070630. 11/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

June 30, 2007 at 12:41 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Food, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Hokusai, Peephole Views, somerset | 4 Comments

See the series so far!

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Hokusai’s Tokaido Yoshida

070625.Bath, Elizabeth Ann Linley at Abbey St, Pierrepont St, and the Royal Crescent

June 25, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Jane Austen, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Towers | 9 Comments

Delia’s Grotto, Bath: [1. Elizabeth A. Linley, 2. Richard B. Sheridan, 3. The Grotto for Scandal, 4. History of Delia’s Grotto 5. Design and Brief Context]
Here is the Abbey Yard with its large central tree. The street to the left is Abbey Street (with the Roman Baths in the background) and the street to the right is Church St (obviously with the Abbey behind.)
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Scandal in Bath! Part One: Elizabeth Ann Linley (1754-1792)

Among Bath’s most prestigious artistic families, the Linleys remain difficult to rival. Father Thomas “was a musical entrepreneur who arranged concerts in Bath, gave singing lessons, and played the harpsichord expertly. His eldest two daughters, Elizabeth and Mary were singers of considerable ability….” Even his son, also named Thomas, was extraordinarily gifted in music. As a talented violinist, young Thomas “visited Italy as a child prodigy in 1770, won the friendship and approbation of Mozart, and died tragically in a boating accident at the age of twenty-two.” [1]

As all Jane Austen-philes will know, addresses translate into social status in Bath. Although father Thomas was originally from Wells, the family had long lived in fashionable Bath, which had enough sophisticated visitors to appreciate and propel the careers of family members. They originally lived on Abbey Street before moving in 1764 to Pierrepont Street, and finally moving in the autumn of 1771 to the Royal Crescent, which was conveniently near the Upper Assembly Rooms, where Elizabeth and Mary sang to rapt audiences and where their father organized concerts. [1] Each relocation to a new and better address reflected the family’s increasing prosperity and social status.

Elizabeth LinleyAfter the death of young Thomas, Elizabeth with her divine voice was the brightest star of the family. The organist at Exeter Cathedral wrote that “[h]er voice was conventionally sweet, and her scale just and perfect, from the lowest to the highest note the tone was of same quality… Her genius and senses gave a consequence to her performance which no fool with the voice of an angel could ever attain.” Likewise, her beauty was renowned, and testified to in paint by Gainsborough. Reynolds used her for his painting of St. Cecilia, which was exhibited at the Royal Academy. Her qualities attracted royal attention when she performed at Drury Lane, George III “gazed at her with more than a paternal interest.” The close royal confidant, son of first prime minister, and cultivator of the Gothick style Hon. Horace Walpole, who was certainly unconcerned for himself, told a friend that “Miss Linley’s beauty is in the superlative degree, …the king admires her, and ogles her as much as he dares to do in so holy a place as an oratorio.” [2] Of course, the king was married and too old for the teenage Elizabeth but this did not deter her vast army of suitors.

Capitalizing on his daughter’s popularity, her father quickly arranged a marriage between her to a Mr. Walter Long, who apparently was a very rich and very elderly gentleman, but not much else. Perhaps sensing the game was up, the age difference, his own mortality, her disinterest (and possible interest elsewhere), Mr. Long withdrew from the engagement a few months later but compensated her with 1000 pounds worth of jewelry and 3000 pounds sterling. Gossip about a possible scandal began, which eventually spawned Samuel Foote’s play The Maid of Bath, playfully satirizing her failed engagement and emotional problems. [3]

Subsequently, Elizabeth became very depressed…but who would come to lift her spirits…and herself out of the country? Find out tomorrow!


[1] William Lowndes, Royal Crescent in Bath: A Fragment of English Life (Bristol, The Redcliffe Press, 1981), 35.
[2] Ibid, 36.
[3] Ibid, 37.

070619. 10/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

June 19, 2007 at 12:58 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Doric Order, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Gardens & Parks, Hokusai, Overcast, river, River Avon, Riverboats, Ships, somerset, Towers | 12 Comments

The series so far…

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The “Cleopatra” in front of Bath’s Parade Garden shore and Hokusai’s Bushu Tamagawa. Right in back of the Cleopatra is where the “Roman Great Drain” empties into the Avon. It leads from the Roman Baths to the Parade Gardens, there it was extended during the medieval period. the short section that now empties into the Avon, right where the ground dips down, was built in the 1960s. The Roman brick drain is the oldest working structure in the city, and one of the oldest continuously working structures in the world. The concrete 1960s section of the drain collapsed last year….“no respect for stones.”

070607. 9/46, Thirty-six Views of Bath Abbey. My tribute to Hokusai’s Fugaku Sanju Rokkei

June 7, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Columns, Fugaku Sanju Rokkei, Hokusai, Ionic Order, Light and Shadow, people, somerset, Tabernacles, Towers | 6 Comments

The series so far…

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Here’s the West Facade of Bath Abbey through architect Thomas Baldwin’s Pump Room Colonnade (with the Pump Room and the Roman Baths behind) compared with Hokusai’s Bushi Senju.

070606.Bath, Pirates at the Gate

June 6, 2007 at 8:12 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, doorways, Overcast, people, Sculpture, somerset | 10 Comments

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Here in this coda, the Abbey doors are being closed after the procession:
“Mayoral Procession Part 4 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
Opened or being closed is quite rare,
but these people out front really don’t care.

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070605.Bath, God Is in the Details

June 5, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Columns, Corinthian Order, doorways, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, somerset, Stained Glass | 5 Comments

Mayoral Procession Part 3 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
Bath Abbey welcomes The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Mrs Sharon Ball — the city’s 780th mayor! 070603.31.SO.Bath
I was going to title this “Take a Picture, I’ll Last Longer” and bring attention to the other digital camera screen in the lower left hand corner but I thought again about bringing attention to that off center screen. This scene is special for me since I’ve never seen these wonderful sixteenth-century doors opened (or looked directly into this fine Perpendicular Gothic structure from the outside) — but note that I am in the center and therefore I got the better picture when compared to the camera screen in the lower left hand (right?). What does that say about me — I live here and I took the prize spot away from a passing tourist (I presume the people near me were tourists since they seemed to only speak Japanese). I didn’t stay in the spot after I had taken this shot, so at least I wasn’t overly greedy….still maybe I should have just cropped or photoshopped the camera screen out. In the end, I kept it in because it fascinates me! I can see someone else’s picture…maybe even before they saw it! Considering the focus of this photo was the traditional mayoral procession from the historic Guildhall into the Abbey, and in historic costumes no less, the camera screen adds an almost anachronistically presence to this composition! It surprises even me and I’m not old. Honest.
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I really love the costumes and the characters in them. I’m sure they’re all prestigious city councilors but something about wigs, stockings, and funny hats really brings out a caricature in a person — especially if they’re English. What I like about the above photo is the total disregard of the two girls in the rear, sitting against the abbey facade and painting a “Pirates of the Caribbean” ad on the pavement. You’ll see them better tomorrow.
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070604.Bath, Competing Reds: Mayor v. Bus, Who Will Win?

June 4, 2007 at 8:28 AM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Overcast, people, somerset | 8 Comments

Mayoral Procession Part 2 of 3: From the Guildhall, Around the Abbey, Into the Abbey
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What’s red, black and gold,
In the middle of the road,
and about to be hit by a bus?
BATH CITY MAYOR!

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The mayoral procession marching in the middle of the road from yesterday’s Guildhall to tomorrow’s Abbey west door. See the costumes they are wearing here.

Bath has a new mayor now, our 780th!: The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Bath, Councillor Mrs Sharon Ball! And the theme for this year has been decreed as “Caring.” As usual, brace yourselves for the ruthless change.

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