Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mastery of Design: Queen Mary's Castellani Pendant, 1860

Castellani, c. 1860
Acquired by Queen Mary
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

We’ve looked at a variety of jewels made in the archaeological style by the Italian firm of Augusto Castellani. While most of the examples we’ve seen are from the Victoria & Albert Museum, this one comes to us from the Royal Collection. It is believed that the jewel was purchased by Queen Mary, Consort of King George V. 

The pendant of gold, enamel, Burmese ruby, cabochon rubies, Colombian emerald and an Indian emerald drop was made in 1860. The center of the pendant is set with a Burmese ruby surrounded by four lobes and palmettes with dots. Acanthus leaves in deep green edge the piece which is finished with a Gothic leaf finial. Blue enamel grotesque masks adorn the piece which also boasts a Columbian emerald in a setting of black enamel. An additional pendant set with cabochon rubies and Indian emerald drop hands from the main jewel.

The reverse of the pendant is lovely gold with an oval recess surrounded by engraved acanthus leaves. It is marked by a double ‘C’ monogram—the mark of Castellani. At one point, the central recess on the reverse was likely glazed to accept a lock of hair or a miniature.

Antique Image of the Day: Princess Alice of Albany, 1884

Princess Alice of Albany
Byrne & Co., 1884
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The eldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Albany, Princess Alice married Prince Alexander of Teck (brother of Mary of Teck, Queen Mary, the wife of King George V) in 1904. Prince Alexander would become Earl of Althone thereby making his wife Princess Alice, Countess of Althone—a title which she maintained until her death in 1981.

Here, we see Princess Alice as a young girl of three in this photograph taken in December of 1884 by Byrne & Co. of Hill Street, Richmond. The photograph was presented as a gift to Queen Victoria who had a special fondness for the girl. The little princess poses wearing a coat, and holding a doll in her right hand.

Until her death, she was the only remaining grandchild of Queen Victoria, having lived through six reigns: Victoria (her grandmother), Edward VII (her uncle), George V (her cousin and brother-in-law), Edward VIII (her nephew), George VI (her nephew) and Elizabeth II (her grand-niece).

Saturday Silliness: Popeye in "Fright to the Finish"

In honor of this week's Halloween festivities, I'd like to offer this Popeye short.

At the Music Hall: They Didn't Believe Me, 1914

Got the cutest little way,
Like to watch you all the day.
And it certainly seems fine,
Just to think that you'll be mine.
When I see your pretty smile,
Makes the living worth the while.
So I've got to run around,
Telling people what I've found.


And when I told them how beautiful you are,
They didn't believe me. They didn't believe me!
Your lips, your eyes, your cheeks, your hair,
Are in a class beyond compare,
You're the loviest girl that one could see!
And when I tell them,
And I cert'nly am goin' to tell them,
That I'm the man whose wife one day you'll be.
They'll never believe me. They'll never believe me.
That from this great big world you've chosen me!

Don't know how it happened quite,
May have been the summer night.
May have been, well, who can say.
Things just happen any way,
All I know is I said "yes!"
Hesitating more or less,
And you kissed me where I stood,
Just like any fellow would.


And when I told them how wonderful you are,
They didn't believe me. They didn't believe me!
Your lips, your eyes, your curly hair,
Are in a class beyond compare,
You're the lovliest thing that one could see!
And when I tell them,
And I cert'nly am goin' to tell them,
That I'm the girl whose boy one day you'll be.
They'll never believe me. They'll never believe me.
That from this great big world you've chosen me!

"They Didn't Believe Me" featured music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Herbert Reynolds. The popular song debuted in 1914 with the musical “The Girl from Utah” at the Knickerbocker Theatre. The American version of the show, based on a British original, added five songs by Kern and Reynolds. The musical was a hit and marked Kern’s first great success.

The song is unique in that it was one of the first to eschew the usual florid language of love songs in favor of modern musical ideals. Still sentimental, however, the song was a fitting favorite during the First World War and remains a popular standard to this day.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 181

Chapter 181

You don’t think I’m terrible awful.” Gamilla asked Charles cautiously after she explained what she’d been doing to Finlay.

“I think you’re brilliant, Gamilla.” Charles smiled, patting Gamilla’s arm reassuringly.

“I ain’t proud of it, mind you.” Gamilla replied softly.

“I think you should be.” Charles responded. “You’ve shown a remarkable cleverness.”

“Don’t know how clever I am.” Gamilla shrugged. “I jus’ couldn’t let the man go on thinkin’ he was…ummmm…”


“That’s it.” Gamilla nodded. “The way he swaggered ‘round, thinkin’ he was so smart and doin’ all them horrible things.” She shook her head. “He oughta pay. He oughta pay for the rest of his life. Ain’t no justice in killin’ a bad man. Death ain’t no punishment. Makin’ him live out his days, rememberin’ the pain he done caused—that, to me, is justice.”

“I agree wholeheartedly.” Charles said. “Now, how can I help?”

“Well, seems to me what the man is lackin’ is that voice inside him that tells him what’s right and wrong.”

“His conscience.” Charles nodded.

“Right.” Gamilla said. “I done already made him feel in his bones what he done and I got him to thinkin’ ‘bout the hurt he done caused, but, I was thinkin’ that maybe if he heard a voice—a masculine voice what could tell him what he done was wrong…”

“I can be that voice.”

“I was hopin’ you’d say that.”

“And, he can’t see?”

“Not too well.” Gamilla shook her head. “He’s got flour caked in his eyes and the room is awful dark. He thinks he’s goin’ blind through my magic.”

“So, I could slip in behind you and he’d not be aware of it?”

“That’s what I’m thinkin’.” Gamilla replied.

“Shall we, then?” Charles smiled.

“But, do ya know what to say?”

“Oh, most certainly. I’ve been thinking about all I’d tell Finlay if I had a chance. Now, I can. I just have to do it as if I’m speaking his own thoughts.”

“Your voice is different—I mean, the way you talk.”

“I can affect a Scotch dialect for the occasion. I’m a good mimic.”

“Good.” Gamilla nodded. She took the key from her apron.

Charles slipped into the room behind Gamilla and hid himself in the shadows behind the many shelves which held the silver, plate and other monumental serving pieces in the vault.

“Who’s there?” Finlay whimpered.

“It’s I…Gamilla.”

“Please, help me. I feel sick.”

“Do ya, then?” Gamilla asked.

“What have you done to me? My ear is on fire. My eyes…” He moaned.

“You done had your chance, Finlay Donnan. You coulda avoided all this.” Gamilla clucked her tongue.

“My heart is pounding in my chest. I feel sick.”

“I can’t help ya now.” Gamilla shook her head. “That’s the answers to them questions beatin’ on your insides. Tryin’ to get out.”

“I’ll let them out.” Finlay barked. “I will.”

“Can you hear the answers?” Gamilla asked.

Suddenly, Charles spoke in a low, rattling voice—seasoned with a Scottish brogue. “I’m an evil man. I’m a wicked man.”

“I can hear them!” Finlay wailed. “Oh, my heart! Please help me!”

“I am a murderer…” Charles continued.

“Please make the voice stop!” Finlay howled.

“I can’t. Only you can soothe yourself, Finlay.” Gamilla snapped.

“My heart! Please!” Suddenly, Finlay began to cough and sputter. His bound body thrashed on the floor of the vault. He gurgled and spit. “Please!”

Gamilla felt the sweat rise under her arms.

As quickly as it started, Finlay’s thrashing stopped. He lay on the floor—still.

Gamilla and Charles stood silently in their respective places, wondering what to do next. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, Gamilla stepped forward. She knelt down and put her hand on Finlay’s chest.

With wide eyes, Gamilla gasped. “He’s dead.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-180? If so, you can read them here. Come back on Monday for Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 182.

Painting of the Day: Prince Arthur, 1852

Prince Arthur
Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1852
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Franz Xaver Winterhalter (1805-1873) was a favorite of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria who often commissioned the artist to produce family scenes which included the Royal children and pets—specialties of the painter.

The German-born Winterhalter had been brought to Queen Victoria’s attention by the Queen of the Belgians in 1842. He worked for the Royal Court until his death.

This handsome portrait by Winterhalter was completed in 1852. It depicts Prince Arthur (1850–1942), the third son and seventh of the nine children of Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort. Prince Arthur depicted seated, holding a soldier doll. A copy of the portrait was made by Winterhalter by command of Queen Victoria who presented it to Prince Arthur’s godfather, the Duke of Wellington on the occasion of the Prince’s birthday.

We should remember that in the mid-Nineteenth Century, little boys were still being attired in what is essentially a dress.

Object of the Day: Another Spooky McLaughlin's Paper Doll

The McLaughlin’s Coffee people wanted to capture the attention of their Nineteenth Century clientele and, so, they produced a series of paper dolls with detachable heads and swap-able bodies. We’ve looked at some from my collection before. 

After a century, many of them have donned a patina which gives them a rather spooky look which I find particularly charming. This one is, in my estimation, the spookiest of the lot.

On the reverse, she says the same thing that her scary sister's say:


.4 Baby Dolls.
..4 Girl Dolls.. 
...4 Boy Dolls... 
..4 Mamma Dolls.. 


One Doll in Every Package of 


Friday, November 2, 2012

Mastery of Design: A Cartier Dress Clip, 1954

Necklace, Clip and Earrings of Diamonds, Rubies and Platinum
Cartier, 1954
This and all related images from
The British Museum

Made around 1954, this parure consists of a earrings and a necklace which boasts a detachable clip brooch as the dramatic central element. The group is made of fine Burmese rubies and diamonds set in platinum. They’re the work of Cartier’s London location. The parure is still fitted into its original red leather case. The Cartier name is emblazoned in gold on the lid.

Painting of the Day: A Puppet Showman, Seventeenth Century

A Puppet Showman
Jean Berain
The British Museum

This work of watercolor is one of a series of eight which depicted Commedia dell’Arte characters.  Attributed to Jean Berain (after a century of being attributed to Marcellus Laroon II), the series dates between 1640-1711.  It’s likely that these drawings were made as studies for larger-scale paintings.  We do know that the series was used as inspiration for a set of engravings which were published in the Eighteenth Century.  

The image above depicts a puppet showman posed on a platform.  He holds a wand or flute to which he points and is costumed in a wide-brimmed hat, a doublet, petticoat breeches and a pink cloak.  Curiously, he wears a necklace of teeth around his neck.  We see behind him, his fit-up and two puppets.  They are, of course, Mr. Punch and his wife, Judy.
The British Museum acquired the series in 1852.

Friday Fun: Punch and the Blind Man

In this continued series based on the 1827 drawings by George Cruikshank which recorded Piccini’s Punch, we see this scene of Punch and the Blind Man. The video comes to us from Australia’s Chris van der Craats.  

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...

 I am as useful to the nation,
As some who move in higher station;
And fraught with virtues deem'd inherent,
May well be call'd the king's vicegerent, [sic]
As I his subjects render stronger,
And die that they may live the longer.

And, the answer is...


Now, there's something most of us think about every day.  Kudos to Dashwood for saying "Cow" which is a similar kind of creature, at least.  And, Gene, Angelo, Darcy, Matt and Carolyn had great answers, too.  Well, actually--you all had some fun and clever answers.  Thanks for playing!  Come back next Friday 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.  

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 180

Chapter 180 
A Part in That 

Pulling the hood of the cloak over her eyes, Gamilla, once again, unlocked the door to the silver vault.

The low, cold room was as dark as pitch, a blackness cut only by the sporadic flashes of lightening which cut through the thin lancet window.

“Who’s there?” Finlay whimpered.

Gamilla stood with her back to the window and breathed shallowly. She did not speak, but, instead simply held the crystal carafe in front of her body.

Lightning burst into the vault and, in that momentary flash, through his bleary, stinging eyes, Finlay could see the silhouette of the woman and the brilliant color of the claret—sparkling red in the crystal.

Finlay released a shaky, low moan.

“Please, don’t hurt me!” He pleaded.

Using the darkness to her advantage, Gamilla stepped forward slowly, letting the draping fabric of the cloak play ethereally around her ankles. Removing the stopper from the bottle, she poured the sticky wine over Finlay’s bound hands.

He yelped pitifully, recalling Gamilla’s warning about the feel of the blood of those he’d wronged on his hands.

Before lightning could flood the room again, Gamilla slipped out, locking the door behind her. Even through the thick door, she could hear Finlay’s moans.

Rushing into Mrs. North’s pantry, Gamilla returned the claret to its spot and removed Mrs. North’s cloak.

“Thank you, Mrs. North.” Gamilla whispered as she replaced the cloak on its hook.

Gamilla then shut her eyes again, hoping that she would see Mrs. North’s reassuring countenance behind her eyelids again. But, no, the face did not return.

Suddenly, Gamilla could hear footsteps and masculine voices in the distance.

It was the Duke, the doctor and Charles—she knew immediately.

Gamilla didn’t care to be caught in Mrs. North’s pantry. She had nothing to hide as she knew that the masters would not disapprove of what she’d just done. However, she wanted to keep the masters free of the sin she’d just begun—that crime of deception. That had been her decision. There was no reason to bring such things upon them.

Holding her breath, Gamilla continued to listen.

The three men spoke in hushed, urgent tones. The Duke was clearly upset about something. Gamilla could tell that his worry concerned the new woman—Lennie. The doctor’s comforting voice was low, but Gamilla could not make out what he was saying. She hoped they would simply return to the Duke’s chamber.

After a few moments, the talking had subsided. Gamilla thought she’d heard their footsteps, retreating toward the service stairs.

Waiting a few more seconds—though it seemed like an eternity—Gamilla began to breathe normally again. She walked to the pantry door and opened it.

It’s difficult to say who was more surprised—Gamilla or Charles—as they stood face to face.

Charles, after the look of shock melted from his face, smiled broadly.

“What are you up to, Gamilla?”

Gamilla bit her lip. “Justice,” she said finally.

“I’d like a part in that,” Charles winked.

Did you miss Chapters 1-179 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Chapter 181. 

Drawing of the Day: The Russell Square Puppet Show, 1827

Click on image to enlarge
View of Russell Square with a Puppet Show
Thomas Hosmer Shepherd, 1827
The British Museum

This drawing of pen and brown wash on paper dates to 1827 and is the work of Thomas Hosmer Shepherd. The scene gives us a view of Russell Square with the statue of the Duke of Bedford prominent on the left. 

In the square, a crowd has gathered to watch a puppet show. The bottler draws attention to the show by beating a large drum. His efforts clearly work because we see that a mother will two children are about to join the crowd.

This drawing was once part of the collection of Francis Russell, 5th Duke of Bedford. It gives us a rare topographical representation of a part of London which has changed considerably over time.

Object of the Day: Ariosa Coffee

Click on image to meet your chemist.

Well, let’s see what we have here. It’s a simple enough scene. Just a glimpse into a Victorian chemist’s shop. Our friendly local apothecary is receiving an elderly customer. She’s quite unhappy about something. What’s she saying? Let’s find out.

An advertisement for “Baldspots Porous Plaster” hangs prominently on the shelves. Perhaps this woman has purchased some of this. Yes, yes she has. Is she happy? No.

The image is captioned:


     ENRAGED PATRON—“Take back this
porous plaster. You don’t suppose that
I’m going to pay you twenty-five cents
for a plaster that is all full of moth

Poor woman. It seems she’s misunderstood what a porous plaster is. I’m sure pharmacists around the world must deal with this sort of silly customer complaint every day—still. How has our friendly neighborhood chemist decided to deal with this enraged patron?

He’s reaching for a large can of morphine. With a sly look on his face, we can see that he clearly intends to poison her with opiates.

That seems reasonable.

This scene of puppet-headed people comes to us, we learn, from “’Judge,’ By Permission.”

So, what does this trade card advertise? Porous Plasters? Umbrellas? Morphine?

None of the above.


Yes, that’s right. It’s another ad for Ariosa Coffee.

On the reverse, we see the center of manufacture for Arbuckles’ Stores—the producers of Ariosa Coffee.

This is, it appears, the eighty-seventh card of a series.

We are informed that:


I wonder what that has to do with morphine-prescribing chemists.  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Gratuitous Bertie Dog Picture: Bertie's Song of Praise

"Now, what exactly are we doing?"

Image:  Miriam’s Song of Praise, Wilhelm Hensel (1794-1861), 1836, Presented to Queen Victoria in 1843, Crown Copyright, The Royal Collection.

You, too, could have a cup of tea with Bertie. Or, you could wear his picture proudly. Visit our online store to see our range of Gratuitous Bertie Dog products.

Mastery of Design: A Gold, Ruffled Cuff Bracelet, 1860

Cuff Bracelet
Gold, Turquoise, Pearls
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Queen Victoria made no secret of her love of jewelry and she was known to both write and speak at length on the subject of jewels and, especially, those which she had just purchased or been given. This was, later in her life, a common interest that Victoria would share with her cousin/granddaughter-in-law, “Princess May” of Teck (later Queen Mary) who shared a similar passion for sparkly things.
In a letter written in 1861 to her daughter, Princess Frederick William of Prussia, Queen Victoria described the gifts her husband, Prince Albert, (the Princess’ father) had given to her for their wedding anniversary. Among them, she wrote was, “a beautiful bracelet which he got at Coburg- from Gotha- a large elastic gold bracelet like a cuff - and so pretty.” This was to be the last anniversary that the Queen and Prince Consort would share. Albert would die later that same year.

Such bracelets were quite the fashion in the 1860’s. Known as “Manchette,” they had become popular in France in the 1850’s and the English capitalized on the trend. They were to be worn slightly under the sleeve of a gown and mimicked the look of a cloth cuff. Often, they were adorned with gemstones and pearls.

While this is not the exact bracelet given to the Queen (that one was either bequeathed to one of Victoria’s daughter or granddaughters or is tucked away somewhere in a drawer in the Royal Collection), it’s pretty close. We see the gold has been chased to look like a textile and pleated accordingly. Turquoise and pearl—a popular combination in early Victorian jewelry—forms a buttonhole and button.

Figures of the Day: A Set of Four Chinese Figures, 17th C.

Set of Four Figures
China, c. Seventeenth C.
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Made in South China, during or before the Seventeenth Century, this set of four figures is crafted of white porcelain, partly glazed in blue.

The set was purchased by John Crace for the Prince Regent in 1803. The figures were among a group purchased for the future King George IV which included “Six Blue China Figures-- £1.10.0.”

Similar groups of Chinese figures from the same period have surfaced in other museums. Overall, it is believed that these types of figurines were given to powerful men as a wish token meant to encourage the birth of a male heir.

Drawing of the Day: Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, 1828

Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire
After Thomas Lawrence
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection This and all related images courtesy of
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

This drawing is a copy of a painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830). 

The portrait depicts Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire, dressed in late 1820s fashion with a plumed bonnet, ruffled collar and matching cuffs, and elaborate jewelry. 

Little else is known about the painting or how it happened to come into the Royal Collection.

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 179

Chapter 179
To Keep 

I can’t, Sir.” Lennie shook her head.

“Why not?” Mr. Punch grumbled.

“If Orpha discovers that I’m staying in the main house, she’ll realize that I’m in allegiance with you and Dr. Halifax.”

“Lennie has a good point,” Robert sighed.

“But…” Punch frowned. “You’re kin. I can’t have ya sleepin’ out in the cold.”

“I appreciate that very much, Mr. Punch.” Lennie smiled. “I truly do. That you worry about my well being is very touching.”

“Well, o’ course I do. You’re part of the family.”

“His Grace is very quick to protect his own.” Robert nodded

“I see that.” Lennie nodded.

“If folk’ll let me.” Mr. Punch mumbled.

“Your Grace, I owe you an apology. I reacted very badly when first we met. Charles and Violet had already informed me that you are a fair, just, kind and gentle man, but I had already made up my mind that I was going to be dealing with someone who was just the opposite. The last years, I’ve dealt with nothing but treachery, deceit and cruelty. So, I’ve come to expect it. I realize now that there’s also still much kindness to be found in this world. I treated you quite shabbily and I deeply regret it.”

“Oh,” Mr. Punch shrugged. “I know how it is, I do. When I first took control of the body, I were distrustful of most folk—even my Robert from time to time, and he’s the one what was always my champion. Sometimes, when we got life kickin’ us down, we come to ‘xpect it from all sides. I like to ‘magine that such bad things exist to make the good things more easily seen.”

“You are, I think, the most sensible person I’ve ever met.” Lennie nodded.

“Ain’t no wonder folk say I’m mad. Humans don’t know what to do with sense.” Mr. Punch giggled. “Here, I got puppets. You wanna see ‘em?”

“I’d like that very much,” Lennie smiled. “But, not just now.”

“I s’pose.” Mr. Punch shrugged. “Least come back to the house and say good night to Colin and Dog Toby.”

“Dog Toby?”

“He’s His Grace’s terrier.” Robert clarified.

“Ah.” Lennie nodded. “I wish that I could. I look forward to getting to know my nephew and…well, and Dog Toby. However, I’d best not be seen going into the castle with you.”

“Where you gonna go?” Punch asked. “Wouldn’t make sense for you to go to the cottage. Since ‘Ellen’ knows you already been found there, she’d wonder why you went back.”

“I think it would be best if Miss Lennie were to return to the stables.” Charles suggested.

“I concur, Charles.” Robert agreed.

“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. She can’t sleep in a stable like them big dogs what we ride.” Mr. Punch shook his head.

Lennie looked at Robert, asking her question silently.

“His Grace fancies that horses resemble large canines.” Robert grinned.

“Oh—in a way.” Lennie nodded.

“Lennie,” Punch continued. “You’ll catch your death staying in a stable—and in this weather. That rain is pourin’ down terrible hard. We was lucky to make it here to this arbor before we was soaked to the skin.”

“Miss Lennie will also catch her death if ‘Ellen’ and Johnny Donnan spot her anywhere else.” Charles shook his head.

“I…I…just don’t like it.” Mr. Punch snorted.

“Nor do I, dear Punch.” Robert said softly. “However, it’s the only option. Furthermore, I don’t think we’ll be able to change Lennie’s mind.”

“You won’t.” Lennie answered.

“You do got Fallbridge blood in ya.” Mr. Punch sighed. “Least you’re usin’ that stubbornness for somethin’ decent and not for making a mess o’ life.”

“I want nothing more than for this torture to be over and for those who’ve made all of us suffer to be punished.”

“We all want that.” Robert nodded.

“And, so, we all must do whatever is necessary to see that end.” Lennie continued.

“I know it.” Punch sighed. “But, when does it stop really? Is there an end to it?”

“Yes, there must be.” Robert replied in a comforting tone.

“We must believe that there is.” Lennie added.

“I s’pose.” Punch muttered.

“Now, I really must get back to Orpha. If I’m any longer she’ll become suspicious.”

“You’re confident in your scheme, then?” Robert asked.

“I don’t suppose I’ve anything to do except be confident.” Lennie responded.

“That’s quite true.” Robert nodded.

“Just come to us—if anything, anything at all, goes wrong. Please.” Punch said quickly.

“I shall.” Lennie smiled.

“Should you need anything,” Charles spoke up, “There is a high brick wall on the east side of the service entrance. You can hide yourself there and leave a flower on the path. I’ll check for a sign religiously and will come to your aid forthwith.”

“Thank you, Charles.” Lennie replied. “You’ve all been so wonderful.”

Robert smiled bravely. “Lennie was correct in that we must believe that a good and just ending to this fiasco is nigh. We shall assuredly all look forward to it and, in the meantime, do all we can to assist one another. After all, each in our own way, we are family.”

“I’d long ago lost any faith in the idea that I’d once again be a part of a family.” Lennie sniffed.

“Well, you are now.” Mr. Punch cooed. “And, we aim to keep ya.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-178 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square? If so, you can read them here. Come back tomorrow for Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 180.

Painting of the Day: Augustus, Duke of Sussex, 1780

Prince Augustus
Benjamin West, 1780
Crown Copyright
The Royal Collection
Image Courtesy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

From 1780, we have Augustus, Duke of Sussex as painted by Benjamin West (1738-1820). This is one of several paintings by West added to the Royal Collection by Queen Mary (1867-1953).

West came to England from Italy in 1763 and became part of the movement to create a national school of history painting—a goal supported by King George III. George III awarded West his patronage and West found himself closely associated with the newly founded Royal Academy in 1768. There, he was one of the first artists to exhibit.

By 1772, West was considered to be the “Historical Painter to the King,” and was paid an annual stipend by the Crown. As part of his commission, he offered artistic instruction to the princesses. In 1791, West succeeded Richard Dalton as Surveyor of the King’s Pictures. Though dated 1780, the portrait that we see above was not exhibited at the Royal Academy until 1782. While the painting of Prince Augustus in front of a view of Windsor was commissioned by Queen Charlotte, at some point, it left the Royal Collection only to be returned in 1934 when Queen Mary purchased it. 

Object of the Day: Jamestown Worsted Mills

Click on image for better or worsted.

Jamestown Worsted Mills of Jamestown, New York were, as this card tells us, “Manufacturers of Specialties in Dress Goods.” The concern was owned and operated by William Hall & Co. This card for the company, was made to be folded. On the front, we can see a young lady whose face is framed in some of the Mills’ wares. Couldn’t they have found a more attractive model? It looks like a memorial photo and that she’s been laid out for a couple of days.

The back “cover” of the card shows the mills themselves. I must say that the campus is quite impressive.

The interior of the card tells us more about the company. It reads:

Established in 1873.



W.M. HALL & CO., Proprietors, 


For 15 years they have proved themselves equal
     to all our claims and guarantees. 

They are made from the very best selected ma-
     terial by the most skilled workmen on the
     latest improved machinery.

They are wool dyed and the colors are as fast
     as pure dyes and the best known skill can
     make them. 

They do not crumple easily, are free from for-
     eign substances which are generally used to
     increase the weight and to improve the finish,
     but which disappear after a few days wear.
     Our goods show at first just what they are
     and will be until worn out. 

We ask your special attention to our new styles
     this season. Do not purchase until you have
     examined them. They are the very latest de-
     signs and the most fashionable colors.
Ask for goods made by our mills, and be sure 
     to see for yourself that they have our name
     and trade mark on them. None other are

                                Yours truly,
 WM. HALL & CO. 
These goods are sold by 


EARLVILLE                          ILLS

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mastery of Design: An Enamel and Diamond Mourning Ring, 1787

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This gorgeous ring of gold, enamel, rose-cut diamonds, rubies, emeralds and amethysts is inscribed on the reverse, “Cease thy tears, religion points on high/ CS ob.25 Jan 1787 aet 70/ IS ob. 18 Sep 1792 aet 72” and was made in honor of a deceased couple who died at the ages of 70 and 72 respectively.

Such mourning rings were worn in England as a reminder of the deceased. The jeweled design of dropping flowers in an urn was a common symbol of mourning and one that was easily recognized. With its gold bezel and carefully-set stones, the ring’s workmanship is particularly fine and demonstrates the triumphs of late Eighteenth-Century jewelers.