I Did As I Was Told

Today Nick Hayter continued turning our kitchen into a magazine-worthy product such as it can never have been since the house was built.

In the meantime I scanned another batch of colour slides from

Highgate West cemetery, mostly from September 2008.

The bluebells in this image including the gravestone of Henry and Eric Holgate, suggest and earlier month in the year.

The Egyptian Avenue reflects the Victorian fascination with that culture.

One of the mausoleums in another avenue contains the remains of Marguerite Radclyffe-Hall who still receives floral tributes after her death in 1943. brittanica.com writes of her:

Radclyffe Hall, byname of Marguerite Radclyffe-hall, (born Aug. 12, 1880, BournemouthHampshire, Eng.—died Oct. 7, 1943, London), English writer whose novel The Well of Loneliness (1928) created a scandal and was banned for a time in Britain for its treatment of lesbianism.

Hall was educated at King’s CollegeLondon, and then attended school in Germany. She began her literary career by writing verses, which were later collected into five volumes of poetryThe Blind Ploughman, one of her best-known poems, was set to music by Conigsby Clarke. By 1924 she had written her first two novels, The Forge and The Unlit Lamp. The latter book was her first to treat lesbian love. Adam’s Breed (1926), a sensitive novel about the life of a restaurant keeper, won the coveted Prix Fémina and the 1927 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.

Hall’s fame turned to notoriety with the publication of The Well of Loneliness,in which she explored in detail the attachment between a young girl and an older woman. The intense and earnest love story was condemned by the British, and a London magistrate, Sir Chartres Biron, ruled that although the book was dignified and restrained, it presented an appeal to “decent people” to not only recognize lesbianism but also understand that the person so afflicted was not at fault. He judged the book an “obscene libel” and ordered all copies of it destroyed. Later, a decree handed down in a U.S. court disagreed with Biron, finding that discussion of homosexuality was not in itself obscene. The British ban on The Well of Loneliness was eventually overturned on appeal after Hall’s death.’

The plinth in the first of these two pictures bear a grieving bas-relief; others sculpted statues.

John Turpin and I were part of a group taking a booked and paid for tour which was the only way possible to visit Highgate West. I was admonished by what I considered to be an over-zealous guide as a stood on a further stretch of undergrowth to focus on the grave of Carl Rosa, his second wife, and a daughter. Like a good boy I did as I was told.

Carl August Nicholas Rosa (22 March 1842 – 30 April 1889) was a German-born musical impresario best remembered for founding an English opera company known as the Carl Rosa Opera Company. He started his company in 1869 together with his wife, Euphrosyne Parepa-Rosa, and popularised opera in Britain and America, performing standard repertory in English, as well as operas by English composers.

Rosa was born Karl August Nikolaus Rose in Hamburg, Germany, the son of Ludwig Rose, a Hamburg businessman, and Sophie Becker.[1]His father subsequently took him to Edinburgh. A child prodigy, Rosa toured in Scotland from age 12 to age 16, eventually earning glowing notices.[2][3] Beginning in 1859, he studied at the Conservatorium at Leipzig (where he met and became lifelong friends with Arthur Sullivan)[3]and, in 1862, in Paris.

In 1863, Rosa was appointed Konzertmeister at Hamburg, where he had occasional opportunities to conduct.[1] Three years later he visited England, appearing as a soloist at the Crystal Palace. He had considerable success as a conductor both in England and the United States. He travelled to America in 1866 as a member of a concert troupe promoted by the Baltimore impresario Hezekiah Linthicum Bateman that also included the Scottish operatic soprano Euphrosyne Parepa. During this tour, on 26 February 1867 in New York City, he married Parepa, who became known as Madame Parepa-Rosa.[4]

In 1869, in collaboration with the Chicago impresario C. D. Hess, the couple formed the Parepa Rosa English Opera Company in New York and toured in America for three seasons, with Parepa as the star and Rosa as the conductor. It brought grand opera to places in America that had never seen any, performing Italian operas in English, which made them more accessible to American audiences. In 1872, the Rosas returned to England and also visited Europe and Egypt.[4] Rosa changed the spelling of his name after he moved to England, where people took “Rose” as a monosyllable.[1]

In 1873 Rosa and his wife started the Carl Rosa Opera Company (the change in name reflecting her pregnancy) with a performance of William Vincent Wallace‘s Maritana in Manchester on 1 September,[5] and then toured England and Ireland. Rosa’s policy was to present operas in English, and that remained the company’s practice.[6] That year, Rosa invited the dramatist W. S. Gilbert to write a libretto for Rosa to present as part of a planned 1874 season at the Drury Lane Theatre. Gilbert expanded one of the comic Bab Ballads that he had written for Fun magazine[7]into a one-act libretto titled Trial by Jury.[8] Parepa died in January 1874; Rosa dropped the project and cancelled his planned 1874 season.[8][n 1]Rosa later endowed a Parepa-Rosa scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He married a second time in 1881. With his second wife, Josephine (d. 1927), he had four children.[1]Carl Rosa startled by the bogey of Italian Opera in an 1886 cartoon by Alfred Bryan

The company’s first London season opened at the Princess’s Theatre in September 1875, playing The Marriage of Figaro, with Charles Santley as Figaro and Rose Hersee as Susanna. In 1876, Rosa staged a second London season, which featured the first performance in English of The Flying Dutchman with Santley in the title role.[5] For the next fifteen years, under Rosa’s guidance, the company prospered and earned good notices, with provincial tours and London seasons, frequently in conjunction with Augustus Harris at the Drury Lane Theatre.[1] Such was the success of the company that at one point three Carl Rosa touring troupes were set up.[5] Rosa hired Alberto Randegger as the musical director of the company from 1879 to 1885. In 1880, George Grove wrote: “The careful way in which the pieces are put on the stage, the number of rehearsals, the eminence of the performers and the excellence of the performers have begun to bear their legitimate fruit, and the Carl Rosa Opera Company bids fair to become a permanent English institution.”[10] In 1892, Rosa’s Grand Opera Company gave a command performance of La fille du régiment at Balmoral Castle.[5]

Rosa introduced many works of important opera repertoire to England for the first time, performing some 150 different operas over the years. Besides Santley and Hersee, Minnie HaukJoseph MaasBarton McGuckin and Giulia Warwick were some of the famous singers associated with the company during its early years.[11] Rosa also encouraged and supported new works by English composers. Frederic Hymen Cowen‘s Pauline (1876), Arthur Goring Thomas‘s Esmeralda (1883), Alexander Mackenzie‘s  Colomba (1883) and The Troubabour, and Charles Villiers Stanford‘s The Canterbury Pilgrims (1884) were commissioned by the company. Earlier English operas by Wallace, Balfe and Julius Benedict were also included in the company’s repertoire.[4] An obituarist noted, “He had long looked forward to the time when Sir Arthur Sullivan would have undertaken a grand opera, and to the last had hoped to have been able to produce such a work.”[2] Shortly before his death, Rosa launched a light opera company that debuted with Robert Planquette‘s Paul Jones.[1]Tomb of Rosa, his second wife Josephine and daughter Violet, Highgate Cemetery, London’ (Wikipedia)

For this evening’s dinner Jackie produced a thick and fluffy cheese and onion omelette and oven chips with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.


  1. Your kitchen is going to look lovely when it is all done. I like the wall color, too.

    From the photos, the mausoleums seem to be lined up like houses along streets in the City of the Dead. You help keep their stories alive. I wonder if their apparitions walk about at night?

  2. I am looking forward to photos of your kitchen when finished.
    You promise color slides, Derrick, yet immediately the second one is black and white, and then one more a bit later. I found it amusing. Both biographies made fascinating reading, especially Carl Rosa’s and his Opera Company. Although it doesn’t state which musical instrument he played as a prodigy, I would assume it was violin, since he became a concertmaster, before going on to his further career.

  3. Nick’s work does look very smart, indeed!
    The leaf carpeted path in Highgate cemetery is so pretty,
    as are the bluebells, amongst slightly raggedy grass, around the tombstones.
    Lovely resting places.

  4. Your painter is doing a grand job and so are you promoting his work. He’s going to be so busy after decorating your kitchen. Cemeteries are so fascinating.

  5. I enjoy watching a man work. Your painter moved along expeditiously. I also give a hearty cheers to a painter who is confident enough about his skills that he doesn’t need to mask adjoining surfaces.

  6. This group of cemetary photos is particuarly atmospheric and evocative. All the different shades of mottled brown in the header photo are so very sad. I’m particularly drawn to the black and white photo with the vegetation in the foreground, the partially obscured headstone, and the unobscured cross in the void behind it.

    My immediate thought on see the title of this post come across my email was it would make a great title for a novel.

  7. This is an encyclopaedic edition of the chronicle. The images have captured the mood of the past, gloomy, mouldy, lichen-laden and tortuous at times. Human values can be complicated, but the end result is all the same.

  8. I can’t help wondering what Euphrosyne [you-fro-zen-nee] was called both as a child and as a wife. I cannot imagine calling out “Watch out Euphrosyne!” should she be in danger of being bowled over by a runaway pony, for example.

  9. Nick is amazing. I’m glad you have such good help with your house and garden. Lovely old cemetery. I especially like the leafy path with the steps.

  10. Nick knows how to straddle the ladder and do amazing work! YAY, Nick! 😉

    Your photos and history-sharing from your cemetery photos are always a honor to see and learn from. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  11. Judging by most of those tombs, I would have had to start saving for mine as soon as I left school at 13. It might be an idea to have a serious think about which magazine would best fit our various kitchens. We chose cupboards rather than radiators in ours, so I would have to go for “Alaskan Living”.

  12. I missed this post, but now I’ve already seen the results of Nick’s work! ?
    Always interesting sights (and sites) at the cemetery. I read Well of Loneliness when I was a teen. I think maybe my sister found a copy in a used book store. I don’t really remember it, but it certainly wasn’t shocking.

  13. It looks like an illuminated kitchen with enough natural light through the windows. The white color on the ceiling will bring even more light. Good job.

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