Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Browsing at the Library

We did a fun thing this weekend. All four of us went up to the Library for an afternoon of old-fashioned "browsing". This was quite enjoyable, as Mom and Elizabeth have been researching Morrow and Knox County history (some certain pioneer families in particular). They spent a while in the genealogy room, as this library is known having a lot of books about all of the central Ohio area. Since Mom's family originates in Cleveland, we've never studied the Central part of the State much. It's been quite interesting, and some of the stories are pretty amazing. It was rather like the "Wild West" here in the 1840s!

While they were thus employed, I spent some time reading through the Dictionary of National Biography (the British Edition) --- looking for various Clapham Sect people and politicians of the era. Unfortunately, they were missing the volume that would have had the bio on William Pitt. Boo hoo. I also browsed through some books on the artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds. He painted a lot of the Eliots of Port Eliot in Cornwall. What was fun is the fact that one of the books had a portrait that I have not been able to find anywhere online. This is Elizabeth Eliot, daughter of Richard Eliot and Harriot Craggs. Not much is known about the portrait, except that it was painted by Reynolds. She is presumed to be seven or eight years. The painting is now in the collection of Eastnor Castle.

One more thing that mad me happy: another picture of Edward James Eliot. This is an oil sketch by Karl Anton Hickel. Presumably painted in preparation for his famous The House of Commons 1793-94 painting. The UK National Portrait Gallery has record of this painting being sold in Paris in 1998, and I was able to find record of about three more auctions in the early 2000s. However, the current whereabouts of this painting are unknown. I was thrilled to get a photocopy of it, though! Too bad that a gallery doesn't own it.

Well, we've had funky weather this past week. Everything from 15'F with ice and snow to today with a high of 56'F and sun. Wacky January. More later.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Happenings and Nothings

We woke up this morning and there was actually snow on the ground! This is seeming like a forgotten pleasure of days gone by this year. Elizabeth is in a bit of a depression over it --- according to her, 'it's just not like Winter!' She was quite cheered up this morning, so she donned her boots and hat and traipsed out to fill her bird feeders and suet holders. These are some pictures of her feeling very happy --- a happy Winter girlie.

Poor Iveta. One of our little kitties. She hurt her leg last Tuesday, and has been having trouble with it since. She couldn't walk for almost a week, so we had to carry her everywhere (which is no small thing, considering that she weighs about 25lbs.) and keep her calm. She's started feeling better in the last few days, but that means that now she wants to limp around all over the place. She's very bored with her sedentary life, so it's hard to keep her from over-doing it. Of course, she still goes in for those long cat-naps, and she particularly likes sleeping on her back --- as is evidenced by this photo. :)

We had Buddy and Kay over for lunch the other day. We made a fondue, but it didn't turn out that well, so they'll have to come back to try it again. We all watched Winchester '73 together. That's a fabulous western film starring Jimmy Stewart and Dan Duryea.

Dad's spent the day at Cabela's with his fishing buddies, and I hear him coming in the door now, so I better get going. More later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Anne Bonfoy (nee Eliot) and Royal Doulton

Mom discovered something kind of cool yesterday --- something that I thought was cool, anyway. I've been doing some research on the Eliot Family from Port Eliot in Cornwall, and I've been reading about a pretty interesting family. There were nine children. Some died young, some had titles and two sons were in the Royal Navy. The youngest son actually came to Pensacola as a Governor of Florida in 1769! He actually died here and was buried right outside the wall of "Fort Pensacola". Unfortunately, the British hadn't counted on the fact that the grave (and the Fort!) was built on the beach, so it was only a matter of time before all were washed right out into the Ocean. Big mistake.

Well, I'd been able to read about eight of the nine siblings, but no one seemed to have put anything down about the oldest daughter. This kind of surprised me, as she married a Captain in the Royal Navy who was actually the Governor of Newfoundland in the mid-1750s. She was painted twice by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and one of the portraits was so famous that it was actually mass-produced as a decorative print without her name on it. It was just sold as a print of a beautiful woman. She had one daughter who actually married an Earl and became Lady of the Bedchamber to the Princesses.

So, why was it that I couldn't find even a reliable source for a death date? Some sources said that she died in 1810, but there was always a question mark with that. It doesn't help that her name is "Anne Eliot". Sounds nice, but it's actually the name of the heroine in Jane Austen's Persuasion, so looking her up online is a bit tough. Her married name was "Bonfoy", though, which should have been a little easier --- it didn't help much.

Finally, I find an engraving of her listed in the UK National Portrait Gallery. On this piece is a hand-written note saying that she died in 1816 --- and this was written a long time ago, so I'm thinking that would be more reliable than a PDF made last year. Sure enough, there is one little tiny mention of her death in an 1816 magazine on Google Books. Knowing this, I was then able to find her will in the probate lists of the UK Archives. So, a bit of the mystery is cleared up --- but it's still more cloudy than I would have expected for someone so "high up" in the social circles.

To get to the interesting find that Mom came up with . . .
In 1991, Royal Doulton made a series of figures called "Reynolds Ladies", and Mrs. Hugh Bonfoy was the first figurine! I thought that was pretty cool. I mean, what are the chances of researching somebody like this and actually finding a statuette of her?! These are pictures of the figurine, the original Reynolds portrait and an engraved portrait of her in the fashion of Reynolds. More later.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Doing those everyday, ordinary things.

We've had two days of active "snowing", and now we're having a day of sunshine. Can't beat this for winter weather! Elizabeth took some pictures of the snow yesterday when she was filling the bird feeders. Since it was snowing so much, they barely cleared the roads, so I thought this picture was beautiful.

Also, here is a picture of Elizabeth and me! We haven't taken a picture since our birthday last June, I think. Our hair's getting really long these days, probably the longest it's been since we were about ten years old. (That's E. on the left and me on the right.)

We're hoping to have a kind of stay-at-home week. Buddy and Kay are coming over for lunch one day, so we're going to make a fondue --- they're bringing an ice-cream cake! Just the perfect thing for this kind of weather. Mom and I are going to work on listing stuff on eBay. We've been getting some auctions up and still have a bunch to go. I want to open an Etsy store for a couple of the wool dolls, but we have to figure out how they would be packaged. I'm hoping to raise enough money for a set of books for my stamp collection. We'll see how that goes.

I've got some website stuff to work on, but not much motivation to do it. I've been enjoying reading a bunch of books from the library --- all of them on different people in the Clapham Sect and British Anti-Slavery movement. Elizabeth and I are really trying to get to work on our novel. I need to spend some time doing the actual writing of a few scenes to get the project going. Not much more going on right now that's worth reporting. More later.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Is this an actual photo of William Wilberforce?

It's Friday the 13th! Last night we finally got our first real snow. And you know how it is in Ohio --- nothing by halves. It started snowing last night and hasn't stopped all day today. It's also very cold (had trouble making it above twenty) and windy. Elizabeth had to fill the bird feeders three times today!

Well, supposedly this stops by tomorrow late, and it's supposed to hit forty again early next week. We'll see how that goes. Tomorrow is the day that all the Christmas decorations come down, so we're figuring on a busy day. Dad's here to help, though, so it won't be bad. We're listing some things on eBay, so that's what I was up to this afternoon.

Got a bit of a puzzle, so I'll post it here and see if someone comes up with an answer. This is a picture that has been marked "William Wilberforce" in at least one book and several websites. Now, my question is: is this actually Wilberforce? If it is, then how do they know that and where did it come from? None of my searches have found any credits for the photo (apart from "Anti Slavery International", whom I have e-mailed) and no explanation. If this is Wilberforce, then why are people still wasting their book covers etc. with unfinished portraits and paintings? If this is a real photo, I would expect it to be more famous --- hence my reluctance to believe in its sincerity. If anyone knows the answer to this, I would certainly appreciate a response (via a Blogger comment). More later.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why do Libraries, Museums and Archives Charge for Info?

After the last years of freezing weather for January and February --- this one is proving the exception to the rule. We're having weather in the thirties this week, but no wind, so we feel really warm. I only had to set one fire this afternoon. Also, we have been realizing that, apart from that two inches last week, we haven't had any real snow! Nothing that really kept us in the house, or made things nippy, or ice-covered trees --- not anything. Kind of funny.

Not much is happening. We're still working on the settlement over this car crash, and that seems kind of never-ending. I'll be happy when we don't have to think about it every day.

Like I said last time, I've been trying to research E. J. Eliot. This means that I've searched through some online catalogues of various British Archive Libraries. What's really bugging me (and it's really bugging me!) is that every one that I've gotten a reply from won't send a transcription or a scan. They send me pages of forms to print out, fill out and mail in --- accompanied by their so-called "nominal fee" of ten to twenty pounds. I mean, how can it cost twelve or eighteen pounds to scan a one page, two-sided letter? Everybody wants money for everything, and you have to promise not to do anything with the scans that they send. Don't share them with anyone but yourself. Don't send them anywhere. Don't post it. Yikes! These are all coming from Archive Libraries where the articles were, almost always, donated for further generations to study. Hard to study things when they charge you through the nose.

Well, that's a bit of a negative post, but I figured it might help to do a little venting. More later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The First Post in a New Year

Wow! What happened?! A week of the New Year has gone by, and I haven't blogged yet! Whoa.

Let's see . . . what's been happening around here lately? We've been having pretty nice weather --- amazing, actually for January. Last week (and early this one) were pretty cold, and we basically had to keep a fire going on high. But, the last half of this week has been lovely. We've actually had weather in the 40'Fs, with one day hitting up at 50'F!

On New Year's weekend, we had our annual Lord of the Rings marathon. Watching all three movies back-to-back. Everybody was pretty tired this year, so that worked out, as we all enjoyed a day of sitting around. Maybe we should do this twice a year.

I've been spending most of my "free" time researching the Clapham Sect. I've been able to order a bunch of books from the library, so I've been reading and reading and reading. Particularly, I've been looking into Edward James Eliot who was a key member of the Sect and the Anti-Slave Trade movement. Sadly, he died ten years before the bill was passed, so he never saw the fruits of their work. History has rather passed him by, so I've been enjoying finding some stuff about a forgotten hero. This is a painting of him (c. 1778) that was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Yesterday morning, since the sun was shining and it was warmer than usual, we went out to a cemetery to take a few pictures to post on FindaGrave. An online "genealogy buddy" of Mom's has a ggggrandfather buried there, and he really wanted a photo of the man's grave. Thankfully, we were able to find it!

Well, it's kind of late, and very dark, so I'll quit for now. More later.