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Showing posts from January, 2012

Julia Margaret Cameron: Victorian Pioneer: 1815-1879

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Julia Margaret Cameron by her son Henry Herschel Hay Cameron, 1870
The portrait above is the last photograph taken by Cameron’ s son. It shows his mother aged fifty nine, a well established professional with grown children of her own, an English matron. She is swathed in Indian shawls, a substantial figure who fills the frame. Her hair is graying and uncurled. Her hands are capable and almost rough around the knuckles. Her expression is firm not cold but not warm and yielding either. The portrait emerges from a deep black background, without any details to reveal time or place except for the Indian shawls. This portrait reveals a woman who had stood her ground against the photographic establishment for the past ten years and garnered the celebrities of her age to sit still for her. Cameron had changed, of course, but so had the times.

 ‘Yes, the history of the human face is a book we don’t tire of, if we can get its grand truths, & learn them by heart. The life has so much to do w…

Ode to a Fellow New Yorker: Edith Wharton January 24, 1862 - August 11, 1937

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Edith Wharton at her writing desk in New York City in the 1930s
January is my birthday month that I share with my mother and grandfather. I am a native New Yorker who understands the ‘attitude’ of a New Yorker. Some would say, ‘brash, harsh or unfriendly’. This is not the case at all. You see New Yorkers are city folk who are always in a hurry trying to get to work, out with friends, dates, and back home again. We live in a thriving and overpopulated city where there is beauty and peacefulness it just depends on where you look! So, I strongly identify with female writers who happen to be New Yorkers with attitude or directness in writing. For instance, Dorothy Parker (who was born in my neighborhood) and Edith Wharton of course!
I have read two biographies on Edith Wharton where there are some similarities: she was an only child born to elderly parents who went to church on Sunday and when her family townhouse became too overcrowded with guests, she would escape to her upstairs bedroo…

Happy Birthday Anne Bronte 17 January 1820 – 28 May 1849

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A sketch of Anne Bronte by her sister Charlotte Bronte, 1845


Anne Bronte was born the youngest member of the Bronte family on 17 January 1820 in Yorkshire, England in the village of Thornton, Bradford. Her father was the parish priest there. Though, in April 1820, the Bronte family moved seven miles away to a remote small town of Haworth. It was in the Haworth Parsonage where the Bronte family remained for the rest of their lives. It was Anne, Charlotte and Emily who would later make their parsonage infamous amongst generations throughout the world.

Anne was barely a year old when her mother, Maria Branwell, contracted what is now known as uterine cancer. She died 21 months later on 15 September 1821. When their father Patrick’s marriage attempt was unsuccessful, Maria’s sister, Elizabeth Branwell moved into the parsonage where she spent the rest of her life raising the Bronte children. Anne Bronte was educated at home where she studied mainly music and drawing. However, it would …

Celebrating the Coronation of Elizabeth Tudor on 15 January 1559

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“My lords, the law of nature moves me to sorrow for my sister; the burden that is fallen upon me makes me amazed, and yet, considering I am God's creature, ordained to obey His appointment, I will thereto yield, desiring from the bottom of my heart that I may have assistance of His grace to be the minister of His heavenly will in this office now committed to me. And as I am but one body naturally considered, though by His permission a body politic to govern, so shall I desire you all ... to be assistant to me, that I with my ruling and you with your service may make a good account to Almighty God and leave some comfort to our posterity on earth. I mean to direct all my actions by good advice and counsel” Elizabeth Tudors words upon the accession to the throne, November 1558


January 15th 2012 marks the 453rd year of The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne. To mark this occasion and those leading up to the day; I would like to take you back in time as it was written back i…

Alfred Tennyson, The Lincolnshire Lad

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Portrait of Alfred Tennyson painted by George Frederic Watts

The lone gray fields at night: When from the dry, dark wold the summer airs blow cool
               On the oat-grass, and the sword-grass, and the bulrush in the pool


Alfred Tennyson was born on a summer’s day on the 6th of August in the year 1809. He was born in the home of his father’s rectory in the village of Somersby in Lincolnshire, England. Alfred Tennyson grew up surrounded by uplands, wolds and gray downs of chalk dotted by sheep. In 1898, the population of Somersby totaled forty people and the nearest train station was a good seven miles away. He would remain surrounded by downs for most his life living near the seaside where his soul was peaceful and his muses spoke to him best.

                                           Somersby Rectory the birthplace of Alfred Tennyson

Author, Edgar J. Cuthbert describes the rectory as being quaint and rambling with its medieval looking dini…