Monday, 28 April 2014

Ouida - misattributed photo

Further to the previous post about late-Victorian female authors, I've run into a slight puzzle concerning Ouida (Maria Louise Ramé) and image attribution.

DWWW: part 2

Further to largely forgotten DWWWs (Dead White Women Writers) - late-Victorian writers whose portraits appeared in The Picture Magazine, Vol 3, 1894.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Spindler's list

Sorry, more DWM - but I just found out more about the career of William Spindler, the German industrialist who figures large in the Isle of Wight Undercliff's 19th century social circuit. Ventnor was the final destination of a far darker story of the dangerous political climate of Bismarck's Germany.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Almost Fairyland

A couple of times I've mentioned here a classic and very scarce Isle of Wight book, the privately-circulated 1914 Almost Fairyland: personal notes concerning the Isle of Wight, written by John Morgan Richards, the American ex-pat businessman who retired to Steephill, near Ventnor. I'm pleased to say that I finally got to read it.

Monday, 21 April 2014

DWWW: part 1

JSBlog has had a bit of a DWM (Dead White Males) bias lately, so here's a compendium of DWWWs (Dead White Women Writers) from The Picture Magazine, Vol 3, 1894. Published by George Newnes from January 1893 to June 1896, The Picture Magazine was quite an innovative format for its time, in being simply an eclectic mix of captioned images.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Mrs Aberdein's Papyruseum

Pursuing the trail of enigmatic references... RS Kirby's 1820 piece on Robert Coates mentions that "Mrs. Aberdeen exhibits his curricle in her Papyrueism, and her rooms are crowded almost to suffocation, with the world of taste and fashion. We understand that Mrs. Aberdeen has refused an offer of fifty guineas, which was made her for this elegant little model of Mr. Coates's fancy, alleging that she could not think of lobbing her exhibition of one of its greatest attractions."

Saturday, 19 April 2014

"While I live I'll crow"

I just checked out the reference to the architect John Foulston "emulating the renowned Romeo Coates in the singularity of the vehicle which served him as a gig" in George Wightwick's 1857 Bentley's Miscellany piece "Life of an architect" (see Imaginary prison and an elephant portfolio). The person in question was the famously eccentric dandy and actor Robert Coates (1772-1848).

Friday, 18 April 2014

Imaginary prison and an elephant portfolio: more on Foulston

Another highlight from John Foulston's 1838 The public buildings erected in the West of England as designed by John Foulston F.R.I.B.A.: his rejected design for Bristol Gaol. He was sore about the rejection, and shows it.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Building the Devonport Column

Wikimedia Commons
I've not yet visited the Devonport Column, which has now been open to the public for nearly a year. But last year I had a look at John Foulston's The public buildings erected in the West of England as designed by John Foulston F.R.I.B.A. (1838), which has some background: "The manner of raising and setting the stones, in the erection of the Devonport Column is, he [the author] believes, perfectly novel, and will not fail to interest the young practitioner".

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

A Wren-like Note: IWCP piece

I'm very pleased to see that the Isle of Wight County Press, after a few months' delay, just ran a piece on A Wren-like Note: "Secret life of a Victorian novelist" (Richard Wright, IWCP, 11 Apr 2014, Weekender section, p7).

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Angry birds

It was a quiet afternoon on Topsham Underway: until the resident geese and a swan took exception to each other.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Sandrock Spring: quaffing the lymph

Further to The Sandrock Chalybeate Spring, I just found these excessively erudite verse testimonials to its medicinal properties, courtesy Isle of Wight County Press Archive.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Topsham: roads not taken

A bright afternoon, so I took myself for a walk and a quick glance at the Museum, newly-opened for the 2014 season, where I spotted some pictures of of historical 'roads not taken'.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Bones beneath Brixham

Looking out of Ash Hole Cavern, Brixham
A minor detour from yesterday's walk to Berry Head leads to the topic of Brixham's subterranea: the history of its "bone caverns", and the stories of two very different styles of investigation.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Bliss - Brixham again

Looking across Torbay from Berry Head
We were hoping this week would bring good weather - and it delivered. Today, now that the coastal railway's running again, we made the planned return visit to Brixham.

Monday, 7 April 2014

The Eyes! The Eyes! and other ads

It goes without saying that ads for scammy products are nothing new, especially in the days before the Advertising Standards Authority, but these (among many) caught my eye while I was browsing the Isle of Wight Observer for April 05, 1879.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Things that go bump in the night

The Temptation of St. Anthony,
Matthias Grünewald (detail)
From Ghoolies and Ghoosties,
long-leggety Beasties, and Things
that go Bump in the Night,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Following up a query I saw elsewhere, I've been wondering about the origin of this piece of doggerel, which gets variously credited as Scottish, Irish, or West Country. It goes off in interesting directions...

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Tisbury Starred Agate

Last week, passing through Tisbury on the train jogged my memory to look up "Tisbury Starred Agate". I've had this nice specimen for decades - I can't remember where I got it - but never bothered to look up its provenance.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Secret Topsham

I'm still occasionally rather slow about realising the possibilities of the Internet; the Internet Archive often makes it possible to retrieve online material lost through site updates and domain changes. So I was delighted to recover this local history article I wrote, which I've now updated to reflect changes in Topsham over the past eight years or so.