Enfilade

Hermione Voyage 2015

Posted in anniversaries, the 18th century in the news by Editor on June 5, 2015

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From the Hermione Voyage 2015 website:

Twenty years ago, a small group dreamed of reconstructing an exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th-century ship called the Hermione. Today, the majestic vessel is the largest and most authentically built Tall Ship in the last 150 years. The Hermione has set sail in France, launching an adventure that comes to the USA in the summer of 2015 for an unprecedented voyage.

In April 2015, after a period of sea trials and training in 2014, the Hermione set sail for the USA. The journey started from the mouth of the River Charente, in Port des Barques, where Lafayette boarded on March 10th, 1780. The transatlantic crossing was expected to take 27 days in total, before making landfall at Yorktown, Virginia.

As the Hermione moves up the Eastern seaboard, it will be accompanied by a range of pier side activities. These include in some ports a traveling exhibition and a heritage village that will be accessible to the public. The Hermione Voyage 2015 is part of an expansive outreach program with cultural events, exhibitions, and educational programs that celebrate the trip and mark its progress. A robust digital activation for the voyage expands the reach of the project to millions of people.

 

Wedgwood Appeal: Donate to Save the Collection

Posted in museums, the 18th century in the news by Editor on September 5, 2014

From Save the Wedgwood Collection:

Josiah Wedgwood, The First Day's Vase, c.1769 (Wedgwood Museum Trust)

Josiah Wedgwood, The First Day’s Vase, c.1769 (Wedgwood Museum). Inscribed ‘artes Etruriae renascuntur’ (‘the arts of Etruria are reborn’).

The Wedgwood Collection, one of the most important industrial archives in the world and a unique record of over 250 years of British art, is under threat of being separated and sold off.

The Art Fund now has the opportunity to purchase it for the nation intact, provided the final £2.74m of a total £15.75m fundraising target can be raised by 30 November 2014. This is the only chance to keep the collection in one piece and on public display, preserving this unique record of British history and global commerce.

The collection is the major asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust, which inherited £134m of pension debt as a result of the UK subsidary of Waterford Wedgwood Plc going into administration in 2009. The debt transferred from company to Trust because the two had been linked through a shared pension fund. Although the Pension Protection Fund (PPF)—the industry body set up by the government to compensate individual pensioners in the event of a company insolvency—will absorb the liability, it has a duty to claw back as much as it can from sale of assets.

In December 2011 the High Court ruled that the Wedgwood Collection was indeed an asset of the Wedgwood Museum Trust that should be sold in order to repay some of the debt owed, and in March 2012 the Attorney General upheld this ruling. Since then, the Art Fund and other partners have looked at all options to prevent the Collection from being broken up and sold on the open market. However, after exploring several avenues, all parties have now agreed that the only option is for the Art Fund to raise the necessary funds to purchase the Collection on behalf of the nation. In order to protect the Collection from ever being at risk again, if the money can be raised, the Art Fund plans to gift it to the Victoria & Albert Museum, the national museum of art and design. Without needing to move it, but with its ownership secure in perpetuity, the V&A intends to assign it on long-term loan to the Wedgwood Museum at Barlaston, which will lie at the heart of a major new visitor experience as part of Waterford Wedgwood Royal Doulton’s (WWRD) £34m redevelopment of the site—set for completion in spring 2015.

The Art Fund has launched an appeal to raise the full £15.75m needed for the purchase, in order to keep this irreplaceable Collection together and on display. Thanks to major support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and a number of private trusts and foundations, over £13m has already been raised. The campaign has until 30 November to find the remaining £2.74m necessary to purchase—and save—the Collection.

The future of the remarkable Wedgwood Collection has never looked brighter—provided the funds can be raised.

Donate to the appeal online or text WEDGWOOD to 70800 to give £10.

Mark Brown’s coverage for The Guardian (1 September 2014) is available here»

A. N. Wilson’s essay “Wedgwood: The Legacy Must Live On” appears in the Autumn 2014 issue of Art Quarterly and is also available at Save the Wedgwood Collection (4 September 2014).

 

The 2013 Georgian Group Architectural Awards

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 14, 2014

The most recent architectural awards from The Georgian Group were announced last October (yes, I realize the posting is long, long overdue), with nominations open for the 2014 awards until September 19.CH

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The Georgian Group’s Architectural Awards, sponsored by international estate agents Savills and now in their twelfth year, recognise exemplary conservation and restoration projects in the United Kingdom and reward those who have shown the vision and commitment to restore Georgian buildings and landscapes. Awards are also given for high-quality new buildings in Georgian contexts and in the Classical tradition.

Entries for the 2014 awards are now being accepted. There is no entry fee. Schemes must be in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man or Channel Islands and must have reached practical completion between 1st January 2013 and 1st August 2014. For the purpose of the Awards, the term ‘Georgian’ embraces the period of classical ascendancy in Britain and is taken to mean 1660–1840. The owner’s consent is a condition of entry. Please send a description of your project with a selection of images to robert@georgiangroup.org.uk or to The Georgian Group, 6 Fitzroy Square, London W1T 5DX by 5pm on Friday 19 September 2014.

More information is available here»

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More information about the 2013 results and additional pictures are available here»

2 0 1 3  W I N N I N G  A N D  C O M M E N D E D  S C H E M E S

A - TOWNHEAD COMPLETED

Restoration of a Georgian Country House

Winner
Townhead, Slaidburn, Lancs (pictured above)
By and for Robert Staples
Early C18 stone house. Previously on buildings at risk register, acquired by present owners 2010, conservatively restored using traditional methods.

Commended
Hadlow Tower, Tonbridge, Kent
Thomas Ford and Partners for The Vivat Trust
1832 by Walter Barton May as part of a now largely demolished country house. 185ft Gothic folly in brick with covering of Roman cement. On World Monuments Fund Watch List by 2003. Now restored and refaced, with lantern (removed after storm damage in 1987) rebuilt.

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Rotunda (May 2013)Restoration of a Georgian Interior

Winner
Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London (shown at right)
RHWL for The Really Useful Group Theatres
Restoration of Grand Saloon, The King’s and Prince’s Staircases and the Rotunda. Redecoration with advice from John Earl, Lisa Oestreicher and Edward Bulmer to match as closely as possible Benjamin Dean Wyatt’s original design. Installation of copy of Canova’s Three Graces in the Rotunda.

Commended
Great Fulford, near Exeter, Devon
Ceiling by Geoffrey Preston for Francis Fulford
New decorated plaster ceiling for the C17 double cube Great Dining Room. The original ceiling collapsed C19 and the room was then abandoned until C20; in 1960 a temporary ceiling composed of acoustic tiles was installed to make the room habitable. The 1700 picture hang has also been largely reinstated.

 

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Restoration of a Georgian Building in an Urban Setting

Winner
Mostyn House, 42 Vale Street, Denbigh
Milrick Ltd for John and Janis Franklin
1722 townhouse, restored in project initiated by Denbighshire County Council and part-funded by Townscape Heritage Initiative with HLF support. Main elevation fully returned to its original appearance, with removal of pebbledash and excrescences (later oriel window to first floor and bay windows to ground floor). Façade limewashed. Internally, lost oak panelling and missing section of oak staircase re-created.

Commended
116 High St, Boston, Lincolnshire
Anderson and Glenn for Heritage Lincolnshire
1728 merchant’s townhouse, later bank; by end of C20, gardens concreted over and house officially at risk and near to collapse. Compulsorily purchased by local authority and restored by building preservation trust supported by Architectural Heritage Fund and HLF. Envelope conserved and some lost features reinstated. Interior fitted out for office use and premises for small businesses built in grounds, giving a boost to a part of Boston cut off by a 1960s ring road.

Commended
107 Great Mersey Street, Liverpool L5
Brock Carmichael for Rotunda Ltd
1820s house, the only Georgian building left in Kirkdale area of Liverpool, near docks. In atrocious condition and on buildings at risk register by 2003, Urgent Works Notice served in 2007. HLF-funded project to restore envelope and restore or replace internal fabric.

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Reuse of a Georgian Building

P1010148Winner
St. Helen’s House, Derby (shown at right)
Brownhill Hayward Brown for Richard Blunt
1766 by Joseph Pickford, Grade I, one of the finest C18 townhouses to survive in a provincial city. Sold by the Strutt family to Derby School in the 1860s, in educational use till 2004, since when vacant and formally at risk. Bought by Richard Blunt in 2006, now restored and converted to office use, the recession having put paid to a planned hotel conversion.

Commended
Norwood House, Beverley, East Riding
Elevation Design for The Brantingham Group (specialist advice from Patrick Baty)
1765, Grade I townhouse, acquired by local authority 1907 and used as a girls’ school until 1990s, then disused; deteriorated to the point where it was formally at risk. Arson in 2004 damaged the Rococo drawing room and the 1825 Grecian library. Subject to unsympathetic proposals but now sensitively restored and let in its entirety to a culinary school who use it in part as a restaurant.

Commended
Stable block, Sulby Hall, Northants
JWA Architects for Mr and Mrs Sandercock
1790s, attributed to Soane. Sulby Hall was demolished in 1952 and the surviving stable block was subsequently in various uses including as a store for farm equipment and grain. By 2005 it was ruinous and roofless. Natural England initiated restoration as part of a management plan for the owners’ mixed farm and the stable block, fully restored, is now used as a stable yard for stallions in a national breeding programme.

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Maze Main

Restoration of a Georgian Garden or Landscape

Winner
Repton pleasure grounds, Woburn, Beds (pictured above)
Woburn Abbey gardeners for The Duke of Bedford
Restoration, and re-creation where lost, of the Georgian pleasure gardens and garden buildings, including Holland’s Chinese dairy, Repton’s pagoda, temple, aviary and cone house and Wyatville’s Camellia House.

Commended
Cow Pond, Windsor Great Park, Berkshire
Russ Canning for The Crown Estate
Part of the ten-year Royal Landscape Project to reinstate the lost historic landscapes of Windsor Great Park. Cow Pond, part of Wise’s 1712 plan for the Park and taking the form of a canal, was overgrown by 2008 and had regressed to swamp. Restoration included dredging and draining, construction of a Baroque footbridge and arbour and new planting.

Commended
Sir James Tillie Mausoleum, Pentillie Castle, Saltash, Cornwall
Cliveden Conservation for Ted Coryton
1713, in ruinous condition and covered in vegetation when Pentillie bought by present owners in 2007. Fully restored following archaeological survey, damaged Tillie statue repaired, vault excavated.

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New Building in the Classical Tradition

Winner
Onslow Park, near Shrewsbury, Salop
Craig Hamilton for Mr and Mrs John Wingfield
Schinkelesque country house on established estate. Five-bay, the centre three bays slightly recessed with arched openings to ground floor, forming an arcade on the garden front. Rendered with stone dressing. Top-lit stair hall with gallery and spiral cantilevered staircase.

Commended
Oval cricket ground, London SE11 (new forecourt pavilion)
Hugh Petter of Adam Architecture for Surrey County Cricket Club
Forecourt pavilion in brick with Bath stone dressing, replacing functional C20 banqueting suite. Central portico articulated with stone columns with bespoke Prince of Wales feather capitals and surmounted by stone urns.

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Giles Worsley Award for a New Building in a Georgian Context

Winner
8B Aubrey Road, London W8
Craig Hamilton Architects for Mr and Mrs Andrew Deacon
New classical mews house replacing former mews in grounds of 25 Holland Park Avenue (1820s). Soanean echoes, especially in recessed arches and rectangular sculpture gallery. Public façade composed of pediment and Diocletian window above full-width front door imitating typical mews garage door.

Commended
A lodge for a country house in Gloucestershire
Craig Hamilton for a private client
Classical lodge in stone on cruciform plan, each axis terminating at either end in a broken pediment; deep block-modillion cornice.

Commended
Trinity Church Terrace, Trinity Street, Borough, London SE1
By and for London Realty
Terrace of ten five-storey houses, forming infill development adjoining Trinity Church Square and designed to harmonise with existing context.

 

David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on October 25, 2013

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Photo by Pavel Antonov

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In the October 28 issue of The New Yorker (“Wigstock,” pp. 70-72), Hilton Als reviews Marie Antoinette, written by David Adjmi, directed by Rebecca Taichman, and featuring Marin Ireland in the queen’s role (at New York’s SoHo Rep, 9 October — 24 November).

That the piece amounts to a kind of collaboration between Adjmi and Ireland–she writes in space with her body as Adjmi’s words fill the stage–is one of the production’s unexpected pleasures; in our generally director-driven theatre, it’s fascinating to watch a great actress assume the mantle of muse and run with it. . .

Right off we know that Adjmi’s Marie isn’t Marie; her language isn’t in the tradition of stage royals, particularly as imagined by American actors performing the “classics.” Rather we’re in something more modern . . . Adjmi’s brilliance is to use trashy vernacular speech to allude to the way history trashes us. . .

The full review (along with lots more) is available as a PDF file at the SoHo Rep website.

Kinross House Receives HHA Restoration Award for 2013

Posted in on site, the 18th century in the news by Editor on August 27, 2013

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Sir William Bruce, Kinross House, Perth and Kinross, 1685

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Press release from the HHA:

The Historic Houses Association and Sotheby’s are delighted to announce that the 2013 Restoration Award has been awarded to Kinross House, Scotland’s first neo-classical Palladian mansion. Built in 1685 by Sir William Bruce, one of the foremost architects of the classical form, the historic house was in need of extensive restoration when its present owner, Mr Donald Fothergill, acquired the property in 2011. In a labour of love, Kinross House and Gardens have been saved from disrepair and meticulously restored to their former glory. Six other applicants from across the UK have been commended or shortlisted for this year’s Award (as listed below).

The entire roof, every single pipe, and every single wire in the 55 room property had to be replaced. Working with sensitivity and respect, and using traditional products and craftsmanship wherever possible, the restoration team remodelled every room drawing inspiration from the house’s own history, historic furniture and artworks. The project also enabled parts of the interior of the house to be completed for the very first time – such as the pediments above the door and the fireplaces in the Grand Salon – elements which Sir William Bruce had been unable to finish by the time of his fall from royal favour and financial ruin.

Dining room

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In line with Sir William Bruce’s vision for the house 350 years ago, the original seventeenth century garden designs have also been reinstalled – restoring the long lost historic views, geometries and horticultural plans which were so integral to Bruce’s neo-classical design. As well as functioning as a contemporary home, the house is now open to the public for the first time in its history, available for special events, weddings and tours.

“The major restoration programme which has been undertaken over the past two years at Kinross has saved and revitalised this hugely important house from deterioration and possible future loss. The scale of the renovation is magnificent, and the house can now be seen by more people than perhaps ever in its long history – it is terrific to see the house coming back to life and being filled once again. Active use of the house is already having a beneficial effect on employment and incomes in the surrounding area. I would also like to congratulate all those projects which the judges have commended as well as those on the shortlist”
– Richard Compton, President of the Historic Houses Association

“This is an heroic restoration of the grandest classical house in Scotland. To see an owner devote such love, care and attention to a house which will continue as a home, is a thorough vindication of the aims of the award “
– Harry Dalmeny, Chairman of Sotheby’s UK

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C O M M E N D E D  P R O P E R T I E S

Allerton Castle, Yorkshire
England’s most elegant and important Gothic revival stately home was previosuly owned by Prince Frederick (the Grand Old Duke of York), brother to King George IV. Dr Gerald Arthur Rolph has dedicated some 25 years to restoring this important Grade I listed house including recent major restoration following a fire in 2005 which destroyed one third of the castle.

Blenheim Palace Vistor Centre
July 2012 marked the opening of a new visitor’s centre at Blenheim – the largest development seen at the Palace for over 200 years. Located in the East Courtyard of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, the new centre has been expertly crafted to seamlessly integrate with its historic surroundings.

Bodnant, Furnace Farm
Unused for 40 years, Furnace Farm, based on the edge of the famous Garden at Bodnant, had deteriorated nearly beyond the realms of repair. Sensitively restored by owners Michael and Caroline McLaren, the farm has been respectfully converted into a Welsh food centre, wine shop and restaurant. Welsh materials and workmanship were used wherever possible.

Rise Hall, Yorkshire
After the Second World War, Rise Hall was used as a girl’s convent school, though 50 years on it had begun to creak under the strain of skeleton maintenance. The present owners, Graham Swift and Sarah Beeny, purchased the house 12 years ago, embarking on a restoration project to ensure a sustainable future for the property. One or two rooms have been left in their original state to demonstrate the exhausting lengths the owners have gone to in order to rescue this house.

S H O R T L I S T E D  P R O P E R T I E S

The Hyde, Tenbury Wells
This Grade II* medieval hall dating from around 1300 is one of the earliest hall houses in the country. Although it was extensively remodelled in the 1840s and again in the 20th century, the house began to reveal the secrets hiding behind its Victorian façade during recent restoration work. Saved from near total loss by owners Lord and Lady Clifton, the house has been sensitively restored using traditional techniques and materials, and displays many of the original features.

The Grove, Essex
The Grove, built in 1754, stands in the centre of a park and pleasure gardens designed by Humphry Repton, the last great English landscape designer of the eighteenth century. Its Coach House, designed to match the elegance of its surroundings, was built in 1840. Now transformed into residential accommodation, the Coach House has been into returned into an integral part of The Grove estate once more.

Imagining the Shantytown Dwellings at Fort Mifflin

Posted in museums, the 18th century in the news by Editor on July 4, 2013

I’m sorry I learned of this Philadelphia project only a few days ago (after the close of the festival, which looks to have been positively exhilarating). Still, it seems worth noting, a useful counterweight perhaps to all the magnificence within the period’s historiography. One of the artists, Ben Neiditz, is, incidentally, on staff at the Penn Museum. -CH

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Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber, Ruins at High Battery,
Fort Mifflin, Philadelphia, 2013. Photo by Peter Woodall

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In connection with Philadelphia’s Hidden City Festival (23 May — 30 June 2013), Ben Neiditz and Zach Webber have constructed improvised dwellings that recall Revolutionary War-era shantytowns along the Delaware River at Fort Mifflin, a stunning remnant of the Revolutionary War. Playing with notions of permanence and impermanence, the artists’ settlement recalls the shantytowns that have dotted the Delaware River wetlands since the 18th century–while also imagining the DIY settlements of the future. . .

Read more at the festival website; additional photos can be found at Street Department, Conrad Benner’s blog dedicated to art on the streets of Philadelphia.

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From the Fort Mifflin website:

Lossing, Benson John. "Field Book of the Revolution" (2 Volumes). New York: Harper Brothers. Vol. 2, p. 90

Fort Mifflin, 1777, from Benson John Lossing’s Field Book of the Revolution, 2 volumes (New York: Harper Brothers, 1853), vol. 2, p. 90. Image from Wikimedia Commons

[At Fort Mifflin, in the fall of 1777,] on the frozen, marshy ground within the walls of a stone and wood fort, the American Revolution produced a shining moment. Cold, ill and starving, the young garrison of (now) 400 men at Fort Mifflin refused to give up. The valiant efforts of the men at Fort Mifflin held the mighty British Navy at bay providing Washington and his troops time to arrive safely at Valley Forge where they shaped a strong and confident army. This battle escalated into the greatest bombardment of the American Revolution and one that many say changed the course of American history. . .

2013 Iris Awards

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 31, 2013

From the BGC:

Bard Graduate Center Announces Recipients of the Seventeenth Annual Iris Foundation Awards

Dr. Susan Weber, Founder and Director of the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, has announced the recipients of the Seventeenth Annual Iris Foundation Awards for Outstanding Contributions to the Decorative Arts.

This year’s honorees are Richard Jenrette, Morrison H. Heckscher, Glenn Adamson, and Adrian Sassoon. The awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Colony Club, 564 Park Avenue, on April 17, 2013. (more…)

Sample of Louis XVI’s Blood Authenticated

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on January 9, 2013

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP)

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Embellished gourd, 1792-93, inscription reads: “Maximilien Bourdaloue le 21 janvier de cette année imbiba son mouchoir dans le sang de Louis XVI après sa décollation” (Photo: Davide Pettener)

Two centuries after the French people beheaded Louis XVI and dipped their handkerchiefs in his blood, scientists believe they have authenticated the remains of one such rag kept as a revolutionary souvenir. Researchers have been trying for years to verify a claim imprinted on an ornately decorated calabash that it contains a sample of the blood of the French king guillotined in Paris on January 21, 1793. The dried, hollowed squash is adorned with portraits of revolutionary heroes and the text: “On January 21, Maximilien Bourdaloue dipped his handkerchief in the blood of Louis XVI after his decapitation.” He is then believed to have placed the fabric in the gourd, and had it embellished. The sinister souvenir has been in the private hands of an Italian family for more than a century, said the team of experts from Spain and France which published its findings in the journal Forensic Science International. . . .

The full AFP article is available at ArtDaily here»

Coverage in Le Figaro»

Additional images (from a 2010 story) are available at Wired.com»

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From Forensic Science International:

“Genetic Comparison of the Head of Henri IV and the Presumptive Blood from Louis XVI (Both Kings of France),” Forensic Science International (2 January 2013)

Authors: Philippe Charlier, Iñigo Olalde, Neus Solé, Oscar Ramírez, Jean-Pierre Babelon, Bruno Galland, Francesc Calafell, Carles Lalueza-Fox

Abstract: A mummified head was identified in 2010 as belonging to Henri IV, King of France. A putative blood sample from the King Louis XVI preserved into a pyrographically decorated gourd was analyzed in 2011. Both kings are in a direct male-line descent, separated by seven generations. We have retrieved the hypervariable region 1 of the mitochondrial DNA as well as a partial Y-chromosome profile from Henri IV. Five STR loci match the alleles found in Louis XVI, while another locus shows an allele that is just one mutation step apart. Taking into consideration that the partial Y-chromosome profile is extremely rare in modern human databases, we concluded that both males could be paternally related. The likelihood ratio of the two samples belonging to males separated by seven generations (as opposed to unrelated males) was estimated as 246.3, with a 95% confidence interval between 44.2 and 9729. Historically speaking, this forensic DNA data would confirm the identity of the previous Louis XVI sample, and give another positive argument for the authenticity of the head of Henri IV.

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Update (added 5 April 2013) — In the case of another artifact (as reported by the AFP at Art Daily) . . .

A bloodstained cloth allegedly belonging to Louis XVI, the French king who was beheaded after the 1789 revolution, on Wednesday [3 April 2013] fetched a staggering 19,000 euros ($24,400) at a Paris auction. Kept in a miniature coffin, the cloth was estimated to go under the hammer for between 4,000 and 6,000 euros. . . .

Update (added 10 October 2013) — The saga continues (as reported by the AFP at Art Daily) . . .

Scientists revealed genetic data Wednesday they said disproved the authenticity of macabre relics attributed to two French kings: a rag dipped in Louis XVI’s blood and Henri IV’s mummified head. A DNA analysis of three living relatives of the Bourbon kings found no link with genetic traces from the grisly souvenirs, according to a study in the European Journal of Human Genetics.

“It is not the blood of Louis XVI,” co-author Jean-Jacques Cassiman, a Belgian geneticist, told AFP of the handkerchief allegedly dipped in the blood of the king guillotined by revolutionaries in Paris on January 21, 1793, and kept in an ornately-decorated calabash since then. . .

‘Gloriana’ to Lead the Flotilla for the Diamond Jubilee in London

The Gloriana launched in April 2012; from Leon Watson’s
story for the Mail Online, 19 April 2012; Photo by David Parker

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From The BBC (19 April 2012)

The £1m boat that will the lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant has been launched on the river. The 94ft (28.6m) royal barge Gloriana was escorted through the streets of London on the back of a truck. It had been transported from a unit in Brentford to Isleworth, west London, where it was placed in the Thames. A pageant of more than 1,000 boats involving some 20,000 people will sail down the river on 3 June to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne. . . .

Lord Sterling said: “I became enamoured with the idea of building something timeless and got inspiration from Canaletto’s paintings that showed the great barges of the 18th Century and decided to build one. If we had to give it a style, it would be Regency. Including 18 rowers, it will carry 52 people. No-one’s really built anything like this for 200 years and the way we’ve built it, it will last for 200 years if looked after” . . .

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From the official event website:

Photo from ‘Luxatic’; click image to access the article.

On Sunday 3rd June 2012, over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to take part in the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The formal river procession will be between 2pm and 6pm, starting upriver of Battersea Bridge and finishing downriver of Tower Bridge. The boats will muster between Hammersmith and Battersea and disperse from Tower Bridge to West India Docks.

It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Flags, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will be afloat and there will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.

The flotilla will be bolstered with passenger boats carrying flag-waving members of the public placed centre stage (or rather mid-river) in this floating celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 year reign. The spectacle will be further enhanced with music barges and boats spouting geysers. Moreover, there will be specially constructed elements such as a floating belfry, its chiming bells answered by those from riverbank churches.

The opening ceremony of London’s Olympic Games will be just six weeks away and the public that crowd the riverbanks and bridges will give a rousing reception to the many boats that have travelled from far and wide to represent UK port cities, the Commonwealth countries and other international interests. Downriver of London Bridge, there will be a gun salute and the flotilla will pass through a spectacular Avenue of Sail made by traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant celebrates Her Majesty’s 60 years of service by magnificently bringing the Thames to life; making it joyously full with boats, resounding with clanging bells, tooting horns and sounding whistles; recalling both its royal heritage and its heyday as a working, bustling river.

Quince, Then and Now

Posted in the 18th century in the news by Editor on May 5, 2012

Michael Tortorello, “In Praise of the Misunderstood Quince,” The New York Times (2 May 2012) . . .

Assorted quince varieties from the germplasm collection at the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, Oregon. From top down, Van Deman, Cooke’s Jumbo, Ekmek, and Quince A, a rootstock variety used for grafting pears (Wikimedia Commons)

. . . What most Americans know about quince (Cydonia oblonga) — if they know about quince at all — is that it was once a fixture in Grandma’s garden. O.K., Great-Great-Grandma’s garden. As long ago as 1922, the great New York pomologist U. P. Hedrick rued that “the quince, the ‘golden apple’ of the ancients, once dedicated to deities, and looked upon as the emblem of love and happiness, for centuries the favorite pome, is now neglected and the least esteemed of commonly cultivated tree-fruits.” Almost every Colonial kitchen garden had a quince tree. But there was seldom need for two, said Joseph Postman, the United States Department of Agriculture scientist who curates the quince collection in Corvallis, Ore. Settlers valued quince, above all, as a mother lode of pectin for making preserves. And for that task, a little fruit went a long way.

“If you put the seeds in a cup of water, it becomes almost like Jell-O,” Mr. Postman said. This goo doubled as a pomade. (If you try this at home, please post photos.) Like so many American workers, the quince lost its job to a disruptive technology: powdered gelatin, introduced by Charles Knox in the 1890s. Unemployment has been tough. Today the nation’s entire quince crop covers a paltry 250 acres — about the size of the lawns in Central Park. By contrast, farmers this year will
raise some 350,000 acres of apples and 96 million acres of
corn. . .

The full article is available here»