A Magnificent Sunset

Early today I watched the Channel 4 broadcast of the first day’s play at the fourth Test Match between India and England.

After lunch I scanned some more colour slides. This is the last of those from Kensal Green Cemetery, made in May 2008. A lengthy preview of Mark Olden’s ‘Murder in Notting Hill’ features the inscription of this grave of Eugene Henry Draggon, known as Jingles. https://www.google.co.uk/books/edition/Murder_in_Notting_Hill/LKRblqxEUDkC?

Late in December of 2008 I received a phone call from an excited John Turpin, who wrote the text of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ informing me that there was a splendid sunset at Kensal Green and urging me to visit and photograph it before it disappeared. I duly obliged.

The last picture in this gallery contains

the rather weather worn memorial to Thomas Taplin Cooke.

According to Wikipedia, he ‘was born in Warwick in 1782 the son of Thomas Cooke and his wife, Mary Ann.[3]

He took over his father’s circus around 1810. In the autumn of 1830, following a pleasurable visit from King William IV and Queen Adelaide, the company adopted the name “Royal Circus” and retained this name for the remainder of their existence.[1]

In 1835 the circus had a semi-permanent structure in Edinburgh (a circular timber structure) at the north end of Lothian Road but this had to be later moved when the Caledonian Railway was built. At this point (c.1850) the circus moved to Nicolson Street, where it was later surplanted by the Empire theatre (now known as the Festival Theatre).[4]

In 1836 he chartered “The Royal Stuart” from Greenock[5] and two smaller vessels to convey the whole circus to America. 40 of the 130 artists were members of the Cooke family. This extended trip included prolonged programmes in New YorkBoston and Walnut Street Philadelphia. At this stage their “pattern” was to erect a large circular building of a temporary nature (normally in wood). It is unclear how long this American tour was intended to last, but it met an abrupt end during their stay in  Baltimore on 3 February 1838, when the Front Street Theater burnt down (note- there is some confusion as two “Front Street Theaters burnt down within 5 weeks of each other: Baltimore on 5 Jan 1838, Buffalo on 3 February 1838).[6] The Cookes lost 50 horses and many items of wardrobe and props in this fire.

It appears that the circus had been used to operating from large theatres up to this point. Either during the American tour or following the fire disaster, Taplin Cooke, had a very large circular tent constructed. After a few more months in Philadelphia, he returned to Britain in the summer of 1838 with this large tent, which freed up the possible locations for the circus.[1]

One very dramatic equestrian show was “Mazeppa” based on a poem by Byron, first performed in Philadelphia in 1838 and still playing until at least 1843 when it was showing at Birmingham in England. This concept was borrowed from Andrew Ducrow‘s show Mazeppa of 1831.[7] In 1846 a similar style of show was based on the life of Dick Turpin.’

Cooke died in 1866. His memorial contains a mourning horse and a child reading.

There is further information on details depicted here in the post ‘Where Is The Body?’ The sphinx is from the grave of the above mentioned Andrew Ducrow, and the Raj Guard from that of Gen. Sir William Casement.

A black and white image of William Mulready containing an explanatory plaque appears in ‘Ninon Michaelis’

I know neither whose hat and gloves have fallen with their broken plinth, nor what is being celebrated in this intriguing bas relief.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s excellent Jalfrezi dinner, complete with beverages, which meant I opened another bottle of the Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, and toasted Yvonne.

Ninon Michaelis

The sun kept away today, and the cloud-wrapped air was mild.

To increase seasonal confusion the winter flowering cherry has bloomed early and nudges crab apples normally stripped by blackbirds by now.

This camellia is a very early spring bloomer, but never a November one.

Fuchsias like Delta’s Sarah and Mrs Popple just go on and on;

what is Margaret Merril doing distributing her summer scents over the latter?

This pink climber; the deep magenta Gloriana; gently blushing Crown Princess Margareta; never-ending For Your Eyes Only; dewy Mamma Mia; and ever-prolific Absolutely Fabulous still, beyond their normal spans, cling to life.

Even Winchester Cathedral has turned its back on Autumn.

Fatsia knows when to flower;

as for bidens, pelargoniums, and penstemon, they have no idea when to stop.

This afternoon the skies gently leaked and I scanned the last few black and white negatives produced from Kensal Green Cemetery in May 2008.

One of the most skilfully carved monuments in this, the earliest of “The Magnificent Seven” landscaped London cemeteries, stands in honour of Ninon Michaelis (c1864-1895) who ‘was the first wife of Maximilian (Max) Michaelis (1852-1932), a German-South African financier and diamond magnate. Max Michaelis was a partner in the mining company of Wernher, Beit & Co., and came to England in 1891 as the firm’s London director. An avid collector of paintings, he donated a magnificent collection of Dutch masters to the South African government, and endowed the Michaelis School of Fine Arts in the University of Cape Town. He was knighted in 1924. Ninon Michaelis was named as a popular figure in reviews of troops in South Africa. In May 1895, at the age of 31, she died of syncope (fainting), pneumonia and alcoholism. Also deposited in the vault beneath the monument are the remains of Max’s brother Gustav Michaelis (c1858-1901). Ownership of the vault passed to Maximilian’s second wife, Lillian Elizabeth Burton, whom he married in 1908, and who is recorded as the owner of the plot in 1932……..’

‘The monument is attributed to Henry Alfred Pegram (1862-1937). Pegram entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1881 and exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1884.’ (https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1246089).

A side view of this sculpture of artist Wiliam Mulready appears in the book so I will not reproduce it here.

Sorrowful angels populate these Victorian burial grounds.

Another sealed up mausoleum is this one erected for Sir Patrick O’Brien.

His obituary in the International Catholic News weekly reported ‘The death of SIR PATRICK O’BRIEN, BART., on April 25, is announced. The deceased Baronet was the eldest son of the late Sir Timothy O’Brien, Bart. When the Corporation of Dublin was reformed in 1840, Daniel O’Connell was elected the first Catholic Chief Magistrate of the City since the penal times. Sir Timothy O’Brien was the second, and he was again subsequently elected when it became known that the Queen was to pay her first visit to Ireland. It was on this occasion, 1849, that the honour of a Baronetcy was conferred. He had then been member for Cashel since 1845 and continued such till 1857.’ (http://ukcdngenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/08/a-london-cemetery-blumberg-obrien-and.html)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-matured spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender green beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Valle Central Reserva Privado Merlot 2019.