22 Jan 2017
in 19th century, anglophile, drama, History, Masterpiece
Tags: elaborate, historical drama, historical fiction, Jenna Coleman, Masterpiece, Victoria
Masterpiece’s new drama, Victoria, stars Jenna Coleman as the famed British queen. Beginning when Victoria’s uncle dies and she changes her name from Alexandrina to use Victoria, her middle name, and she becomes the monarch.
From the start Jenna Coleman’s Victoria stands up for herself opposing the manipulative Sir John and her plotting uncle.
After two episodes, I’m drawn in and eager to see how Victoria handles her power and how she and Albert finally end up together. In episode two the focus is on the question of whom Victoria will marry. Her heart, she believes, belongs to Lord Melbourne, her prime minister whose wife ran off with Lord Byron, the poet. In the drama, he lets Victoria know that they can never be together.
The first episodes feature sumptuous costumes and settings. The story moves along nicely. There’s a B story focused on a maid, who’s hiding her past working in a bordello. I’m not sure where that’s going. The maid is elusive and stand offish with the cook, who tries to get to know her. That story hasn’t grabbed me, but perhaps in time, I’ll develop more of an interest.
Victoria has a different feel and tone than Downton Abbey or Poldark, so it shouldn’t be judged on their terms. In its own right it’s a fine drama.
18 Jan 2017
in 19th century, art, art museum, expat life, travel
Tags: architecture, art, Australia, Sydney
Indigenous Art at New South Wales National Gallery
Sculpture at “The Rocks”
Sydney’s General Post Office (aka GPO)
17 Jan 2017
in 19th century, architecture, expat life, Weekly Photo Challenge
Tags: ambience, Australia, library, Melbourne, postaday, postaweek, reading, State Library of Victoria, traditional, Victoria
State Library Victoria, Australia
1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.
2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.
3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.
Other Weekly Photo Challenge photos:
16 Jan 2017
in 19th century, expat life, History, museum
Tags: Australia, convicts, female convicts, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, UNESCO World Heritage Site
Female Convict clothing and belongings
Female dormitory, Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney Australia
Painting of an execution, Hyde Park Barracks Museum
16 Jan 2017
in 19th century, expat life, museum, travel
Tags: Australia, history, Hyde Park Barracks Museum, New South Wales, Sydney, UNESCO World Heritage Site
To get a good understanding of Australia’s convict history, visit Sydney’s Hyde Park Barracks Museum. An UNESCO World Heritage site, the Hyde Park Barracks Museum shows how the convicts lived in the 19th century.
A Short History
Until the U.S. won the American Revolution, England sent convicts to the American colonies. After the U.S. became independent, England had to find a new place to get rid of its convicts and with the recent exploration of Australia, that became the place.
At first convicts could live wherever they liked, but in the early 19th century the governor of Australia figured it would be better to put them in barracks. In 1819 the Hyde Park Barracks was completed and opened.
Over the years it was used to house convicts, Irish orphans, and poor women before becoming a court house. (For more history see: http://sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/hyde-park-barracks-museum)
The Hyde Park Barracks museum is a bright, well curated museum offering well designed exhibits that provide facts and narratives so that visitors get a good grounding in the history from a wide and personal perspective. You’ll learn about Bennelong, an aboriginal man who was friends with Australia’s first governor, Arthur Phillip and about a woman who managed the women’s dormitory while raising 14 children.
When you pay for your ticket, the clerk will offer you a free audio guide in the language of your choice, this guide enhanced the experience giving still more interesting insights into the history.
Bennelong – far right
Admission: Adults $12, Families $30, Concession (not sure what that means) $8
02 Jan 2017
in 19th century, book review, French, literature
Tags: Emile Zola, The Macquart, The Rougons
What a crazy family! Well, that’s not quite right. They aren’t outright crazy, they’re just greedy, selfish, venial social climbers for the most part.
Emile Zola’s 20 novel series, Rougons-Macquart, begins with The Fortunes of the Rougons, which I’ve relished. I’m on determined to read all 20 books about the two sides of a family descended from Adelaide Fouque whose legitimate son spawns the Rougon side of the family and whose two illegitimate children are the start of the Macquart side.
Set in provincial France, the story opens with two young lovers, Silvère and Miette, marching with hopeful revolutionaries participating in a coup d’état led by republicans trying to wrest power the elites who’ve neglected the needs of the working class.
The story shifts back a generation to Adélaïde Fouque, who marries Rougon, a gardener, and they have a son Pierre. When Rougon dies Adélaïde takes a lover, Macquart, who’s a drunk and something of an odd ball. With Marquart Adélaïde has two illegitimate children, Antoine and Ursule. Antoine and Pierre are particularly at odds with each other especially after Pierre fools his mother into giving him control of her money.
This first book sets the stage for struggles and troubles to come as I’m seeing in the second book, The Kill. Zola’s style moves fast and I find learning about the French history of the Second Empire.
04 Aug 2016
in 19th century, poetry, Uncategorized
Tags: Good night, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Romantic
It’s Shelley’s birthday today so I offer this –
Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill
Which severs those it should unite;
Let us remain together still,
Then it will be good night.
How can I call the lone night good,
Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight?
Be it not said, thought, understood —
Then it will be — good night.
To hearts which near each other move
From evening close to morning light,
The night is good; because, my love,
They never say good-night.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
04 Jul 2016
in 19th century, American, American literature, classic, poem, poetry
Tags: freedom, independence, individualism, inspiring, Leaves of Grass, natural, rebellous, Walt Whitman
I grabbed this portion of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” from The Writer’s Almanac:
This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.
It seemed fitting for July 4th.
08 Jun 2016
in 19th century, anglophile, book review, books
Tags: "North and South", Gaskell, Industiral Revolution, novel
In June my online book club read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Since I’v seen the BBC series, I knew I’d like it, but I really liked it more than I expected. North and South has been billed as a Pride and Prejudice with social issues thrown in. That’s not a bad quick summary of the novel.
Briefly, it’s the story of country girl, Margaret Hale getting uprooted from her lovely pastoral Helstone and plucked down in gritty, smoky Milton a factory town in the midst of the Industrial Revolution. There she comes to know both the Higgins family, who work in the mills and whose daughter is sickened due to the horrible conditions in her mill and the Thornton’s whose grown son owns a major mill.
Gaskell’s got a light touch so the story’s not overwhelmed by the social issues, yet in her lifetime, many readers criticized her for siding with the workers to the degree that she did.
I liked the characters Gaskell crafted and the even-handed debates they had on labor relations. As you might guess, Margaret and Mr. Thornton are polar opposites for most of the story, yet develop an attraction. While that’s nothing new, Gaskell handles the relationship well, so you’re pulled in.
The story moves a long and contains several quotations that I’ve marked.
A good read, indeed.
02 Jun 2016
in 19th century, art, classic film, New Year's Resolution Old Movie Challenge, postaday, postaweek
Tags: biography, biopic, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, John Huston, Moulin Rouge, painter, pretty good
I didn’t know John Huston directed Moulin Rouge in 1952. A friend, who also likes old movies, shared a couple DVDs with me and this is one of them. I never saw the 2001 Moulin Rouge (and probably won’t because it sounds like a very different story).
Huston’s Moulin Rouge is a biopic, the story of the famous painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. Lautrec, played convincingly by José Ferrer, frequents this cabaret where all the colorful characters of 19th century Paris convene to dance, drink and often fight (not only the men, but he ladies). Lautrec was born into a noble family. At and early age he is injured falling down the stairs and the doctors fail to repair his bones as they should. Thus Lautrec’s growth is stunted making him a social misfit.
Yes, he’s witty, smart and talented, but when his first love rejects him running from the room when he declares his love, Lautrec decides he’ll never fit in the country, in his father’s world so he heads to Paris and paints the dancers and clowns at the Moulin Rouge and shares drinks and barbs with the best artists of his day: Cezanne, Monet, etc.
Twice in his life he meets a pivotal woman. The first is a low class manipulator and I pitied Henri as he pined for this deceptive sponge. Later he meets a woman worthy of love, but he’s too jaded to expect that a woman would really love him.
I didn’t expect much of this film, mainly because I’d never heard of it. I found it an absorbing biography of a witty, fascinating artist.