On this wet, windy, Wednesday morning I passed four more of Charles Keeping’s splendid illustrations on my visit to ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ by Charles Dickens.

‘Kit’s mother and the single gentleman, speeding onward in the post-chaise-and-four’ occupies a double page spread.

‘ ‘Aquiline!’ cried Quilp, thrusting in his head, and striking the feature with his fist’, follows with another.

‘ ‘Mr Quilp, elevating his glass, drank to their next merry-meeting in that jovial spot’. Here Mr Keeping produces three recognisable characters, depicting the scene described with sarcasm by Mr Dickens.

‘Nell went out alone to visit the old church’

Having reached this point on such a day, I was prompted to return to my cemeteries project after lunch.

My next batch of colour slides was produced at West Norwood Cemetery in May 2008.

Perhaps the most splendid memorials in Victorian London were those erected here by the Greek shipping community.

An example is the Mortuary Chapel, C1872, attributed to ‘J Oldrid Scott, to the memory of Augustus Ralli. Small Doric temple with tetrastyle portico at each end, all of fossiliferous limestone white for the stylobate and golden for rest of building. In front, pediment and metopes are marble sculptures of religious subjects although compositions are based on Parthenon models. Set back lower side wings with rusticated ends, angle pilasters, plain metopes and narrow windows. Double door with fanlight of fishscale glazing. Handsome painted ceiling inside.’ in 2019 the National Lottery Heritage Fund awarded the Local Authority [Lambeth] a grant under the Parks for People programme which secured funding for the repair of priority monuments. Work is currently progressing on surveys and statutory approvals prior to starting the repair works, which are now anticipated to start in 2021.’ (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1064989). The young man was at Eton College when he died.

There is much skilful statuary. Perhaps a reader may be able to translate the inscription on the child’s plinth.

Yes. I found this mother and son mesmerising from almost any angle.

With the gale winds picking up by mid afternoon, and the sun having spent the day in hiding, we nipped down to

the coast at Milford on sea for some comparison shots with yesterday. The woman had left the shingle and Hurst lighthouse was no longer visible; the Isle of Wight had been towed away.

Colourless rocks and waves had lost their sparkle and breakwaters were largely obscured.

Spray had turned to flying spume-balls carpeting steps to the sea wall over which they sped sailing across the road.

Black headed gulls hung almost stationary on the wind. From the safety of the car

Jackie photographed me failing to focus on them yet having a little more success with the sea.

This evening we dined on firm pork chops topped with sage and onion stuffing; crisp Yorkshire pudding; boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots, broccoli and cauliflower, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Primitivo Salento.


  1. Splendid illustrations and monuments. The mother and son are quite moving.
    I’m sorry to hear about the Isle of Wight. ?

    Jackie really caught you!

  2. I have enjoyed more inimitable illustrations, especially the carriage moving across pages and the figure on Nell incorporated into the flowing lines of the old church. The statues are marvelous, especially the mother and son.

  3. The illustration of the 4 – up is wonderful. Accurately capturing horses is most difficult and this illustrator nailed the four. Too bad that the Isle was stolen. And like other commenters, the mother and son statue is both beautiful and sad.

  4. The illustration of Nell is so beautiful and evocative…and perfect for your post today! Great choice to share!
    Jackie’s amazing photos of you blow me away! And it looks like the wind almost blew you away! Did you see Dorothy or Toto fly by?!
    Wonderful water action photos! Poetic descriptions of your photos! And your cemetery photos are ALWAYS beautiful, heart-touching (Oh, that mother and her son!), and honoring to those are resting there.
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  5. I do love your photos and texts about West Norwood cemetery, Derrick – they bring me ‘home’.
    What an array of noses – the detail in Keepings images conveys so much; each drawing really does ‘tell a thousand words’.
    I think Jackie narrowly escaped photographing you being blown out to sea – thank goodness!
    It does look frighteningly gusty!

    1. Thanks very much, Emma. My paternal grandparents ran a School For The Sons of Gentlemen in Norwood. Just a very few minutes was enough for me on that clifftop

  6. Adore your words here Derrick..
    “Spray had turned to flying spume-balls carpeting steps to the sea wall over which they sped sailing across the road.”
    When the occasion arises I might use some of these, especially ‘spume-balls’…

  7. You and Jackie braved a wild weather day. I agree with Jill, it made me a little nervous seeing you so close to the seawall. Glad you are both home, safe and sound.

    The cemetery photos are always intriguing. It looks like the ground has been shifting in some of those photos. The mother-son statue is beautiful. and invokes sadness.

  8. “…the dew glistened on the green mounds like tears shed by good spirits over the dead.” This beautiful line drew my attention as did the illustration of the church and trees behind the gravestones. Thank you for the mother and child statue that is truly mesmerizing. I see in them a loving bond as they gaze together into eternity. Watch out for that spume!

  9. Wonderful photography of the mother and son statue and of the coast. The sea pictures are worthy of a poster being drawn from them,

  10. Oh, the sea images in the gale… I would love to have been there. I was tempted to go down to the river today but change my mind, the gales are such I doubt if I would have remained upright!

  11. The spume in your header photo looks like snow. The cemetary photos are quite interesting. The one with the faded mosaic and the tilting tomb seem so sad. The mother and son statue is beautiful, albeit badly discolored.

  12. I bet you are looking forward to spingtime sunshine and colorful flowers again in your garden. I know I am more than ready for the cold and wet weather to be done for this year!

  13. The statuary is truly mesmerising. You appear to have captured a veritable treasure of cemetery monuments. Your endeavours at the seafronts have been given visual treatment by Jackie.

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