London… Once a Breath Away from Extinction

This article regards the surprising trajectory of London–one of the world’s great cities, and an international treasure that once suffered a calamitous decline, and spent many decades as an abandoned ruin.

With apologies for being offline for so long, this is the first of four articles that all grew out of what I expected to be a single, quick article about our visit to the “Crown and Treaty” in the outer London town of Uxbridge. Built in the 1500’s as an elaborate private home, this fascinating building still stands, and was the home of the 1645 Uxbridge Treaty Negotiations. In what has become the usual fashion for me, more thoughtful reading of accounts about the negotiations and Sir Richard Lane’s role brought me to details that struck me as unexpected and intriguing–off-topic “threads” hanging from the edges of the story. Such are the entrances of “rabbit holes” from which I have dragged more surprising insights than I’d ever have thought possible. This particular one is about the surprising trajectory of London–one of the world’s great cities, and an international treasure that once suffered a calamitous decline, and spent many decades as an abandoned ruin.

Continue reading “London… Once a Breath Away from Extinction”

A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part I of III)

Foreword: This is the full article submitted for publication in the 2018 Annual Bulletin of the Société Jersisiase. This version includes significant additional content which could not appear in that publication, and benefits from the excellent editorial refinements of the editors at the Société Jersisiase. In this format, footnotes appear the end of the sections in which their references occur. 

Continue reading “A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part I of III)”

A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part II of III)

In this second part of the article submitted for publication in the 2018 Annual Bulletin of the Société Jersiaise, Richard Lane rises quickly in the king’s service amid dire circumstances in the wartime capitol of Oxford.

Continue reading “A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part II of III)”

A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part III of III)

This conclusion of the article submitted for publication in the 2018 Annual Bulletin of the Société Jersisiase chronicles the last few weeks of Richard Lane’s life in the Elizabeth Castle, and his dramatic 1650 burial in St Helier, Jersey.

Continue reading “A Man of Spotless Integrity: The Life and Legacy of the Lost Lord Keeper of the King’s Great Seal (Part III of III)”

Westminster Palace: Analysis of the 1844 Trial of Strafford Painting (Part 2)

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)”

Westminster Palace: Analysis of the 1844 Trial of Strafford Painting (Part 1)

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)”

Breakthrough – The Chance Discovery of a Photograph of the Lost Portrait of Sir Richard Lane!

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”…

Continue reading “Breakthrough – The Chance Discovery of a Photograph of the Lost Portrait of Sir Richard Lane!”