 

 


Blog extra: Fanny and Josephine

You’ve got another blog extra this week, something I shall do occasionally for slighty tangential subjects.

When I wrote about Frances Burney’s Evelina a couple of weeks ago I mentioned a book I’d looked at by a lady named Josephine Kamm – Fanny Burney: a story biography (Methuen 1966). The book was a narrative about Fanny’s life posibly intended for readers of school age. Mrs Kamm wrote a number of educational books and stories for young adults.

Like the 1903 Evelina, Kamm’s book was illustrated by an artist in this case someone named Biro. Truth be told the illustrations are not in the same league as Hugh Thomson, by a long way, but they did have a certain nostalgic quality for me. They reminded me of the sort of pictures you used to see in children’s books and encyclopedias, and magazines like Look and Learn which we used to have when I was a bookish kid back in the stone age. I expect it was a whole lot cheaper to hire a professional artist to create new illustrations for a book than it was to source and pay for existing artwork, especially if you were aiming at a younger audience.

I almost included one of the pictures in the Evelina post, but that was long enough already and the Biro pictures would have suffered in the comparison. Biro was not a great illustrator in my opinion but the pictures do fit well with the text and there is that nostalgic interest in the way books used to look, which I thought was worth sharing with you in a blog extra, as plenty of people have looked at the Evelina post.

01 Kamm p33

Fanny writing in her journal having narrowly avoided being forbidden to keep one by her father and stepmother. (I’ve read the relevant section to make sure I’ve got this correct. If I was using my just look at the pictures method I would have made this one Fanny writing Evelina in secret by candle light).

As one of Hugh Thomson’s illustrations for Evelina was coloured in a later edition, I have arranged for some of Biro’s to be coloured so they look even more like those in the books of my younger days.

02 Kamm p67 col

Fanny and her father. She has just confessed to having the found a publisher for Evelina. Biro gives her a peeved expression – her father was not that interested at the time. He liked it a lot more later.

03 Kamm p89

Here Fanny sits in the grounds at Chessington reading Evelina to Mr Crisp, a family friend.

04 Kamm p102

Fanny and Dr Johnson. What every author needs – an eminent fan.

Miss Burney looks so meek and is so quiet” said Mrs Thrale, that no-one would suspect what a comical girl she is.” “Oh she’s a toad! ! cried Dr Johnson with a hearty laugh, ” a sly young rogue with her Smiths and her Brangtons!” (Two sets of comic characters in the book)

05 Kamm p118 col

After her identity as the author of Evelina is discovered Fanny  becomes famous. After the publication of her second novel Cecilia Fanny’s portrait is painted by her cousin Edward. Compare Fanny’s pose with the engraving based on the portrait in the Evelina post.

06 Kamm p137 col

Fanny and Queen Charlotte. This is her last night in the Queen’s household, where she had not been happy. But the two of them are momentarily overcome by emotion.

07 Kamm p151

The reunion with her husband Alexandre D’Arblay in in France in 1801. The coach journey has an anecdote about an old woman travelling with Fanny who is smuggling clothes into France by the method of wearing many layers of them underneath a hooped skirt.

Going off on another tangent I remember reading a post by a style blogger who overcame baggage restrictions in a similar way on a flight from Sweden to the UK. ( This is the link:  http://flyingsaucer.typepad.com/flyingsaucer/2010/04/saying-goodbye-to-sweden.html ) (Have any readers ever done this? I should add that I hadn’t looked at this blog for years and that the author has made some improvements since 2010)

08 Kamm p167a col

Fanny and the Queen again in 1817. Although the Queen and General D’Arblay seem to have aged, Fanny is still depicted as a fashionable young woman, as sometimes seems to happen in screen adaptations. Mrs Kamm doesn’t deal with Fanny’s later life, or the famous medical procedure she undertook in France. (For understandable reasons probably).

So although it’s not an extensive set of images like Thomson’s, Fanny is the heroine in another graphic story. I hope you found the contrast interesting. the 1903 Evelina was obviously a more upmarket work, but Josphine Kamm and Biro did their work too.

Postscript

The colouring was done by my wife Cathryn who has been colouring in as a hobby for several years, well before they started calling it art therapy. My thanks to her for bringing those childhood books back to life. I was tempted to have all the pictures in colour but I thought I should give the unimproved Biro a chance as well.

Make a comparison for yourself:

01 Kamm p33 col

This week’s regular post will be published on Thursday but possibly not till the afternoon as I have to touch base with our guest blogger.


John Hassall: the poster man

You may not have heard of the artist John Hassall. But you’ve almost certainly seen his most famous work, the Jolly Fisherman. (You know the one: “Skegness – it’s so bracing”). You may have even have seen his other famous advertising creation, the Kodak Girl.

Take a Kodak with you, advertisement for Kodak cameras, British, c 1910.
But have you seen this?

Kensington Battalion Poster  A3

Oddly modern for a WW1 recruitment poster it has the intensity of a panel in a comic, demonstrating Hassall’s ability to create a striking graphic image. Hassall lived in Kensington and was probably known to Sir William Davison, the Mayor of Kensington during the Great War who may have commissioned the picture.

John Hassall (1868-1948) worked in advertising from the late 19th century and was also an illustrator of children’s books. In 1900 he started the New Art School and School of Poster Design in Kensington. One of his pupils was H M Bateman. He closed the school at the start of World War 1 and afterwards started a correspondence college, the John Hassall Correspondence School.

I became interested in Hassall when we used the poster image on our World War One website: http://www.kcworldwar1.org.uk  . A little research told me that Hassall was a local man, living in Kensington Park Road. We even found that Lord Kitchener had corresponded with Davison about the picture and suggested some minor uniform changes.

I haven’t found out if Hassall made any other contributions to the local war effort but I now realised he was an interesting artist

This picture from “The Sketch” has one of those captions which don’t seem to add much to the image.

????????????????????????????????????

Make one up yourself. It’s like one of those competitions Punch used to have where the readers made up captions to old cartoons which were invariably funnier than the originals (to modern ears anyway). Here’s another:

Bloater

I’ve left you the caption in this case but the humour in the words evades me. The picture is still funny though – the expression on the shopkeepers face, the shape of the woman’s dress. And the incidental detail3. on the shelves in the background “Try our ill starred brandy”- “all dregs at store prices”

The advert below is a decent visual pun.

Mustard

Get it?

This one’s a bit mysterious.

Vacuum

The maid, with her old-fashioned brush flees from the threat of new technology, possibly. Hassall returned to this image later (as we may see in a future post)

What is this one advertising?

Insurance

An insurance company, as it happens. Hassall was strongly influenced by art nouveau artists such as Alphonse Mucha, an artist much featured on posters when I was a bit younger. Hassall has the same sense of a strong line and the bold use of colours as in the poster below featuring another familiar brand name.

Nestle

Hassall also did theatrical posters

French Maid

Again with a simple black and white image he has conveyed the fun the play, am 1898 farce set in a hotel, is promising to theatregoers.

This one is for Cinderella has the same 1890s sensibilty.

Cinderella

The humourous grotesaques contrasted with the almost androgynous Cinderella.

Hassall’s book illustrations show the same kind of clarity and feeling for colour. All the illustrations below are from Barbara’s Song Book by Cecile Hartog, a book which combines pictures, words and sheet music.

I liked this one called May Day, for reasons regular readers will recognize.

May Day 01

The picture combines a realisic sceen with a stylised background. The song lyrics are adequate:

May Day 02

Here’s another little narrative:

My new dolly 01

I don’t think it’s going to far to compare Hassall with other great illustrators of the time like Heath Robinson and Kate Greenaway.

My new dolly 02

The same girl in charge of the play room is later shown going to bed surrounded by more minimalist pictures.

World of my own 01

Possibly dreaming of the endless hours of childhood play.

The wind

 

Postscript

Thanks to my colleague Lucy Yates who started the search into the recruitment poster, and my friend Carrie Starren who pointed out that there was material related to Hassall’s correspondence school in our manuscript collection. Some of that will form the basis of another post coming up soon.

Finally a curious fact. John Hassall’s grand daughter was the actress Imogen Hassall who starred in the Hammer film When Dinosaurs ruled the Earth, among other I have seen.

You can see more Hassall pictures on the V&A website:

http://collections.vam.ac.uk/name/hassall-john-ri-rwa/1892/

Including another one for the French Maid.

 

 

 

 


Niddry Lodge: not the Tower of Babel

The original Niddry Lodge was one of the buildings built by Stephen Bird on the patch of land currently occupied by Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall and the Central Library. Bird built a house called Hornton Villa (later known as the Red House) for himself and kept most of the rest of the property as his garden. But he built a second stucco villa at the north western section of the house with a smaller but still generous garden. Its first occupant was a general. He lived there till 1843 but it was the next owner the  Dowager Countess of Hopetoun who must have given it the name Niddry Lodge after one of her husband’s other titles.

This photo shows the two houses in 1972 just before their demolition. Niddry Lodge is on the left.

01 TH construction 1972 Jan KE73-94

The Survey of London devotes just a paragraph to Niddry Lodge ending with the owner who followed the Countess in 1854.

The house was in some ways an ordinary early 19th century suburban villa. The inhabitants lived quiet comfortable lives we can probably assume. Here is a view of the south front in 1954.

Niddry Lodge south front 1954 K60-62 - Copy

But the most interesting part of the house’s history occurred in the last decade of its life.

Niddry Lodge Campden Hill Road 1972 K74-111 - Copy

As you can see the sign on the gateway now reads The Linguist’s Club / School of English. Beyond those unassuming walls lay a unique establishment.

Niddry Lodge - Linguist's Club  poster K62-404 - Copy

The Linguist’s Club was founded in 1932 by A T Pilley (Ari Thaddee, known as Teddy) who had been born in Paris of Polish emigree parents who moved to London when he was 4 years old. The Club was intended as a meeting point for linguists, translators, language students and anyone with an interest in languages. It was also a club for dancing, watching films, travel and general socialising.

During the war Pilley served in the RAF and at Bletchley Park. Afterwards he became well known as a linguist, and the co-founder of the International Association of Conference Interpreters and the Institute of Linguists.

I don’t think it would be overstating the matter to say that he believed in promoting international co-operation and understanding through the teaching of languages. The Linguist’s Club motto was: Se comprendre, c’est la paix (Mutual understanding is peace)

Cartoon in Evening Standard 1960

[Cartoon and article from the Evening Standard in 1960]

The Linguit’s Club had premises in Holborn and in Grosvenor Place but when the Club moved to Niddry Lodge in 1965 the larger premises allowed Pilley room to fulfill all his aims for the club on a bigger scale.

Class in progress

Formal teaching.

Prospectus image featuring Mr Pilley and Mrs RossInformal gatherings.

Niddry Lodge - AT Pilley and students from prospectus K64-240

Talking to the students.

Interviews.

Untitled-6

outdoor class

Outdoor teaching and discussions in the still substantial garden.

Untitled-10

High tech aids – these look quaint to us but Pilley was actually a pioneer in this area and had designed portable equipment for simultaneous translation at international conferences.

The Club stayed at Niddry Lodge until 1972 when the Council needed to demolish it as part of the development of the new Town Hall.

contact sheet 1972

I have a few images from this time on contact sheets.

Niddry Lodge 1972 contact sheet K72-507 400dpi - Copy

This one shows the main entrance with the Club name still above the door.

Below some assorted pieces of furniture with one of the original fireplaces.

Niddry Lodge 1972 contact sheet K72-507 400dpi

Finally, a view of the site before demolition began.
Niddry Lodge - the Red House 1964 K64-165

Niddry Lodge just visible between the trees, safe in its garden for a short while longer.

 

Postscript

My thanks to Eleonora Pilley who first told me about the Linguist’s Club and her father Peter Pilley who sat down with me to talk about his father Teddy and the Club. Once again the blog has introduced me to people with a fascinating story to tell.

The name Niddry Lodge lives on in the section of the Town Hall building which has been rented out and now has its own address, 51 Holland Street.


18th Century escapades: Evelina and Fanny

First, let’s sort out the local connection. Fanny, or more properly Frances, Burney the 18th century novelist lived in Chelsea twice. Once with some of her family in an apartment at Chelsea College when she finished working as Second Keeper of the Robes for Queen Charlotte, and later in her life at an address in Lower Sloane Street.

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Which is good for me because although Frances Burney / Madame D’Arblay was a very remarkable woman and one of the first great English novelists, this week’s post is really about a particular edition of her first novel Evelina.

Now I’ve written nearly 200 of these posts you must have had all my basic thoughts and the variations on them. One thing I seem to say quite often is that things in the past resemble things in the present. People seem to do the same things in the past as they do now and the things they entertained themselves with are like the things we use now for the pursuit of happiness.

One day I went to the Reference store looking for a book illustrated by someone who is nothing to do with this post. In an odd corner of the Dewey Decimal Classification you can find novels, plays and poetry all together at one number, 741.64 classified by the artist who illustrated them. And there I found a 1903 one volume edition of Fanny Burney’s Evelina illustrated by Hugh Thomson.

000 Evalina cover

The late 19th and early 20th century was a boom time for illustrated books including new editions of classic works.

000a Evalina title page

Evelina is a long narrative about a naive young woman trying to find her place in the high society of 18th century England. She encounters a number of unreliable and sometimes lecherous suitors, highly strung older women,embarrassing relatives and her one true love, from whom she is separated by circumstance until the end. There is even a mystery about her parentage to be solved.

But I didn’t actually read Evelina. I just looked at the pictures.

'Evelina' by Fanny Burney.

This edition is lavishly illustrated by Thomson, full of pictures (more than 50) of its young heroine. So many in fact that I began to see it as an early form of the graphic novel, following the protagonist through her series of adventures. To illustrate my point I will have to set before you quite a few of pictures of the eponymous heroine. Thomson’s skill is to make her attractive and glamorous in a variety of moods. Just like the heroine of a comic. Which gets me back to the pleasures of the past resembling the pleasures of the present.

006 Madam May I presume

Thomson of course is looking back at the 18th century  from a modern era. From 1903 as well as from 2015 it looks like an exotic and sophisticated time, whose inhabitants gave themselves over to the pleasures of witty speech, flirting with the opposite sex and promenading around London looking good. I remember that impression gained from books (and films) like Tom Jones, the memoirs of Casanova, and the introductions to Penguin editions of books like Humphrey Clinker (Smollet – another Chelsea man) and Tristram Shandy. I’ve always been a great reader of introductions.

007 At Ranelagh

Evelina and her friend join the throng at Ranelagh Gardens – one of the great places to see and be seeen. (See this post, this one, or this one for more 18th century amusement.)

008 Is that he

There are Balls and Assemblies where the fashionable elite and their hangers on disport themselves.

011 Hark you, Mrs Frog, you'd best hold your tongue

There is some physical comedy, on this occasion on board a coach.

014 the young ladies began to examine my dress

Fashion notes from new friends

015 Doubtless Ma'am everything must be infinitely novel to you

Life at the theatre, Burney’s great passion. (She wrote a number of plays, very few of which were ever performed.)

019 For Heaven's sake what is the matter

Virtue threatened by an unwelcome suitor (aboard another coach).

023 Pray ladies don't be frightened for I will walk my horse

Some outdoor scenes, with a comedy buffoon.

024 Sir Clement caught my hand

And indoors again with yet another unwelcome suitor.

026 Mr Mirvan I have brought a petitioner

Introductions….

030 M Du Bois walked by the side of the chair

Colourful transport…

033 Mr Smith ran away with me

A bit of running around in panic.

034 The Misses Braughtens screamed

Uncertainty….

037 as fast as ever they could tear her along

Jeopardy….

039 I've the greatest mind in the world to box your ears

The heroine turns feisty.

043 we were moved on between them

Then gets in more trouble, this time in Kensington Gardens.

045 A shower of rain made us hasten

Where some inclement weather causes more panic.

047 Rolling his eyes in thankfulness towards heaven

After all her tribulations she returns to the security of home.

050 Planning for the futureBut soon ennui sets in.

055 Lord Mervan cought my hand

And the unwelcome attentions follow her.

057 Followed by a party of young men

She goes out again with some unsuitable companions.

059 Presented one of them to Lord Orvill, another to me

But finally. she is reunited with the one good suitor. Reconciliation, and a happy ending

And then there’s the funny bit at the end.

062 Miss Mirvan and I jumped upon our chairs

Featuring that old standby the amusing monkey.

These illustrations are all in the right sequence so although I can’t show them all I hope that you like me can get a decent idea of the story. Or any other story you can make up based on the pictures. Some books are just too long to read the whole thing so I was really very impressed with Thomson’s efforts which not only saved me the trouble but to me have something of the pace of a modern graphic novel.

Postscript

All we need now to save me from having to read the book which I might eventually is a TV adaptation to give the costume designers something to get their teeth into. I haven’t seen a good adaptation of an 18th century novel since the last TV version of Tom Jones , or that version of Fanny Hill on BBC4.

I’m not a complete philistine. I do read some long books. I read all 1000 pages of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (very nearly an 18th century narrative) so I’m in a good position to urge my friends to stick with the current TV version even if it’s like nothing they’ve ever seen before.

I’m writing this post over the Bank Holiday weekend so please consider it a light hearted excursion into another imaginative version of the past.

The colourised version of the first illustration is from a 1920 edition apparently. The engraving of Miss Frances Burney is from our extra illustrated version of Faulkner’s History of Chelsea. It shows she was as glamorous as Thomson’s depiction of her heroine.

Department of Coincidences

Naturally I did some research on Burney in the biographies collection at Kensington Library (probably the best collection of biographies in any public library in London, but of course I would say that). Along with some serious works I found a “story biography” of Burney by Josephine Kamm who wrote many books of that kind along with some early young adult novels. I was pleased to find this because before her death Mrs Kamm lived in the flat where I now live with my family. I hope she would have approved of what I’ve written (but maybe not).

016 So we've caught you at the glass

Finally…(added 18th June)

There must be lots of examples of period dress on the web but I thought this Polish blogger unintentionally (I assume) captured Thomson’s view of Evelina perfectly:

evelina 01

More images at: http://duchess-milianda.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/szyjemy.html

 


Blog extra: May Monarch 2015

You get an bonus post this week, because I was invited to the May Monarch Festival at Whitelands College last Saturday. I was able to attend the new Monarch investiture and see the procession of former May Queens and Kings (just a handful of  kings as yet). I thought I would share some pictures with you so you can see the day in colour, quite a different perspective from the monochrome pictures of the early days.

The first queen I met was Queen Noreen (1955) seen below with a  later queen, Queen Kate.

DSC_5395Queen Noreen and another queen
The College had helpfully put up plenty of pictures around the corridors of the building where I found a picture of Queen Noreen in 1955 at the Putney home of the College:

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I also encountered the 1950 queen, Queen Sheila.

DSC_5393 Queen Sheila

And some more recent holders of the office, Queen Natalie, in brown and Queen Kate in blue.

DSC_5394 Quenn Natalie and

There were about 30 former Queens, and a couple of former Kings at the ceremony. The picture echoes the many group pictures of former queens I’ve seen in my research.

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In this picture you can see the outgoing queen, Queen Elle sat on the throne while the new Monarch King Qusai (apparently also known by his nickname Q) awaiting his investiture.

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Q is the first Muslim Monarch as far as I know.  The head of the College made a joke referring to the James Bond character Q but I was thinking of the Star Trek character Q, who would have beeen a natural ruler though probably hard to depose. The actual King made a brief but impassioned speech and the charity he will be supporting in his year as King,  Warchild.

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Presentations were made to some of the former queens, and with the new King invested, a group of Morris Dancers led the group out into the spacious grounds at the rear of the college which look out into Richmond Park.

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The dancers are a reminder of the old English and pagan elements to May Day which exist alongside the Anglican ceremony.

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It was a fascinating  morning and a chance to link everything I’ve learned about the May Queen Festival in its Chelsea days with the continuing history of the College and the Festival.

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My thanks to Gilly King, Whitelands College and the University of Roehampton for my invitation.

There will be a more or less normal post at the usual time next week.

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