Did the Earth Move for You?

Ok, whoever you are I’m coming for you. You, the one that gave me this bloody cold. 👿

I’m supposed to be updating, but I don’t feel like it. I’m cold, I have nose and eye juice (Claire) running as I type, I can’t sleep and I’m grumpy godammit!

I must thank Margaret for making me a shiny new EntreCard, those of you that use it should be seeing it right about now.  Thanks to all of you who have been popping in and commenting too, I am trying to keep up to date with this and with my visits in between sneezes.

Oh, and did the earth move for you last night? We had an earthquake, and because I was awake I noticed it! It was a mild rumble in Scotland, worst hit was Lincolnshire in England, apparently the damage is running into millions of pounds already. You can read about it here.

I’m in a high temperature induced haze at the moment, so if I remember anything else I’ll post it later, I know I owe some tags. Toodles…

Hello Vintage

I’ve made up my mind this time. The last time Victorian/Edwardian inspired fashion was about I only bought a couple of things. This time I’m stockpiling. I love this stuff, you can blame it on Radio Days, who got me into vintage stuff when I was 18.

Here’s a couple of finds: the blouse I bought last time around, and I adore it, the boots I just got recently in a sale after seeing these ones, which are equally gorgeous, but too high for me. I’m 5′ 8″ now and refuse to be Amazon woman.

Sorry, pictures don’t do them justice.

Cool TV – Moonlight

I’ve just got around to watching the first episode of this new series, and so far I think I like it.  A gorgeous vampire?  Hey, what’s not to like?!

Mick St. John is a vampire with a conscience who works as a private investigator (and in the near future I daresay will be a star-crossed lover too).  Why not check it out, and tell me what you think of it.  Episode 2 is tomorrow, so I’ll be giving it another whirl.

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Princess Mary’s Gift

Friday.  Another day, another research hunt.  Yay me!  I’ve secured some more books and journals that will help I think, but I’m always on the look out for more.

I arrived at my favourite antique shop in the hope there might be something lurking on the book shelves.  Sadly I spent some time, but couldn’t find anything relating to my research, but I did find an interesting old journal which I bought to look at anyway.

You know me, I have to take a look at the stuff in the shop.  There’s so many beautiful things in the world to admire, and possibly to buy…sometimes.  I had one of those moments where something just catches your eye.  All it was, was a small gold coloured tin – I wondered what it said on the lid.  Turned out it was a tin from the Great War or, WWI if you like.

Princess Mary, daughter of the then King, George V had set up a fund in 1914 so that aid could be sent to our soldiers.  The tin was part of that years’ Christmas present.  Filled with tobacco, cigarettes and chocolate as well as a pencil and a Christmas card from Mary herself.  Many of these tins still exist, some with contents.  You can see a picture, and read a little more about them here.

I was invited to open the tin (I’d already expressed my excitement upon having seen it.  They were previously just fabled to me.)  Inside was a little collection of pins and brooches…including a lovely round pierced silver name brooch, ‘Mary’ funnily enough.  Course then I had to have that for my collection!  It’s a funny old world isn’t it?!  How one marvellous thing can lead to another?  I shall show you all a photo when I get it, it’s being cleaned at the moment.

Oh, and before I left I Decided to diversify.  I’m now buying interesting Victorian silver items that catch my eye.  I left with a lovely 1880s match case.

Excuse Me While I Dream

I know I’m fairly insane anyway, but lately with all my research and the extra stuff that I’ve been doing my dreams have just been odd to say the least.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always dreamed in colour. Now I wander through old corridors like a spectator looking at rooms and possessions that no longer exist. It’s a nice way to get to know a building I suppose, if my mind’s description can be relied upon!

For the last couple of days I’ve been hearing beautiful classical music too, so much so I’ve started playing it during the day in an effort to get it out of my head. It’s funny though, in a way I quite like it.

They say that dreaming can be a window to other places. Looks like I’m on dream miles.

WW: Snowdrops

I’m seeing Snowdrops everywhere, and I love them! I took this photograph last week, whilst on one of our road trips.  This is for Wordless Tues/Wednesday. For other participants click here.

Update: Many of you tell me you hadn’t seen or heard of Snowdrops before.   We get them in the cold weather just before the Spring flowers come out.  They are wild flowers, and are usually seen in sheltered places ‘like a carpet’ along with yellow and purple crocuses.  Really lovely, tiny little flowers all of them.

The Works of Sir Thomas Lawrence

I never knew I liked the work of artist Sir Thomas Lawrence until I met Jane. Jane is a portrait of Jane Fraser by the way. Bet some of you remembered though 😉

Though, in a way that’s not strictly true, you see our Jane is a copy after Lawrence, the original is in the USA. See my previous post, and those of you in Philadelphia – demand that she is released from storage immediately! Unless you know where to look Jane is incorrectly catalogued and rather hard to find…

Anyhow, I’ve been reading more historical fiction lately, hah! Can’t even break the habit then can I? The good news is that it’s Regency set, so I’m a having a short Victorian diversion. Though, I digress, this piece does have a point in it somewhere. I realised whilst reading one of the books, that the rather attractive cover has a lady by Lawrence on it. To be exact, Margaret, Countess of Blessington which I’m told is in the Wallace Collection, London. So, what better thing to do (and avoid Raeburn for a change) than to drool over some more?

Sir Thomas (1769-1830) apparently was a child prodigy (funnily enough so was Millais) who succeeded Sir Joshua Reynolds as a very sought after court portrait painter. His paintings, I think, encapsulate the Regency age. He is also well known for his portrait of George IV, and his mother Queen Charlotte among others. Both of these are still in the Royal Collection.  There are many of his paintings that remain famous today, and you’d probably recognise.  It’s funny actually, but I wonder how long he took to paint the portraits on average? He took ages to finish Jane’s and had to be hurried along eventually!

Here are a few of my favourites (sorry, I left the menfolk out, I like these best!) Margaret, Countess of Blessington (Wallace Collection), Elizabeth, Countess of Grosvenor (not sure who owns this one email me if you know please), Julia, Lady Peel (Frick Collection) and of course, Mrs Jane Fraser (Philadelphia Museum of Art). I could have gone on forever…

Damn, I want to buy this book now…

Sometimes I Think My Eyeballs Will Roll Out of My Head

Bet that title caught your attention, eh?!

Research is a wonderful thing, yes really – honest!  The only trouble is I always push myself too far and end up with eye strain and or a headache from poring over old text, photos and/or plans.  Victorian handwriting can be as bad as translating hieroglyphics sometimes.

I would never give it up though, you’d have to restrain me somewhere and take my toys away!  Now, who wants to help me with the 1891 London census, art archives, sale room/auction archives, Raeburn, maps and plans…

Form an orderly queue here :mrgreen:

Desirable Exhibitions

I’ll subtitle this one as maybe I’ll have the time?

It’s well known here that I love photographs and photography in general so the first exhibition I’d like to see is Vanity Fair Portraits 1913-2008 (14 February-26 May) which is showing at the National Portrait Gallery, London.  I’ve always thought that their photography was of particularly high quality, though I confess I’d probably enjoy the older shots more.

This ties in with my next desirable exhibition, Victorian Artists in Photographs: G.F. Watts and his World (7 January-13 April), which is showing at the Guildhall Art Gallery, London.  I love Watts’ work, plus Victorian art in general, so this is one I’ll actually try very hard to see.

Finally, a place I’ve wanted to see for a while, and is also holding an exhibition is Jane Austen’s House, Chawton, Hampshire (1 March for 10 weeks), it will be showing a display of costumes from the 2008 BBC adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.  As far as I can tell, they are already showing costumes from the film Becoming Jane also.

Did I mention it will soon be castle season?  Yay!  More places to go…

Alexander Mackenzie Fraser

I just stumbled upon a video about Lt. General Alexander Mackenzie Fraser, who was the father of Colonel Charles, who I’ve spoken about several times here.

Alexander is a famous military hero, who sadly died before his time.  A quick warning about the video, as it’s nice to see him honoured, there are a few errors and omissions which I’ll correct here.  Please also note that some photographs do not relate to Castle Fraser.  I suspect that these images are more about the Fraser clan in general, i.e the Lovat branch.

  • I’m not sure where the first ruined castle is (anyone want to email me about it?!)
  • The book cover image is of Craigievar Castle (which did not belong to Frasers)
  • The brother in law of Alexander was Francis Humberstone Mackenzie, the Earl of Seaforth
  • He actually died of Walcheren fever, which is a type of Typhoid
  • He was certainly very well though of, there is a letter from Wellington himself in the Castle Fraser Collection
  • The sepia toned photos appear to be from an old copy of the castle guide.  The first is of the Worked Room (if you squint you can see Miss Elyza Fraser’s portrait on the wall) the second is of the Dining Room
  • Alexander’s portrait does indeed still hang in the Great Hall, though it is not the original
  • Don’t know which cathedral?? that is
  • Sir Vicary Gibbs was actually another relation and he went on to look after Alexander’s orphaned children after his death
  • Don’t know the location with the highland cows either
  • The next one I suspect is another Fraser family seat, again the sword/gun display I suspect is to do with other Frasers.

All in all, it was nice to see another engraving of Alexander and his signature though.  Oh, and repeat after me: “Castle Fraser, not Fraser Castle.”  No, I don’t know why it is that way round.  It wasn’t the castle’s original name.

A little addendum: I see you, yes you, the person who keeps stealing little bits about the castle from my posts.  I know you’re doing it, so stop it now.