My apologies for having posted so few articles since my April research trip to the UK last year. It certainly hasn’t been for lack of material! Following my talks at the Société Jersiaise during that trip, I was asked to contribute an article to the Société’s “Annual Bulletin” for 2018. This was a genuine honor, as I’ve never known of an academic society so committed to maintaining and developing a cultural, scientific and historic heritage as effectively as the Société Jersiaise does for Jersey. It was also a significant time commitment, and wound up leading me down new avenues of research–and some really interesting discoveries!
Welcome to the final (and best) chapter of the “Trial of Strafford” analysis! We have reached the core of this historic drama–the Parliament’s 1641 prosecution team versus Lord Strafford’s muzzled and thinly tolerated counsel for the defense. We have come to the reason I became involved in the story of this painting in the first place: the possibility that Thomas Woolnoth (the artist who created this historic 1844 painting): 1) knew about Richard Lane’s role in the trial, 2) had access to Richard Lane’s (now lost) 1645 portrait, and 3) deliberately included him in the cast of historical portraitures depicted within this dramatic painting.
In the Part I article of the “Trial of Strafford” analysis I presented at Westminster this Spring, I provided an overview introducing the historical analysis I did and the groups depicted in that historic painting. In this and the next article, we’re going to explore the depth of the stories painter Thomas Woolnoth laid onto that sprawling canvas in the early 1840’s.
In our time, Woolnoth would have been the videographer behind a BBC historical docu-drama of this pivotal event in English history. But in the early 1840’s even the earliest deguerrotype camera was a technical oddity, leaving Woolnoth only the brush and palette to carry his audience back to the floor of Westminster Hall in the spring of 1641.
Continue reading “Westminster Palace: Analysis of the 1844 Trial of Strafford Painting (Part 2)”
When talking with people here in the states, I generally have to clarify when I mention “Jersey” that I’m talking about old Jersey–the UK Channel Island situated just off the coast of France. Its a very unique place of beautiful vistas, truly dramatic tides and a fascinating history as a strategic outpost between Britain and the European mainland. I visited this Spring and although my body has been home for months, part of me seems to have remained in St. Helier for the summer…
I was just told that the Castle Pines Connection (a local monthly paper) is featuring a fabulous story about the Quest – on its front page!
My apologies if I seemed to have gone “offline” for a few weeks. It’s taken quite a bit of sorting to be sure nothing got lost from the trip to the UK. I also took time for a badly needed camping and mountain biking trip to Moab (which in turn cost me a bit more time to heal from a crash I had on one of those truly fabulous trails)!
I’ve been keen to share the presentation I gave at Westminster, but struggled mightily to get it into a single article. Having failed that, this will be the first of three in which I will take you through the analysis I shared with the Office of the Curator of the Parliamentary Art Collection last month. This analysis regards the “Trial of Strafford” painting that hangs in the House of Lords side of the parliamentary complex at Westminster, London. Continue reading “Westminster Palace: Analysis of the 1844 Trial of Strafford Painting (Part 1)”
I have searched for the Lost Portrait of Sir Richard Lane(or any image of it) for three years – with no luck. That just changed!
Imagine spending three years researching someone you’ve never seen an image of. We humans are a visual tribe. The mind will fill a visual void with a “placeholder” concept of who you picture that person to be. What would it be like to one day finally discover what they really looked like? Would their real appearance affect your understanding of who they were? Did you expect the person to be handsome or homely? Tall or short? Imposing or bookish? Proud or humble? Had I expected Sir Richard Lane be portly, like his predecessor, Lord Keeper Littleton? Or perhaps gaunt? Would his hair be fair, thin and curly, or perhaps thick, straight and black? It seems a human truth that we never seem to feel a tangible sense of someone until we have the chance to “look them in the eye”…
I just love a dramatic breakthrough. And a month before my recent trip to the UK, the Quest for the Lost Lord Keeper had a couple of them – so it seemed high time to throw a “coming out” party for the Quest!
We could have used another week on this trip, but I don’t know where I’d have gotten the energy for it! We were down to our last full day in London (Friday) and then it was back to the colonies the next. As the sun came up, it was hard to see how any day could hope to compete with the day before – but this day was a fighter! It started with a “before hours” escorted visit to inspect and photograph the massive Norris Monument (normally not approachable by the public) in Westminster Abbey. This was followed by a tour of Richard Lane’s boyhood school, the Westminster School, which is still in business. Then, we were off to the National Archives in Kew to spend the afternoon going through a long list of documents I’d reserved for viewing. Among these were three original letters to and from Richard Lane in exile during the last few months of his life…
There are days you will remember always. This was one of them!
Yesterday was quite a day. You’d have heard about it last night, but I was simply too tired to do anything but have a glass of wine, savor a bit of chocolate and wonder at the day I’d just had. Just because you put a lot of work into something doesn’t mean it’s going to lead somewhere interesting. Nor does it mean that it will be well received, let alone be referred to as “scholarly”…