Thursday, 30 August 2012

Le Dernier Roi de France / The Last King of France

Louis Philippe I "King of the French",
by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1839
[Source : Wikipedia]

Louis Philippe holds the unique distinction of being the last reigning King of France. His life is one of aspiration, intrigue, revolution, power and exile through one of the most tumultuous and unsettled periods of French political history.

The gold "LP" monogram of King Louis Philippe printed
on a "Sevres style" plate ostensibly dated 1846.
Refer below for an interesting history of this plate.
[From my own collection]

Belonging to the House of Orléans, a branch of the ruling Bourbon dynasty, the family fortunes fluctuated greatly after the French Revolution of 1788-89. Having, along with his Father, shown liberal sympathies and even supported the Revolution, Louis Phillippe was however not immune from the power struggles that racked France during the subsequent French Revolutionary wars. But equally, he also actively involved himself in political intrigue. Having become disillusioned by the more radical policies of the French Republic Louis Philippe was implicated in a plot to restore - by military force - the pre revolution French Constitution of 1791 under which France would be ruled by a constitutional Monarchy. In 1793, and as France descended into the "Reign of Terror", Louis Philippe wisely ended his two year tenure as a Lieutenant-General in the increasingly pro-Republican French Army and went into self-imposed exile, his life now being in danger.

A close up of the above "Sevres style" plate showing the gold "LP"
monogram with crown and laurel leaves for King Louis Philippe
of France and delicately painted putti (cherubs) with roses.
[From my own collection]

So, at 19 years of age, Louis Philippe left France and it would be twenty one years before he would again set foot on French soil. At this point the Orléans family fortunes did not look at all promising. Travelling extensively throughout much of Europe, he also visited the United States of America. In Boston, he taught French for a time, also having the distinction of meeting many notable American politicians of the day including George Washington. In 1839 Louis Philippe wrote that his three years in America had a large influence on his later political beliefs and judgements.

Louis Philippe, King of the French.
[Source : Linternaute]

But fate began to finally smile on the Orléans family fortunes. Upon the forced abdication of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 and the subsequent restoration of the Bourbons, Louis Philippe [then known as Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans] returned to France, his cousin being crowned King Louis XVIII of France. While managing to reconcile the Orléans and Bourbon branches of the family at court, Louis Philippe still sided with the liberal opposition. But after the accession of the even more conservative Bourbon King Charles X in 1824 Louis Philippe's liberal views were considered a threat to Charles' conservatively minded Government. But this soon proved to be to his advantage. 

King Louis Philippe opening the Galerie des Batailles (Gallery of Battles)
in the Palace of Versailles, 10th June 1837.
A painting by François-Joseph Heim.
[Source : Wikipedia]   

The noted French Statesman Taleyrand reputedly wrote, "They [the Bourbon Kings] had learned nothing and forgotten nothing". Thus it came as no surprise that in July 1830 another revolution threw out King Charles X. The French Government then, primarily on account of his liberal beliefs and public popularity, proclaimed Louis Philippe as King of France, thus bypassing the 10 year old Grandson of Charles X.

Louis Philippe, King of the French in regal pose, 1842
[Source : Wikipedia]

Assuming the more democratic and all encompassing title of "Louis Philippe, King of the French", his rule proceeded in an unpretentious manner and avoided the pomp and lavish spending of his predecessors. But during his reign the conditions of the working classes deteriorated and the income gap between rich and poor widened considerably. An economic crisis in 1847 led to a further revolution in February 1848 (there being much unrest in Europe at this time) which forced Louis Philippe to abdicate and seek exile in England under the 'protection' of Queen Victoria. While the French Assembly were willing to accept his 9 year old grandson as successor this proved unacceptable to the French public thus leading to the formation of the Second Republic under Napoleon III.  

The signed abdication document of
Louis Philippe in favour of his
Grandson, 24 Feb 1848
[Source : Wikipedia]

Louis Philippe died at Claremont Surrey on the 26th August 1850. In 1876, his remains and those of his wife Maria Amalia were taken to France and buried at the Orléans family Chapelle Royale de Dreux [Royal Chapel of Dreux]. Orléans and Bourbon 'factions' have ever since continued to push their own 'legitimacy' to the French Throne.

Original and counterfeit marks on the above "Sevres style" plate.
[From my own collection]

My 'Sevres Style' plate carries the monogram of Louis Philippe, being purportedly ordered for the "Chateau Des Tuileries" [Tuileries Palace, Paris]. A detailed 1916 American publication "Exhibition of Fakes and Reproductions" makes specific reference not only to the decoration of genuine Sevres blanks but also the wholesale production of complete counterfeit pieces by at least one prominent Paris manufactory. The following reference in the above publication at least confirms the status of my own particular plate :

"56. DISHES (2) — Circular form, large size. Decoration in colors, two cupids.... a floral wreath enclosing the monogram of Louis Philippe surrounded by gold circles. Broad outside band of light blue. A piece of Sevres hard paste, dated 1846, the decoration having been painted at a later date outside of the factory."

Therefore, while my plate is indeed Sevres fired hard paste porcelain with a genuine under-glaze mark for 1846, the gilding, delicate painting and "Chateau Des Tuileries" destination mark have been applied elsewhere. According to the Victoria and Albert Museum the sale of actual Sevres blanks may relate to the abdication of Louis Philippe in early 1848 thus a large stock of fired porcelain with "LP" underglaze marks became obsolete after the proclamation of the Second Republic.  

A great many counterfeit pieces of 'Sevres Style' porcelain in varying designs abound and continue to be promoted by dealers as genuine, often at highly inflated prices. The skill of the counterfeiters unfortunately makes identification exceedingly difficult other than by a qualified ceramics expert. 

Bibliography :

- Wikipedia    
- Various Internet resources
- Image(s) from my own collection may be freely copied for personal use provided a link is given back to this site

Friday, 24 August 2012

Late Victorian & Edwardian Era Scottish Passenger Steamers (Part Two)

"SS Queen Alexandra" at Cambeltown, Kintyre

This is a further gallery which features a series of views of late Victorian to Edwardian era Scottish passenger paddle and screw steamers. Sadly few examples of this type of transport remain, let alone in operation.

 A very (!) crowded "SS Queen Alexandra" sailing on the Firth of Clyde,
pre 1908

The Turbine Screw Steamer "SS Queen Alexandra" was built by William Denny and Brothers of Dumbarton in 1902 but had a relatively short career on the Clyde. A serious fire on the 10th September 1911 left her so badly damaged that her owners, "The Turbine Steamers Syndicate", ordered a replacement. Her new owners, the Canadian Pacific Railway, had her repaired and thence, renamed "Princess Patricia" then she sailed the west coast of Canada until being broken up in 1937. Her sister ship, the "S.S. King Edward", although slightly smaller and slower, continued sailing until 1951. Both postcards date from 1908.

"P.S. Lord of the Isles" (built 1877) at Inverary, circa 1890

The Paddle Steamer "P.S. Lord of the Isles" was built for The Glasgow Steamboat Company by D & W Henderson of Partick in 1877. She remained on the Clyde for 13 years before being sold to the Victoria Steamboat Association (VSA) in 1890 thereafter being employed as an excursion steamer on the Thames River, London. She suffered the ignominious fate of having both funnels smashed when she ran into London Bridge in 1894. Lord of the Isles sailed to the Essex coast and despite poor reliability she was a firm favourite with her London passengers. The VSA suffered financial problems and in 1896 "Lord of the Isles" was sold and renamed Jupiter. Her new owners ran her to Southend and Margate for a few seasons before she was laid up. In 1904 she was again sold and returned to her native Clyde, being renamed "Lady of the Isles". She was not a success, being too old fashioned for the discerning Clyde trade and after just one season she was broken up at Dumbarton in 1905.

A Paddle Steamer at Lochgoilhead Pier, Loch Goil

This unknown paddle steamer moored at Lochgoilhead at the head of Loch Goil emphasises the important service which such steamers provided to otherwise relatively remote and sparsely populated areas.

Bibliography :

- Internet Sources 
- All images are from my own personal collections and may be freely copied for non-commercial use provided a link is given back to this page.

Friday, 17 August 2012

An Appreciation of old Scottish Country Stately Homes and Castles (Part Four)

This is the fourth part of my gallery celebrating Scottish stately homes and castles. The images in this gallery were taken during the Edwardian period and are from my own family collection. I have attempted to provide a history of each home or castle however the fact that many such old homes are in ruinous, vacant or no longer exist is to be regretted. The loss of any historic building is indeed unfortunate so this gallery also serves as a celebration of this lost heritage and the various families over the centuries who built and owned these fascinating properties.

The Quadrangle, Linlithgow Palace, pre 1907

Linlithgow Palace lies in the town of Linlithgow in West Lothian, just 15 miles west of Edinburgh. The palace was one of the principal residences of the Scottish Monarchs during the 15th and 16th centuries. 

The location has a history of occupation reaching back to at least Roman times. King David I (1124 - 1153) was the first Monarch to build a royal residence here, also founding the town which sprung up around it. Kind Edward I of England, who invaded Scotland in 1296, had a defensive fortification known as 'the Peel' built around the Royal residence. Sixty men and 140 women helped dig the ditches; the men being paid twopence daily and the women a penny. A hundred soldiers were still employed as labourers on the castle in November 1301, continuing into the Summer of 1303. The site made it a convenient military base for securing the supply route between Edinburgh Castle and Stirling Castle.  

In 1424, the town of Linlithgow was partially destroyed in a great fire with the Royal residence being badly damaged. King James I of Scotland then started rebuilding as a grand residence for Scottish royalty as well as beginning the rebuilding of the Church of St Michael immediately to the south of the palace. The earlier church had been used as a storeroom during Edward's occupation. Over the following century the Palace developed into a formal courtyard structure with four ranges. Later Scottish Monarchs added significant additions. James V, who was born in the Palace in April 1512, added the outer gateway and an elaborate courtyard fountain. The stonework of the South facade was also renewed and unified during the 1530's. Mary Queen of Scots, who was born at the Palace in December 1542, stayed here occasionally during her reign. 

After the Union of the Scottish and English Crowns in 1603 the Royal Court became largely based in England with Linlithgow then being little used. The old North range (which is believed to have contained Mary Queen of Scots apartments) collapsed on the 6th September 1607 but King James had it rebuilt between 1618 and 1622. The carvings were designed by the mason William Wallace. In July 1620, the Architect James Murray estimated that 3000 stones in weight of lead would be needed to cover the roof, costing £3600 in Scottish money. On 5 July 1621 the Earl of Mar wrote to King James to tell him that the Palace would be ready for the King at Michaelmas. However, the only reigning monarch to then stay at Linlithgow after this date was King Charles I who spent a night here in 1633. Thereafter the Palace quickly fell into decline.

An English visitor in October 1641 recorded that the roof of the great hall was already gone, the fountain vandalised by those who objected on religious grounds to the motto "God Save the King," but some woodcarving remained in the Chapel Royal. In 1648, part of the new North range was occupied by the Earl of Linlithgow. Bonnie Prince Charlie visited Linlithgow on his march south in September 1745 but did not stay overnight. It is said that the fountain was made to flow with wine in his honour. The end came in January 1746 when troops of the English Duke of Cumberland's army marched out of the Palace leaving a fire(s) burning which quickly caught hold of the building and it burnt out. The historic Palace walls remain, now being managed by Historic Scotland.

Jerviston Castle & Gardens, near Motherwell

Old Jerviston House or Castle [sic Terviston Castle] and Gardens near Motherwell is a typical medium-sized Laird's [land-owner's] residence dating from the late 16th century. Built in the L-plan, the walls rise to three storeys with an attic. The ground level basement contains a vaulted kitchen and a cellar. The entrance in the wing led directly to the main turnpike stair which rises to the first floor which contains the hall. Above the entrance is a lintel which has a partly obliterated inscription including the initials R B and E H (Jerviston was a property of the Baillie family) and surmounted by a heraldic panel. A private internal circular staircase, corbelled out between where the two wings join, rises from the first floor to sleeping accommodation contained in "small chambers" above and up to attic level. 

As of 1953, Old Jerviston House was noted as being "still roofed and complete, but becoming dilapidated and sinking due to collapsed mine workingsThere have been some outbuildings attached to the E wall, but these were probably of a later date". Images taken about 1963 show the fabric of the building to be in a quite dangerous state. A full set of architectural drawings dated about 1964 survive. As of 1965 the House was noted to be unoccupied and in a bad state of repair "but plans were on foot for its rehabilitation". Old Jerviston House was however subsequently demolished, most likely at the same time as the nearby Adam designed New Jerviston House dating from 1782 which was demolished in 1966. Part of the original stone garden wall may however survive. 

Bibliography :

- Various Internet sources
- All images are from my own collection and may be freely copied provided a link is given back to this page.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Coronation of King Edward VII 9 August 1902

HM King Edward VII, 1902
[From my own collection]

The 9th of August 2012 marks the 110th anniversary of the Coronation of King Edward VII, "By the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India" and also of his wife Queen Alexandra, "Queen Consort of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions; Empress Consort of India".

HM Queen Alexandra, 1902
[From my own collection]

I thought this would be an opportune time to share some of my royal memorabilia specifically relating to King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Interspersed with these images are quotes which detail something of the King and how he was viewed as a Monarch and the valuable contribution he made but also a couple of interesting references to his valued consort, Queen Alexandra.

Service sheet for the Coronation Day
service in Dalserf Parish Church
Lanarkshire Scotland, 9th Aug 1902.
The original date has been blocked out.
[From my own collection]

The Coronation had in fact been delayed from the 26th June 1902 due to Edward's operation for appendicitis. This caused many problems for manufacturers of souvenir china who had already manufactured and printed their wares carrying the now incorrect date of the 26th June.

A Staffordshire wall plaque commemorating the Coronation. The
 original date has been carefully painted out with gold paint.
[From my own collection]

"As King, Edward VII proved a greater success than anyone had expected, but he was already an old man and had little time left to fulfil the role. In his short reign, he ensured that his second son and heir, George V, was better prepared to take the throne."

A Royal Doulton bone china cup and saucer bearing effigies of both King
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. The saucer is marked "Coronation 1902"
[From my own collection]

"He had a tremendous zest for pleasure but he also had a real sense of duty" [JB Priestley]

The reverse of the above Royal Doulton duo.

"In 1875, Edward set off for India on an extensive eight-month tour of the sub-continent. His advisors remarked on his habit of treating all people the same, regardless of their social station or colour."

A gilt medal struck by Elkington and Co Ltd in
1902 to commemorate the Coronation of King
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. It came with
an attractive red Moroccan leather and velvet box.
[From my own collection]

"Biographers have asserted that Alexandra was denied access to the King's briefing papers and excluded from some of his foreign tours to prevent her meddling in diplomatic matters. In 1890 Alexandra wrote a memorandum, distributed to senior British ministers and military personnel, warning against the planned exchange of the British North Sea island of Heligoland for the German colony of Zanzibar, pointing out Heligoland's strategic significance and that it could be used either by Germany to launch an attack, or by Britain to contain German aggression."

A Royal Doulton bone china beaker bearing an effigy of
His Majesty King Edward VII.
On the reverse are a Crown, Edward's Cypher, and the words
"Coronation 1902".
[From my own collection]

"[The King] ordered all the clocks at Sandringham to run half an hour fast to create more time for shooting. This so-called tradition of Sandringham Time continued until 1936"

A Foley Bone China mug, again with the incorrect date.
[From my own collection] 

"[The King] was regarded worldwide as an arbiter of men's fashions. He made wearing tweed, Homburg hats and Norfolk jackets fashionable, and popularised the wearing of black ties with dinner jackets, instead of white tie and tails"

A wall plaque given by Ambrose Edmund Butler J.P., The Lord Mayor
 of Leeds, to the 80,000 children of the City of Leeds. It was made for the
retail firm of JH Awmack, Leeds and bears the previous coronation date.
[From my own collection]

"Alexandra did not attend her son's coronation in 1911 since it was not customary for a crowned Queen to attend the coronation of another King or Queen, but otherwise continued the public side of her life, devoting time to her charitable causes [such as] Alexandra Rose Day"

One side of a stereoscopic photo of HM King Edward VII with his
Grandchildren taken at Balmoral Castle in Scotland a few weeks after
the Coronation in 1902. The children are (L to R) HRH Prince Edward,
Prince Henry, Princess Victoria, and HRH Prince George.
[From my own collection]

"Usually, Edward's outbursts of temper were short-lived, and "after he had let himself go ... [he would] smooth matters by being especially nice"

A Foley bone china enamelled cup and saucer, again with the
incorrect date.
[From my own collection]

"To lose our eldest son [Prince Albert Victor in 1892], is one of those calamities one can never really get over"... and the King also writing to Queen Victoria, "[I would] have given my life for him, as I put no value on mine". Queen Alexandra wrote, "I have buried my angel and with him my happiness."

The reverse of the above Foley bone china duo.
[From my own collection]

"[Queen Alexandra's] generosity was a source of embarrassment to her financial advisers. Whenever she received a letter soliciting money, a cheque would be sent by the next post, regardless of the authenticity of the mendicant and without having the case investigated." Though she was not always extravagant [she had her old stockings darned for re-use and her old dresses were recycled as furniture covers], she would dismiss protests about her heavy spending with a wave of a hand or by claiming that she had not heard."

A "Coronation" 22 carat gold £5 Sovereign minted by the Royal
Mint to commemorate the Coronation in 1902.
The Sovereign's Head appears on the reverse.
[From my own collection] 

"William the Great [speaking of his militaristic Nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany] needs to learn that he is living at the end of the nineteenth century and not in the Middle Ages."

Aluminium Medal presented, I believe, to children
who were attending School in Scotland in 1902. This
medal features in my previous Blog,
"In Defense of Scotland's National Rights and Honour"
[From my own collection] 

"Edward's affability and popularity, as well as his use of family connections, assisted Britain [during his reign] in building European alliances".

The commemorative card presented by the Governor of New Zealand to all
children attending Schools in New Zealand at the time of the Coronation.
This particular card was presented to my Uncle who was attending the
small country school of Heddon Bush in rural Southland.
[From my own collection]

"Edward was rarely interested in politics, although his views on some issues were notably liberal for the time... On other matters he was less progressive: he did not, for example, favour giving votes to women... He was also opposed to Irish Home Rule, instead preferring a form of dual monarchy."

King Edward VII, 1902.
An oil painting by Luke Fildes in the
National Portrait Gallery, London.
[Source : Wikipedia]

Bibliography :

- Wikipedia
- Unless otherwise stated all images are from my own collection but may be freely copied for non-commercial purposes provided a link is given back to this page.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Royal Residences of Queen Victoria - Osborne House

Osborne House, Isle of Wight, 1897
[From my Own Collection]

During Queen Victoria's long reign she made use a number of royal residences, primarily Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace in London,  Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, Holyrood House in Edinburgh, and Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands.

This series primarily features 'behind the scenes' period images from Queen Victoria's Private Apartments which will attempt to portray something of Her Majesty's personal world away from the public gaze. Actual original extant photographs or images of Queen Victoria when resident at each Royal residence are also featured. Our third blog in this series features images taken at Queen Victoria's "Dear little home" of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

Queen Victoria's Private Sitting Room, 1873
Note her writing desk set up in the centre of the room

Queen Victoria's Private Sitting Room

A Lithograph of Queen Victoria at her desk in her Private Sitting Room
as one of her Daughers (?) plays the piano.

Osborne House, 1857

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and children, taken at Osborne House,
taken on the Queen's Birthday, 24 May 1859.
(L to R) Leopold, Louise, Queen Victoria, Arthur, Alice, Vicky,
Beatrice, Prince Albert, Lenchen.

The Dining Room. A watercolour by James Roberts, 1851

Princess Louise with Queen Victoria and her Highland Servant
John Brown at Osborne House in 1863

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room, 1885

Queen Victoria with her Grandson Prince George
and members of her family, 1890.

The Drawing Room, 1896

The Drawing Room

"Four Generations" - Queen Victoria, Edward
The Prince of Wales, Prince George,
and Prince Edward, 5th Aug 1899

The Audience Room

Queen Victoria (in centre) in the garden with members of her family, 1898

The Christmas Display in the Indian "Durbar Room", Dec 1900

Queen Victoria with members of her family, taken by Hugh Mullins, 1898
[L to R]
At Rear :  Prince Leopold of Battenberg,  Princess Henry [Beatrice] of Battenberg,
Princess Ena of Battenberg, Princess Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein.
In Centre : Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria.
In Front : Prince Alexander of Battenberg, Prince Maurice of Battenberg.

 Prince Albert's Dressing Room.
A watercolour by James Roberts 1851

Queen Victoria and her devoted Scottish Manservant John Broan,
a print after Sir Edwin Landseer, 1870

The Council Chamber

The Council Room.
A Watercolour by James Roberts, 1861

The Chapel

Queen Victoria seated in her "carriage-and-four" ready for a drive.
One of her Highland Attendants sits alongside the driver while two
out-riders wait for the Queen's departure. Image published 1897.
[Image courtesy of C. Duclos, Paris]  

The Ladies Drawing Room.
This room may have been used by Queen Victoria's Ladies in Waiting
and Senior Female Staff

The Marble [Mosaic] Corridor.
A watercolour by James Roberts, 1852

The Marble [Mosaic] Corridor

Queen Victoria's devoted servant, Abdul Karim ('The 'Munshi'),
attending on Her Majesty as she works on her red boxes in a
tent set up in the grounds of Osborne House, 1893

The Billiard Room, 1894

Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their children, taken on the terrace at
Osborne House by Leonia Caldesi

The Bridal Suite arranged for Princess Alice and Prince Louis of Hesse
after their Marriage at Osborne House on the 1st July 1862.

Osborne House, Taken circa 1900

Queen Victoria 'at peace' in her bedroom in Osborne House
after her death on the 22nd January 1901.
Note the picture of Prince Albert above her.

Bibliography :

- "Life of Queen Victoria", T Nelson & Sons, London, 1897 (from my personal collection).
 - Various written and Internet sources.
- Images are only from my own personal collection where specifically indicated. These may be freely copied for non-commercial use providing a link is given back to this page.
- All other images have been "collected" over the last couple of years and I have not always recorded the source. Most appear to be in the public domain or are only low resolution images however if copyright has been infringed please advise me so that I can remove them.

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