Posts

Showing posts from June, 2011

Effie: The Passionate Lives of Effie Gray, John Ruskin and John Everett Millais By Suzanne Fagence Cooper: A Review

Image
Author Suzanne Fagence Cooper reads from her novel Effie Gray.

U.S. Book Cover
Hardcover: 288 pages Publisher: St. Martin's Press; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011) Language: English ISBN-10: 0312581734 ISBN-13: 978-0312581732
UK Cover from 2010.  I love this cover it's beautiful. 


SYNOPSIS
Effie Gray, a beautiful and intelligent young socialite, rattled the foundations of England's Victorian age. Married at nineteen to John Ruskin, the leading art critic of the time, she found herself trapped in a loveless, unconsummated union after Ruskin rejected her on their wedding night. On a trip to Scotland she met John Everett Millais, Ruskin's protégé, and fell passionately in love with him. In a daring act, Effie left Ruskin, had their marriage annulled and entered into a long, happy marriage with Millais.

Suzanne Fagence Cooper has gained exclusive access to Effie’s extensive and previously unseen letters and diaries to reveal the reality behind this great Victorian love stor…

Lady Margaret Beaufort Countess of Richmond and Derby (31 May 1443 or 1441 – 29 June 1509)

Image
The above video provides clips from Historian David Starkey narrating the life of Lady Margaret Beaufort. However, Starkey is not a fan of Richard III so Richardians be warned!


Lady Margaret Beaufort was the mother of King Henry VII and grandmother of King Henry VIII of England. She was a key figure in the Wars of the Roses, an influential matriarch of the House of Tudor and foundress of two Cambridge colleges. In 1509, she briefly served as regent (head of state) of England for her grandson who was a minor at the time. She was the daughter and heiress of John Beaufort, Duke of Somerset.

Margaret was born at Bletso Castle, Bedfordshire, on 31 May 1443 or 1441. The date and month are not disputed, as she required Westminster Abbey to celebrate her birthday on 31 May. The year of her birth is more uncertain.

She was the daughter of John Beaufort, 1st Duke of Somerset, and Margaret Beauchamp of Bletso. At the moment of her birth, Margaret's father was preparing to go to France an…

Legacy: The Acclaimed Novel of Elizabeth, England's Most Passionate Queen -- and the Three Men Who Loved Her by Susan Kay

Image
We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep -- Skakespeare, The Tempest

Within the labyrinth she walked slowly down the corridor, knowing it to be the longest and the last. She had conquered and no fear informed her stately progress now, only idle curiousity to see what waited at the end of this journey inwards. When she found the door she was not unduly surprised; and since she had nothing better to do, and there was no one here to do it for her--as there had been as far back as she remembered--she chose to open that door herself. The door gave out on to an unfathomable expanse of darkness, cold, empty, remarkably uninviting, it made her hesitate and look back down the endless passage, a narrow tunnel that ended in a bright pin-prick of light--the world she was about to leave.

"It will go on without you, you know."
She whirled round, wild with hope, "Robin!"
"You were expecting perhaps the Devil in person?"
His voi…

The Arrest of Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Minister of Henry VIII: 10 June 1540

Image
Thomas Cromwell being taken to the Tower of London after being sentenced to death.


1540: Thomas Cromwell
It was on this date in 1540 that Thomas Cromwell fell by the instrument he had wielded so ably against so many others. While Henry strove to get his end away, Thomas Cromwell made the Reformation, setting his energetic hand to the needfully violent reordering of England. In almost a decade as the king’s chief minister, he had dissolved so many monasteries, annulled so many noble prerogatives, backstabbed so many courtiers, and sent so many of every class to the scaffold that most at court had some reason to hate him. (Cranmer was the only one to (cautiously) object to his old partner’s arrest.)

Every matter of importance in 1530′s England concerned Cromwell. He raised and then destroyed Anne Boleyn; he managed the realm’s religious turmoil so fearsomely that his ouster was one of the demands of the Pilgrimage of Grace; he did what he had to do in the matter of Sir Thomas More.

“Who ca…

Happy Birthday Sir John Everett Millais 8 June 1829 – 13 August 1896

Image
Sir John Everett Millais
Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Baronet, PRA was an English painter and illustrator and one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. His prodigious artistic talent won him a place at the Royal Academy schools at the unprecedented age of eleven. While there, he met William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti with whom he formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (known as the "PRB") in September 1848 in his family home on Gower Street, off Bedford Square.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti Self-Portrait  by George Frederic Watts
William Holman Hunt in his Eastern dress  Photo taken by Julia Margaret Cameron
Millais' Christ In The House Of His Parents (1850) was highly controversial because of its realistic portrayal of a working class Holy Family labouring in a messy carpentry workshop. Later works were also controversial, though less so. Millais achieved popular success with A Huguenot (1852), which depicts a young couple about to be separated becaus…

The Coronation of Anne Boleyn 1 June 1533

Image
Late 16th Century Portrait of Anne Boleyn by unknown artist

This account of Anne Boleyn's coronation was written by the Tudor chronicler Edward Hall.

Henry only provided coronations for his first two wives. Katharine of Aragon shared his coronation in 1509; Anne's lavish ceremony took place on 29 May 1533. She would be executed almost exactly three years later.

The coronation was not a success, despite its expense. Anne was not popular. Insults were shouted; mocking laughter was heard. Anne was already two months pregnant with the future Queen Elizabeth I. This undoubtedly hastened her secret marriage and coronation. Henry VIII wanted no one to doubt the legitimacy of his son or the nobility of his parentage.

On Thursday 29 May, 1533 Lady Anne, Marquess of Pembroke, was received as Queen of England by all the Lords of England. And the mayor and aldermen, with all the guilds of the City of London, went to Greenwich in their barges after the best fashion, with also a barge…