Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Sailor's Hat Brooch, 1900

Reverse Crystal Intaglio Brooch
England, 1900
The Victoria & Albert Museum

A reverse crystal intaglio of a sailor's hat with the ribbon inscribed: HMS MINOTAUR is the central jewel of this brooch. The intaglio is set on a gold bar brooch. The piece was made in England in 1900. 

Not much is known about the piece. Most likely, it was made to commemorate the naval service of a loved one for whom the brooch was made. 

Drawing of the Day: George Leyton, 1905

Caricature of George Leyton
George Cooke, 1905
The Victoria & Albert Museum

I seem to be making the George Cooke music hall caricatures a regular Saturday feature, so here’s another one. Also from 1905, this illustration by George Cookie depicts the “descriptive and character vocalist” George Leyton who was at the top of the bill at the Grand Theatre of Varieties, Hanley, during the week of February 6, 1905.

Letyon’s act featured a chorus of 20 local boys. Together, they performed “Britannia’s Babes” in naval training uniform while also performing a naval drill. The drawing of pen, ink and wash on pink paper shows Leyton in a large roundel with his head in profile. Below, two smaller figures in full-length, depict a saluting soldier in red jacket and blue trousers and cap (left), and a sailor in a white sailor suit with blue-trimmed cap and collar (right). The drawing was bound with many others in the albums which Cooke complied of his work.

At the Music Hall: All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor

When the man o' war or merchant ship comes sailing into port
The jolly tar with joy, will sing out, Land Ahoy!
With his pockets full of money and a parrot in a cage
He smiles at all the pretty girls upon the landing stage...

All the nice girls love a sailor
All the nice girls love a tar
For there's something about a sailor
(Well you know what sailors are!)
Bright and breezy, free and easy,
He's the ladies' pride and joy!
He falls in love with Kate and Jane, then he's off to sea again,
Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy!

He will spend his money freely, and he's generous to his pals,
While Jack has got a sou, there's half of it for you,
And it's just the same in love and war, he goes through with a smile,
And you can trust a sailor, he's a white man (meaning: honest man) all the while!

All the nice girls love a sailor
All the nice girls love a tar
For there's something about a sailor
(Well you know what sailors are!)
Bright and breezy, free and easy,
He's the ladies' pride and joy!
He falls in love with Kate and Jane, then he's off to sea again,
Ship ahoy! Ship ahoy 

Written and Composed by A.J. Mills and Bennett Scott “All the Nice Girls Love a Sailor" was first performed in 1905 by Hetty King (1883 - 1972 ), a well-known as a male-impersonator. The song was used in the 1909 musical “Ship Ahoy.” 

Enjoy this 2009 rendition by Fiona Harrison.

Print of the Day: The Sailor's Uniform, pre-1886

Illustrated by Alfred Concanen
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Illustrated by Alfred Concanen (1825-1886) and published by G. Heybourn, this color portrait depicts a man in a sailor’s uniform. This is what would be called a “proof between letters” wherein the image is examined and corrected (if need be) before the layer of type is added.

Antique Image of the Day: The Royal Navy of England & the Story of the Sailor Suit, 1900

Pamphlet by Wm. Rowe & Co.
Septimus E. Scott, 1900
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Here, we see a trade pamphlet issued by clothing-maker Wm. Rowe & Co., Ltd, of Gosport, London & Cowes. The 40-page pamphlet features a ribbon binding and a soft cover printed with lettering and gold decoration over an illustration of a sailing vessel on the front. The pamphlet contains a color frontispiece entitled, “Seafaring Men” by Septimus E. Scott, which depicts a boy in a sailor suit seated beside a uniformed sailor. The pamphlet cleverly combines the story of the rise of naval uniform in England with half-tone illustrations (also by Septimus Scott) of the vairous children's garments (mostly with a nautical theme) which were manufactured by Rowe's.

The sailor suit was a popular item of children's dress from the middle of the Nineteenth to the beginning of the Twentieth Century. This style was based on the uniform worn by ratings in the British Navy.

How did the style develop? The first sailor suit for a child is typically thought to be one which was made for Queen Victoria's eldest son, Prince Albert Edward (“Bertie,” later King Edward VII—father of George V) to wear on a Royal visit to Ireland in 1846. T Within a decade, the fashion became a classic of childrens-wear, and was still in use well into the 1920s. The fashion still survives as a choice for young boys participating in wedding parties.

Rowe—the producer of this pamphlet--was one of the leading manufacturers of sailor suits. They also offered correct accessories for children, including a lanyard and a small “Bo'swain's pipe” (whistle), the "regulation Senet Hat", and the sleeve badges of various naval ranks.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 58

Chapter 58: 

To Watch You Tell It 

Let me help you, dear Punch,” Robert said softly as he propped his companion up on several pillows which he’d arranged against the heavily-carved mahogany headboard.

“Sure,” Punch mumbled groggily.

Despite the fact that he’d been up all night keeping watch over Mr. Punch, Robert’s face showed no signs of fatigue. He was smiling for Punch’s sake though a tinge of worry showed in his bright blue eyes.

“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with me,” Punch muttered.

“I’m sure there’s not, my dear.” Robert nodded. “Still, since you’re still not quite yourself this morning, I’d prefer it if you stayed in bed today.”

“Got things to do.” Punch grumbled.

“Such as?”

“Letters to write…” Punch held up a shaking hand and began listing his duties, each by weakly lifting a finger. “Cheques to write…one for the Goldsmith, one for the gem man. Oh…and I got to send the lists for the Goldsmiths Society…”

“I think all of that can wait for a day.” Robert shook his head.

“But, there’s more.” Punch argued absent-mindedly.

“And, it can all wait.”

Punch sighed.

“Tell me, dear Punch, how are you feeling?”

“I’m fine.” Punch snorted.

“Very well, my dear. We can continue in this way and you can continue to feel worse or you can realize that I know you’re not feeling well and tell me the truth so that I can better help you.”

Punch leaned his head backwards against the stack of pillows. “I’m nauseated, I am. And I feel like me limbs is shakin’. My eyes is all blurry and burnin’ and I can’t keep a thought in me head. And, I’m dizzy.”

Robert nodded.

“And weak.”

“Yes.” Punch frowned.

Robert climbed up on the bed and stretched out next to Mr. Punch.

“So…?” Punch smiled. “This is your answer? To lie down next to me?”

“For the time being.” Robert winked. “I’m thinking.”

“Do you do this with all your patients?”

“Only the ones with whom I live and raise a child.”

“Ah.” Mr. Punch yawned.

“Honestly, my dear, I can’t quite deduce what the matter is. I’d say you had contracted influenza, except you don’t have a fever nor are you exhibiting any of the other signs of the illness. I suspect you’re exhausted. The burden you’ve carried lately and the fact that you never sleep appears to have caught up with you. I’m going to give you something to help with your nausea. And, I have some elixirs which will help restore your strength. However, for the time being, I think the best cure for you is to stay in bed and rest.”


“I know you don’t like to do it.” Robert took Punch’s hand. “But, you’re going to have to.”

Punch sighed.

“I’ll stay with you.” Robert smiled. “And, I’ve already asked Miss Barrett to bring Colin in later. I don’t think you’re contagious, so I believe it will be acceptable for the boy to sit with us. Of course, Dog Toby will enjoy this. See…” Robert pointed to the terrier. “He sleeps all day every day.”

“But, I ain’t Dog Toby.” Mr. Punch grumbled.

“No, but he’ll play with you. As will I. And, Colin. Gerard went out this morning—all on his own—to Brompton Road and stopped at Harrods. He selected some very handsome games and he and Charles are reading the guide books for them right now. They’ve asked me if they can spend some time with you this afternoon.”

“Playin’ games?” Punch raised his eyebrows hopefully.


“So, Gerry and Charles want to play?”

“They do.”

“And, you’ll stay?” Punch smiled.

“Try to get me to leave.” Robert grinned.

“Well, maybe it won’t be so bad.”

“It won’t. I promise.” Robert grinned.

Someone knocked on the door. Robert sat up and threw his legs over the side of the bed. Standing, he said, “Come in.”

Gamilla entered the room, carrying a silver tray covered with a cloth. “Good morning, Doctor. Good morning, Your Grace.”

“Hullo, Gamilla,” Punch replied as brightly as he could.

“Mr. Speaight said I could come up and see ya.” Gamilla smiled. “How are you feelin’.”

“Not so bad.” Mr. Punch answered. “Just a little tired, maybe.”

Robert nodded. “His Grace has agreed to stay abed today and get some rest.”

“That’s what Gerard and Charles done tol’ me.” Gamilla replied. “Oh, Your Grace, you should see them games Gerry got for ya this mornin’. One of ‘em is all ‘bout a journey all over the globe and the other is a guessin’ game with all these pretty colored cards. Best I can tell is you look at the pictures and try to guess what the person does for a livin’. There’s even some pictures of Punch & Judy on a couple o’ ‘em.”

“Oh!” Punch nodded in appreciation.

“Gamilla,” Robert interrupted, “would you like to set down your tray?”

“Oh, yes, Sir.” Gamilla smiled. “Thank you. Mrs. Pepper sent this up for His Grace.”

“What is it?” Punch asked, sniffing the air. “Smells salty.”

“Well, Sir, best I can tell is it’s some kind o’ broth. Mrs. Pepper says she used to make it for her children when they was small and would get their stomachs upset. Georgie says that it always made him feel better. Mrs. Pepper sent it and tol’ me to tell ya that she hopes you feel better real soon. We all hope that, Sir. We’re all thinkin’ of ya.” She giggled. “I know I shouldn’t tell ya this cuz they want it to be a surprise, but Georgie and Ethel and Jenny sat by the fire last night workin’ on somethin’ special just for you, Your Grace. They’re makin’ a greetings card. Drew the pictures all on their own—the three of ‘em. It looks right pretty. They’re ever-so proud. Mr. Speaight done said that he’ll put it in an envelope and all. They’re gonna send it up to ya with your tea.”

Robert smiled. “That’s very kind.”

Mr. Punch nodded. “Nice folk we got here. So, Georgie is workin’ out?”

“Oh, yes.” Gamilla nodded, setting the tray on the small table next to Punch’s bed. “We all like him, Sir. He’s very polite and respectable. And, so helpful. And, Mrs. Pepper is so happy to have him here.”

“I’m glad.” Robert responded.

“Now, Sir, I ain’t gonna stay and tire ya out. Only, I think maybe you’d best eat some of this less Mrs. Pepper gets her feelin’s hurt. There’s some dry toast that Jenny made earlier there, too. Bread’s from the baker though. Mrs. Pepper didn’t have time to make fresh today. And, Miss Barrett suggested some of those boiled ginger sweets in the little bowl there. In fact, those are from her own tin of em. Says they’re good for the stomach.”

Punch squinted at the tray which Gamilla had uncovered.

“I’ll see that he takes a few spoonfuls of the broth and a few bites of the toast.” Robert smiled.

Mr. Punch shook his head in a firm, “No,” causing Gamilla to giggle as she left the room.

“If you make me eat that, you’re only gonna see it again in a few minutes.” Mr. Punch warned.

“You’ve got to take something.” Robert answered firmly.

“Or…not.” Punch grinned childishly.


“Fine.” Punch muttered. Only I don’t want none of that broth. Don’t like the way it smells.”

“It is a little fishy.” Robert agreed. “Toast, then?”

“Nah.” Mr. Punch shook his head. “Give me one of them boiled sweeties to suck on. Me throat’s dry.”

“That’ll do—for now. But, you’ll need something more substantial soon.”

“Sure, sure.” Mr. Punch nodded, taking one of the candies from the small bowl which Robert offered him.

“Shall I read to you?” Robert asked.

“Nah…” Mr. Punch sighed.

“What shall we do, then?”

“Come back here and sit by me.” Mr. Punch answered. His eyes suddenly looked sad.

“What’s wrong, dear Punch?”

“Dunno.” Mr. Punch answered emotionally. “Just don’t feel right. Come sit by me.”

Robert did as instructed and looked up to see a tear trickle down Punch’s cheek.

“You’ll feel better soon, I assure you.” Robert said gently.

“I know.” Punch nodded. “But…”


“Maybe we’d best talk ‘bout what might happen if I don’t.”

“Punch.” Robert’s eyes widened.

“It’s somethin’ we need to think ‘bout.” Punch answered.

“No.” Robert said quickly.

“Chum…we got to…”

“No.” Robert repeated firmly.

Punch pressed his lips together and nodded. “Very well.”

They sat in silence for awhile.

“I just can’t think about it.” Robert said softly after a few minutes.

“I un’serstand.” Mr. Punch whispered. “Go on, Chum. Tell me a story.”

“What would you like to hear?” Robert smiled gently.

“Don’t matter.” Punch sniffed. “I ain’t gonna listen. I just want to watch you tell it.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-57? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Chapter 59 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.

Object of the Day: A Postcard of H.M. George V

This is one of my favorite pictures of King George V. He looks young and handsome and bright-eyed. This photo was taken in 1913 before the Great War. This is the last we’ll see of George looking untroubled. The war changed everything, including His Majesty.

The photo graces a postcard which I recently acquired. The card was published by J. Beagles and Co., Ltd. who always boasted that each card was adorned with a “genuine photograph.” They also went as far as to claim on each card that theirs were, “the best in the world.”

The front of the card reads simply: “H.M. King George V.”

This card, unlike most of the others in my collection was actually used. It’s, frankly, a miracle that it’s in such good shape—having been posted. The postmark states that it was mailed in Britain on November 25, 1914. At that time, the First World War was beginning.

So, who used the card? Let’s see.

It was addressed to:

Miss L. Taylor
42 Airedale Avenue

And, it reads:

Dear Sis,
Wishing you many Happy Returns of the Day.
Kind Regards, 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Boucheron Hand Mirror, 1860-65

Hand Mirror
Boucheron, 1860-1865
Enameled Gold, Diamonds, Rubies and Pearls
Presented to Queen Mary and King George V
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Made by Boucheron between 1860 and 1865, this hand mirror glistens with a frame of gold, enamel, pearls, rubies and diamonds.  

The mirror was presented to George V and Queen Mary, while still Prince and Princess of Wales, by the Aga Khan.  Before that, the mirror was exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 where it was purchased  by the Earl of Dudley.

This oval hand mirror features a faceted beveled edge and gold enameled frame set with scalloped flat-cut ruby collets. The outer border is set with a red and green enameled honey suckle pattern with pearls set in rose diamond acanthus cups, with pearls between. The top of the mirror boasts a diamond fleur-de-lys.  A pierced gold, scrollwork handle is set with rubies, diamonds and pearls, and showcases heart-shaped shields of painted enamel and enamel bars.

This mirror was enameled by Armand-Désir Riffault (1832-1872), a jeweler and enameller who worked for Boucheron.  Riffault famously crafted elegant objects for the Paris exhibition of 1867.

According to the curators of the Royal Collection, “This mirror, enameled by Riffault for the 1867 exhibition in the Renaissance style, won praise from the officials and the press and Riffault, together with Boucheron, were awarded a 'Médaille de bronze' for it.”

Mr. Punch's Puzzles: The Riddle of the Week

Once, again, Mr. Punch, with my help, is offering up a true Victorian riddle.  The first person to answer correctly--by posting in the comments--will receive public congratulations.  

So, here's this week's riddle.  We ask that you don't Google the answer.  Mr. Punch would not find that sporting at all.  Give it a shot and see what you can come up with.  Here we go... No cheating...

What is the difference between a hen with one wing and a hen with two wings?

And, the answer is..."A Difference of o-pinion."  Ha!  Chicken anatomy humor!  Isn't is wonderful?  Thanks to all who answered and special mention to Darcy for her superbly clever answer.  Come back next week for another of Mr. Punch's Puzzles. 

Mr. Punch wants you to always know “the way to do it,” so why not check out our “That’s the way to do it!” products which are available only at our online store?

Another Drawing of the Day: The Punch and Judy, 1755-1831

The Punch and Judy Show
John Augustus Atkinson
The British Museum

Drawn by John Augustus Atkinson, this pleasing image is entitled, “The Punch and Judy Show,” and depicts just that. The puppet fit-up is the focus for an audience which includes soldiers, civilians, women and children.  Mr. Punch has already triumphed over Judy, in the scene, and is engaged with Dog Toby--here played by a real dog.

The image has been neatly colored with watercolor. The date is rather sketchy as the piece could have been created anywhere between 1755 and 1831.

Print of the Day: The Coronation of King Punch, 1821

The Coronation of King Punch
Satirical Print, hand-colored
The British Museum

This hand-colored satirical print was featured in a July, 1821 pamphlet. It’s entitled “The Coronation of King Punch!!” and it was made by J. Lewis Marks.

Made for the coronation of King George IV, the image shows the former Prince Regent sitting before a huge bowl of punch which rests on a three-legged stool. King George IV has one famously gouty leg resting on a cushion and he jovially holds up goblet and ladle while an Archbishop places a chamber-pot on his head. Another archbishop pours dark liquid on to George’s face, saying, “With oil and Treacle—I anoint thee,—and King of jolly dogs—appoint thee.”

As we can guess, George IV, Queen Victoria’s uncle, was not well-liked. Considered debauched and, frankly, corrupt, he inspired many unflattering drawings like this when he ascended the throne.

This image has been nicknamed, “The history of the coronation of Punch, and the humours of his wife Judy.” This refers to George IV’s wife, Queen Caroline, from whom the adulterous king was famously separated. They enjoyed a rather Punch & Judy-like relationship. He refused to recognize her as Queen, and, in fact, barred her from his coronation. And, she, was rightfully bitter about it. That day, she fell ill, and died shortly after, declaring all the while that she believed she had been poisoned by her husband’s goons. 

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 57

Chapter 57: 
Hungry is All 

Several days had passed since the Queen intervened in the matter of William Stover’s murder. Those days saw an increasingly good humor develop at No. 65 Belgrave Square, and, soon the usual atmosphere of the household had recovered.

Downstairs, the staff grew jollier with each passing day, setting beside the disturbing memories of the dead man found on the steps and the bloody face of Roger Barrett gazing out from the scullery. The arrival of a large arrangement of white roses from Buckingham Palace thrilled the hearts of the maids and made the men of the house nod with pride, confident that their masters were in the good favor of the Crown.

Another source of increasing joy was the arrival of George Pepper—Mrs. Pepper’s youngest son—who had not only been hired as a page to replace Tom, but who also fitted into the household as if he’d always been there. Quick with a smile and a joke, “Georgie,” as he was called downstairs was immediately embraced by Charles and Gerard who were overjoyed to have another man about with whom they could tease and play. The younger girls—Ethel and Jenny—found Georgie to be full of charm and privately cooed about his handsome face, shiny hair and the muscular arms he had developed working in the hosiery factory. Violet and Gamilla took comfort in the acquisition of another male servant and were pleased to find him helpful and courteous. Speaight, in general, was pleased to have someone else to command. And, finally, Mrs. Pepper was the most overjoyed of all—thrilled to have her boy once again under the same roof and as proud as Punch that he was so well-liked by the household.

Ellen, too, seemed to relax with each passing hour. She had visited her brother in his hired rooms many times and grew increasingly comfortable with the care that Robert’s friend, James, was giving to Roger. Once again, Ellen was focused and cheerful. She played with Colin and Dog Toby, made a point to bring the child to see his fathers and, even, twice took tea with Dr. Halifax and the Duke. Both times, in fact, she had “played Mother,” carefully serving her masters and engaging them in happy nursery talk.

Gerard was on the mend—recovering from his head injury. Still, however, he had no memory of what had happened that strange night when he was “attacked.” Charles kept a careful eye on his friend and Gerard was aware of it. Charles knew that Gerard was still taking the medicine that Dr. Halifax had given him, but he seemed to be doing so in moderation, and that alone was enough to comfort Charles. Gamilla, too, was watchful. She and Charles assumed that since Gerard knew that he was being monitored by the two of them, that he would not over-indulge in the pain-killing elixir.

Charles, too, was healing. He wished to take the splint off of his broken wrist, but Dr. Halifax had forbidden it. Nevertheless, Charles had gotten quite expert at serving with his left hand, and, most triumphantly, even managed to tie the Duke’s cravat with just the one hand.

Robert had taken a few days off from the clinic. Since he knew that Punch was disappointed that they would not be traveling to Grange Molliner any time soon, Dr. Halifax concluded that his companion would be happy to have him at home more often. Truthfully, Robert was happy with the time, even secretly thinking of abandoning his practice to spend more time with his partner and working on their book. In the meantime, Robert delighted in afternoons spent playing with Dog Toby and Colin while Punch worked on his designs, and evenings devoted to reading to Punch by the fire.

Yes, the household was quickly recovering. That is, all except Mr. Punch.

The evening after their visit to the palace, Punch—though still appropriately jolly—seemed ever-so-slightly listless. By the time Punch and Robert had retired for the night, Punch was so tired that he fell asleep before Charles had arrived to undress him. Robert and Charles had to awaken the Duke so that he could change into his night clothes. Robert attributed this to the stressful day they had just endured. Punch had never been one for sleep, after all. And, so, when he did finally crater into exhaustion, he did so with the abandon of an over-excited baby whose energy quickly shut off.

The following morning, however, when Charles arrived with Mr. Punch’s morning cup of tea, he found his master pale and was concerned when he was greeted not with the usual, joyous “Mornin’, Charlie,” that he had grown accustomed to, but rather a groggy, “Is it mornin’ already?”

Charles considered asking Dr. Halifax if he shouldn’t think of examining the Duke, but he immediately knew that Robert, too, had noticed that Punch wasn’t himself. As the day wore on, the Duke seemed to rally. His smile was again bright, but, after tea, he was once again pale with shaking hands.

Many days passed this way. During the day, the Duke/Mr. Punch seemed quite fine. He engaged in play with Robert, Colin and Dog Toby, worked on his drawings and devoted his attention to the correspondence needed for the many organizations of which he remained patron. However, by the late afternoon, the Duke would become quite tired. Though still cheerful, the man’s fatigue was evident, and soon, the doctor was suggesting that Punch retire earlier and earlier each evening.

Almost a week after the visit to the palace, Charles had just rung the dressing gong and was on his way upstairs to dress the Duke for dinner. On his way, he passed Dr. Halifax’s study—the door open to the corridor. The two men exchanged polite nods.

“It’s time, then?” Dr. Halifax asked, standing up.

“Yes, Sir.” Charles smiled. “Gerard is on his way up for you. He just wanted to fetch the collars that Vi just ironed for you.”

“Very good.” Robert nodded. “I’ll follow you into His Grace’s room.”

“Yes, Sir.” Charles answered.

Charles opened the highly-polished door into Punch’s bedchamber. He squinted into the dark room, pausing to exchange glances with Dr. Halifax who quickly frowned.

“Punch?” Robert called out, ignoring the usual pretense of addressing his companion as “Your Grace” in front of the staff.

The Duke/Mr. Punch lay across his bed in the darkened room.

“I’m here, Chum.” Punch mumbled. “Is it dinner?”

“Yes,” Robert mumbled. He looked at Charles. “Help me, Charles, please.”

Charles and Robert walked to the bed and helped the Duke sit up.

“Are you unwell, my dear?” Robert whispered.

“Nah.” Punch shook his head weakly. “Just hungry.”

“You’re shaking, Your Grace.” Charles said.

“Hungry is all.” Punch muttered.

“I’m not surprised. You hardly ate anything at tea.” Robert said gently.

“Wasn’t hungry then.” Punch shrugged. “Here, I gotta get up, then. Don’t I? Charlie, will you get me suit?”

“Yes, Sir.” Charles nodded, rising from the side of the bed where he knelt.

Robert placed his hand over Punch’s forehead.

“What’re you doin’, Chum.” Punch smiled weakly. “Ain’t gonna kiss me—are ya? Charles is here.”

Charles chuckled to himself from the other side of the room.

“No, dear Punch.” Robert grinned. “I’m checking to see if you have a fever.”

“Do I?” Punch asked.

“No.” Robert shook his head. “You feel quite cool to the touch.”

“Well, then, ain’t nothin’ to worry ‘bout.” Punch mumbled.

“I think there is.” Robert sighed.

“Aw…what’re you like, Chum?” Punch shook his head. “Ain’t nothin’. Just a little light-headed, I am.”

“And so you’ve been for several days.” Robert said softly.

Punch shrugged again.

“Charles,” Robert said, standing up. “I don’t think we’ll dress for dinner tonight.”

“We gotta!” Punch yelped. “It’s what we do. We dress up and then we’re given food. Don’t know if we can have one without the other. We gotta dress…”

“Not if we don’t go down.”

“How we gonna have dinner if we don’t go down to the dining room?” Punch muttered.

“We can have it on a tray—in here.” Robert smiled.

“Oh.” Punch nodded.

“Charles, is it too late for Mrs. Pepper to make up some trays for us?” Robert asked.

“Not at all, Sir.” Charles smiled, lighting a lamp on Punch’s writing desk.

“Would you, please, then, go downstairs and ask her?” Robert asked. “Tell Speaight that he can leave the table in the dining room set as it is. We’ll take luncheon in the drawing room tomorrow and since breakfast is in the morning room, there’s no reason not to leave the table set.”

“Mr. Speaight will appreciate that.”

“If Mrs. Pepper complains, just tell her that His Grace isn’t feeling well.”

“She won’t complain, Sir. She’s so happy to have Georgie here, she’s not said a cross word in days. Even so, if His Grace is ill, she’ll naturally want to do whatever is needed to help him.”

“I ain’t ill!” Punch grumbled. “I’m just hungry is all.”

“But, you weren’t hungry earlier, dear Punch.”

“That’s why I’m hungry now, Chum.” Punch grunted.

“I’ll leave you, Sir.” Charles smiled. “Mr. Speaight, Gerard and I will return with your trays in about twenty minutes.”

“Thank you.” Robert nodded as Charles left the room.

Alone with Mr. Punch, Robert sighed. “Now, let’s get you undressed.”

“Charles just left.” Punch mumbled.

“I can do it.” Robert smiled.

“Well, I know that.” Punch frowned. “But, if I ain’t changin’ suits, what’s the use of undressing?”

“I think you should put on your night clothes.”

“For dinner?” Punch squinted. “I don’t think that’s allowed.”

“It’s only going to be Charles, Speaight and Gerard. They’ve seen you in your night clothes before.”

“But, what of after dinner? Ain’t we gonna go see Colin before he goes to sleep? And, won’t we go in the drawing room so you can have your sherry?”

“I can have my sherry here.” Robert said firmly. “And, I think we’d best let Miss Barrett say our good nights to Colin on our behalf.”

“I know what you’re thinkin’.” Punch scowled. “Only I ain’t sick. I’m hungry is all.”

“Dear Punch…” Robert began.

“Ohhhhhhhhh…” Punch moaned. “You’re gonna lecture me, you are.”

“No, I’m not.” Robert smiled. “I’m simply going to ask you for something?”


“I’m worried about you.” Robert said simply.


“And, I’m going to ask you to rest with me tonight. That’s all. Just stay in here and rest. I’ll read to you and we can talk, but I’d like you to stay in bed. Maybe you don’t need to, but it would make me feel more comfortable. So, will you do that for me?”

“Yes.” Punch smiled gently. “For you, I will.”

“Thank you.”

“I really am hungry.” Punch continued.

“I’m happy to know it. Mrs. Pepper, I think, has made pheasant.”

“Oh…” Punch frowned.

“You like that, don’t you?”

“Only when it don’t look so much like a bird still. You know how she’s always dressin’ the poor thing up in its own feathers. I don’t like that. Seems mean to put its feathers on it once it’s dead and cooked up.”

“I mentioned that you felt that way to her once. I don’t think she’s done that this time.”

“Good.” Punch said. He took a deep breath and shook slightly.

“What’s wrong?” Robert asked.

“Felt like I might vomit for a minute there.” Punch coughed. “Guess the thought of the dead birdie in its feathers…”

Robert nodded. “When did you start feeling weak again?”

“After tea.” Punch sighed.

“Well, let’s see if we can’t help you feel better.” Robert replied, sitting next to Mr. Punch.

“Hungry is all.”

“So, you’ve said.”

“You don’t gotta be a doctor all the time.” Punch whispered.

“I’m not.” Robert put his arm around Mr. Punch.

Punch rested his head on Robert’s shoulder. “What are you doin’, then?”

“I’m being your companion.” Robert smiled.

Did you miss Chapters 1-56? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 58 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square.

Drawing of the Day: An Invitation for Bachelor's Lodge, 1820-25

Click Above Image to Enlarge
Invitation to Bachelors Lodge
Edward Hull, 1820-25
The British Museum

Here’s an interesting drawing by the celebrated early Nineteenth Century illustrator and watercolorist Edward Hull. Dating between 1820 and 1825, it’s an invitation to “The Bachelor’s Lodge.” I’ve been doing some hunting and I can’t seem to figure out what exactly “The Bachelor’s Lodge” was, but I’m guessing it was a university gathering place for young men. I don’t suggest doing a search of “bachelor’s lodge” by the way. The results are not helpful.

The design depicts Mr Punch carrying enormous punch-bowl on his head. I think Mr. Punch would enjoy doing that. I don’t think, however, he’d be willing to serve the punch once he carried it. Most likely, he’d dump the whole thing on someone and smash the bowl over their head.

Object of the Day: A Wonderful Theobald and Co. Magic Lantern Slide

This image from the V&A shows the same slide that I acquired for my collection.

Regular readers know of my fascination with a particular set of artifacts at the V&A—a set of glass magic lantern slides made in the late Nineteenth Century by Theobald & Company which depict scenes from the Punch & Judy tradition. I adore these slides! A few months ago, I had an opportunity to purchase a complete set and missed out on it. I’m still kicking myself over it. Recently, my mom and dad gave me one from the set which they found online—along with three other assorted magic lantern slides. The slide that they found is the one featuring Mr. Punch’s meeting with Joey the Clown. It’s really quite adorable. The image above is the same slide from the V&A. I’ve shared this image since it’s nearly impossible to take a good picture of a glass slide without a professional set-up.

So, now I had the slide. But, what to do with it? How could we show it off in the best way? Well, my father devised a plan to build a lightbox into which the slide would fit. A nightlight bulb from within would illuminate the slide. I had no idea how he’s go about this, but he’s much smarter about these things than I, so I trusted him. And, he did an excellent job! He had the idea to make the box in the image of a traditional Punch & Judy fit-up. So, I selected suitable colors and, then, I went about painting it for him. Here’s the finished result. I’m quite pleased with it! It sits on a dusty turquoise base and little gold feet, and Mr. Punch and Joey just glow happily into the night. 

Forgive the blown-out pictures.  When you're trying to take a picture of something that lights up, it's rather difficult.

The text which would have accompanied this slide originally read:

Hullo! here’s my friend the clown. What cheer, Joey, what a mouth you have got to be sure. Don’t open it any wider, or I might fall down and hurt myself. 
Joey: Oh, Mr. Punch, you’re in for it. They say you’ve killed your baby. I saw the beadle coming down the street. 
Punch: Oh dear, oh dear, whatever shall I do. I say, Joey, you go and tell him I’m not at home, say I’m ill, say I’m busy, say anything, but keep him off.

Now…I need the other eleven.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture: Bertie and Patience

"She told me she knew, 'If I Could Turn Back Time.' I'm disappointed, too,"

Image: Queen Katherine and Patience, Charles Robert Leslie, RA (1794-1859), 1842, The Victoria and Albert Museum.

How would you like to see Bertie’s sweet face every day? Well, you can. A visit to our online store will show you all of the fun Bertie Dog merchandise which will bring a little Bertie to each day.

Mastery of Design: Mary of Modena's Diadem, 1685

Mary of Modena's Diadem
Sir John Viner, 1685
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Royal Goldsmith during the reign of Queen Mary II and King William III, Sir Robert Viner, 1st Baronet (1631-88) created this diadem in 1685 of gold, silver, quartz crystal, pearls, velvet and ermine.

The diadem was purchased by Queen Mary of Modena, Consort of James II, King of Great Britain (1658-1718). It is comprised of a gold circlet which comes to a peak at the front. A border of pearls adorns the piece above foliated scrolls of rose-cut quartz crystal clusters and rosettes which are mounted with gold wire. A purple velvet cap and ermine band are fitted into the circlet.

The quartz crystals that we see today were installed as replacements to the diamonds which were originally rented from a supplier for the coronation of 1685. Queen Mary II wore this, her step-mother's diadem, at the procession leading up to her own coronation on April 11, 1689, and it was worn again by Queen Anne in 1702. Some believe that it was also worn by George II's consort, Queen Caroline, in 1727, but this can’t be confirmed. The piece fell into disuse by the reign of King George III, and the quartz has remained ever since. Previously, for important occasions, diamonds were again hired and worn in place of the quartz.

The Home Beautiful: A Delftware Tile from Hampton Court Palace, 1694

Delftware Tile
Lead-glazed Earthenware
Dutch, 1694
Made for the Water Gallery at Hampton Court Palace
The Victoria & Albert Museum

In the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, tin-glazed earthenware tiles like this one were produced in large quantities in the Netherlands. This example, however, is exceptional in both its unusually large size, the quality of its decoration and its subject matter.

This tile was one of a group produced for Mary II (ruled 1688-1694) by Adrianus Kocx's prestigious “Greek A” factory in Delft. Daniel Marot (1661-1752), a Huguenot émigré, painted this as well as the others in the series of panels which were each formed from four tiles. The set was made to flank a fireplace or, possibly, a doorway at The Water Gallery--a Tudor building at Hampton Court near London that had been remodeled by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723).

A contemporary writer Celia Fiennes (1662-1741), who visited The Water Gallery soon after the completion of the remodel in 1694, said Queen Mary II took great delight in the redesigned space. Fiennes continued that The Gallery “opened into a balcony on to the water and was decked with china and fine pictures.” At “The Gallery,” Queen Mary II is said by Fiennes to have, “indulged her passion for delftware, which was presumably in part displayed in the 'Delft-Ware Closett.’” 

Figure of the Day: Queen Mary II , 1695

Model of Queen Mary II
John Nost
Terracotta, 1695
The Victoria & Albert Museum

This statuette of painted terracotta depicts Queen Mary II, consort-of and co-regent with King William III, holding an orb and sceptre and looking towards her left. The Queen wears her crown and bejeweled dress ( and presumably her coronation robes). This figure was a model for a full-size statue which has since been lost, following the fire at the Exchange of 1838.

The 1695 sculpture is the work of John Nost, a native of Malines in The Netherlands, who was first recorded in England around 1678, working at Windsor Castle under Hugh May. Notably, Nost specialized in lead figures, though he also worked in other materials, such as assorted stones and terracotta. A popular artist of the Seventeenth Century, Nost was commissioned to make a numerous lead garden figures for great houses and palaces, including Castle Howard and Hampton Court Palace.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 56

Chapter 56: 
Away for Awhile 

I think it went well,” Mr. Punch smiled as he and Robert entered the front door of No. 65 Belgrave Square. “Her Majesty seemed pleased.”

“She was more than pleased.” Robert nodded. “In fact, I think she was beside herself with joy. My dear, you were very clever. I’ve never seen a more enjoyable puppet show.”

Mr. Punch shrugged. “Just did what came to me.”

“And, with two puppets. And no fit-up! Did you write down your routine beforehand?”

“No.” Punch blushed. “I kinda jus’ let the puppets do what they wanted.”

Robert chuckled. “I’m so proud of you.”

“Me?” Mr. Punch chirped. “What ‘bout you? After you examined Her Majesty, she confessed to me that you were, undoubtedly, the most gentle physician she’s ever known.”

“I assured her that her pregnancy is quite normal. Still…”


“I had to be honest with Her Majesty.” Robert sighed.

“Was there a problem?”

“Not really…” Robert shook his head. “It just seemed to me that the fetus was quite small given the advanced stage of her pregnancy.”

“That don’t sound good.” Mr. Punch squinted

“Dear Punch, there’s no cause for alarm. Some children are small. Considering the size of the Queen and Prince Consort, it’s not unsual that they should have a diminutive child.”

“Oh.” Punch nodded. “Good.” He reached for Robert’s hand and led the man up the stairs. “Let’s go to the drawing room, then. It’s tea time. We earned it.”

“We most assuredly did.” Robert agreed.

“Yes,” Punch continued as they entered the sumptuous drawing room. “I’d call it a success. Her Majesty was pleased, Prince Albert enjoyed talkin’ with me ‘bout gold and teeth and killin’ stags. The Queen is in good health and she spoke with Sir Richard on our account about the…” he paused. “About the incident. I think we’re finally getting’ back to our quiet life.”

“I certainly hope so.” Robert sighed as he rang for Speaight.

“I been thinkin’, Chum.” Punch said brightly as he sat down.

“As have I.” Robert nodded. “I wonder if our thoughts match up.”

“They usually do.” Punch grinned. “We need to make plans, we do.”

“When do you want to have it?” Robert replied.

“Come again?”

“Colin’s christening.” Robert smiled. “That’s what you were thinking, yes?”

“Oh…well, in part.” Punch nodded slowly.

“In part?”

“Yes.” Mr. Punch continued. “I think we ought to put that off ‘til after her Majesty’s child is born.”

“That’s good thinking.” Robert agreed. “But, you said, ‘in part.’ What’s the other part?”

“Well, chum, I been thinkin’ maybe we ought to get away for awhile.”


“Sure, out of London. Not for long—maybe just a fortnight. I sent me designs for the Queen’s birthday jewels to the goldsmith and they won’t be ready for at least a fortnight. Colin’s getting’ bigger each day and is strong ‘nough for travel. I reckon you could find someone from the clinic to look after your patients for a few days.”

“I’m sure I could.” Robert answered.

“Then, while we’re away, we could plan Colin’s christenin’. And, get some rest.”

“Are you proposing that we go to Fallbridge Hall?” Robert asked.

“Well, no.” Mr. Punch shook his head. “The other day, when we was talkin’ to Miss Barrett ‘bout Scotland, I got thinkin’ ‘bout Grange Molliner. I’d love to take you there. After all, it’s your home, too. Lots of land for Dog Toby to explore and places for us to play with Colin. Weather’s getting’ warmer each day, so, it’s the best time to go.”

“It’s a long journey to Aberdeenshire.” Robert raised an eyebrow.

“Sure, but Colin did so well on the ship from America. Poor lad’s gone there and back before he was one year old. Surely a carriage ride to Scotland wouldn’t bother ‘im.”

“I don’t suspect so.”

“’Course, we’d have to take some of the staff. The grange ain’t got a full staff since no one lives there. We’d certainly gotta take Charles and Gerry. Probably Speaight, too. Mrs. Pepper, ‘course. I’d wager we’d need Gamilla. And, we gotta take Miss Barrett. We could leave Vi and Hutchinson here to look after the place. Vi could use Jenny and Ethel.”

“How can we leave Hutchinson here?” Robert asked playfully. “You’re not going to sit atop the carriage are you?”

“No!” Punch snorted. “I thought we’d hire carriages and drivers. One for me and you and Colin and Dog Toby. One for Speaight, Charles and Gerry and one for Mrs. Pepper, Gamilla and Miss Barrett.”

“You have given this quite a lot of thought.” Robert tilted his head to one side.

“I have.” Mr. Punch sighed. “The last week—well, since the whole kerfuffle with Mr. Stover—it’s been a burden. I thought maybe a trip to Scotland might rejuvenate us.”

“Wouldn’t it appear suspicious?” Robert squinted. “While the Queen has assured Sir Richard that there’s no legal issue, there are still rumors flying around London.”

“They’re gonna fly whether we’re here or not.” Punch nodded.

“I suppose so.” Robert frowned. “However, what if her Majesty should…well…what if the child comes earlier than expected?”

“Oh—I hadn’t thought of that.” Punch sniffed.

“She may wish me to be available. Prince Albert hinted that Their Majesties would like for me to attend, but, nothing was concluded.”

“Do babies come early?” Punch squinted.

“Often.” Robert chuckled.

“Didn’t know that.” Punch sighed.

“I do like the idea of taking Colin to Scotland.” Robert said quickly. “I truly do. And, I’d like nothing better than to see your father’s ancestral home and spend some quiet time with you. It’s a wonderful idea.”

“But, you’re correct. We’d best wait.” Punch smiled. “I understand. Furthermore, I ‘spose Miss Barrett wouldn’t be eager to be too far from her brother presently. Sides, we should probably have another man in the house before we go. If we take Speaight, Gerry and Charles, we should at least leave a page here.”

“That’s true.” Robert replied. “We’d best fill the position as soon as possible. I’ll talk with Speaight about it in the evening.”

Just as Robert said this, Speaight entered the drawing room. “My apologies, Sirs, for taking so long.”

“We were just talking about you, Speaight.” Robert smiled.

“Favorably, I hope, Sir.” Speaight smiled.

“Course!” Mr. Punch chirped. “We were just discussing that we need a new page.”

“Oddly enough, Your Grace, that’s why I was tardy.” Speaight grinned.

“Oh?” Mr. Punch smiled.

“Yes, Sir. It seems an excellent candidate for that very position has arrived unexpectedly downstairs.”

“Hmmmm…” Punch narrowed his eyes. “Historically, unannounced visitors to this house don’t work out so well for us.”

“I think this young man will be an exception.”

“Why’s that, Speaight?” Robert asked.

“This young man had impressed me greatly.”

“Does he have references?” Robert inquired.

“One very influential one.” Speaight grinned.

“Who is this?” Punch asked.

“His mother.” Speaight nodded.

“Well, I think it’s safe to say that the majority of mothers would give their sons a favorable recommendation.”

“This one is special.” Mr. Speaight continued.

“What’s his name?” Punch asked.

“George Pepper.” Speaight replied happily

Did you miss Chapters 1-55 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 57.

Gifts of Grandeur: Queen Mary II's Orb, 1689

Queen Mary II's Coronation Orb
Robert Viner, the Younger, 1689
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Since Queen Mary II (1662-94) ruled as a joint sovereign with her consort William III, she required the creation of an additional orb and sceptre for the coronation ceremony of 1689. This is the orb which was made for Mary II. It looks quite grand, but there’s a story behind it.

The stones which were originally set in the orb were hired (as in rented) for the occasion of the coronation. These would originally have included diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. After the ceremony all of the stones were removed, returned to their supplier, and replaced with pastes. Huh…

Since this orb is basically a fancy costume piece now, it has not been used since the 1689 coronation, with one exception. On the occasion of Queen Victoria's funeral this was placed with the other, real, royal orb on Her Majesty’s coffin, to signify her two titles as Queen and Empress.

This orb was created by Robert Viner, the Younger—the Royal goldsmith at the time. It’s not without value. Aside from its historical significance, it is comprised of heavy gold, pearls, silver and rock crystal in addition to the glittering pastes. The orb, in general, was meant to symbolize the Christian world. To this end, it is surmounted with a cross and features bands of “jewels” and pearls dividing it up to represent the three continents known in medieval Europe.

The Orb in its Original Velvet Case
Crown Copyright
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II


Object of the Day: Her Majesty the Queen, a Book for Children, c. 1983

I recently found this attractive little book in an antique shop. To begin with, this book, like many British books printed in the Twentieth Century or before does not have a date of publication with the copyright information. I can deduce that it was printed after 1983 since it contains images of Princess Diana holding an infant Prince William.

This miniature book was printed for children by Ladybird Books, Ltd. Of Loughborough, Leicestershire, England. Small in size with large type, it is clearly intended for readers about age 8-10. The text chronicles the life of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and is filled with many, color images of Her Majesty and the Royal Family. 

The book begins with a touching quotation from Jim Corbett who had accompanied then-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on a trip to Africa in 1952. The princess had embarked on the journey knowing that her father, King George VI, was ill. His Majesty insisted that his eldest daughter, and heir to the throne, continue with the state visit despite his illness. During the journey, the princess and her husband were entertained in a log hut which was built in the uppermost branches of a tree. It was here that Princess Elizabeth learned of the death of her father. Corbett wrote in his journal:

“For the first time in the history of the world, a young girl climbed into a tree one day a Princess…and climbed down from the tree the next day a Queen – God bless her.”

Starting with those words, young readers were taught about the life of the Monarch. Concise text and interesting photos led the reader through the interesting experiences of one of the world’s longest reigning sovereigns. Let’s take a look inside.