Archive for February 2005
From the Gwen Raverat Archive at the Broughton House Gallery. Born Gwen Darwin, she was Charles Darwin’s grand-daughter. She once confessed to feeling "so lonely and strange… I don’t know about people – they don’t know about me’.
‘They must have a very high opinion of him to consider him dangerous’, said Spencer Gore, while The Concise Dictionary of National Biography has this to say:
A towering, undisciplined, and quarrelsome
egotist, his greatest enemy was himsel.f’
Wyndham Lewis: Paintings, Drawings & Publications at Olympia, London, 1-6 March, 2005.
Two (very different) British artists, who coincidentally died in the same year, 1957.
More glass lantern slides, this time from the Florida Memory Project. "These color images depict a variety of Florida’s natural features, including scenes of rivers and river banks, forests, nature trails, fishing, sand dunes, and swimming. Most have no further identification".
A puppet show, as described by William Hone, in his Every-Day Book (1825):
Scene 2. The money taker called out, "This is the representation of a skeleton." The music played solemnly, and the puppet skeleton came slowly through a trap door in the floor of the stage; its under jaw chattered against the upper, it threw its arms up mournfully, till it was fairly above ground, and then commenced a "grave" dance. On a sudden its head dropped off, the limbs separated from the trunk in a moment, and the head moved about the floor, chattering, till it resumed its place together with the limbs, and in an instant danced as before; its efforts appeared gradually to decline, and at last it sank into a sitting posture, and remained still. Then it held down its skull, elevated its arms, let them fall on the ground several times dolorously; fell to pieces again; again the head moved about the stage and chattered; again it resumed its place, the limbs reunited, and the figure danced till the head fell off with a gasp; the limbs flew still further apart; all was quiet; the head made one move only towards the body, fell sideways, and the whole re-descended to a dirge-like tune. Thus ended the second scene.
Hone’s Every-Day Book is, as the editor of this online edition admits, "rather difficult to categorize". I imagine, from the sound of it, that Hone would be blogging, were he alive today — and he’d be very good at it, too. The weekly instalments of the book contain material as diverse as anecdotes about remarkable or comical cats, execution equipment and Russian bee-keeping.
As one does, to bring you links as yet unvisited by other explorers of the blogosphere, Ramage has been toying with the search engine RedLightGreen. Not only does this project – designed specifically for undergraduates using the Web, and the libraries that support them – give access to a database of more than 130 million books, the search results often provide related links to each individual book.
Thus it was that, searching RLG for "magic fire-eaters", one found the splendidly entitled "Fire eating ; Magic bandolin ; The Magnetic girl ; The Human pin cushion ; How to become a contortionist ; Snake charming ; Secret of sword swallowing ; Dancing on broken glass ; The Secret of educating the pig and goose", and its astounding related link the Bibliography of Contortion and Hypermobility, which, in turn, led to this:
Page from The Acrobat, by Judy Cholerton, 193?. Apparently, the "Association of American Dancing" is still extant, based in the somewhat unexpected locale of Thornsett, in Derbyshire – not all that far from where I live, in fact.
One of 19th century medicine’s finest, at I Photo Central.
To his great embarrassment, Hilaire Belloc was often
forced to produce substandard books in order to pay his bills. During
the 1930s in a railway carriage Belloc noticed a man in front of him
reading a volume of his "History of England". He leaned forward, asked
him how much he had paid for it, and – informed of the price – withdrew
a corresponding sum from his pocket, gave it to the man, snatched the
book from his hand, and tossed it out the window.
Speaking as a bookseller, one can’t help wishing more authors would behave like this…
A random anecdote, from Anecdotage.