Archive for May, 2010
Stop reading my blog and switch on the telly.
is NOW on BBC2. It will be followed by documentary “Revealing Anne Lister”.
Anne Lister, 1791–1840, was a Yorkshire landowner, industrialist, traveller and diarist. She was also a lesbian who, despite needing to keep her orientation secret from society at large, defied the conventions of her times by living with her female lover.
What the hell, BBC! I’m a regular viewer, and I haven’t seen ONE trailer, NO promotion at all. What’s the point of such a production if you don’t promote it?! Did somebody get cold feet?
Massively Miffed Molly here!
I’m currently working on a diorama which will eventually house my navy dolls (among them Admiral Lord Collingwood, also known as Old Cudd(l)y). That’s the perfect excuse to have a closer look at a fascinating sub-category of model making: maritime dioramas.
A diorama is a three-dimensional miniature model, sometimes inside a glass case or dome. If we go by that definition, we could say that bottle ships are the most popular and best known dioramas. I don’t know where the following comes from, and it’s probably not the type of bottle ship you’re used to, but you must admit: it’s amazing.
Sailors often spent their spare time with carving or model making, and of course they drew their inspiration from their environment. Some dioramas show ships, others scenes of daily naval life. Here you can see a wonderful example, dating back to the Napoleonic wars and of British origin, showing French prisoners of war. If you look very closely, you can see that one man in the diorama is working on a ship model – so it’s a model-in-a-model. Amazing detail and exquisite work, but at the same time, also a very touching historical artifact sized 12 x 4.5 x 6 inches.
The diorama above comes from OneOfAKindAntiques.com – to see more dioramas, enter “diorama” in the search box and hit enter. You’ll be shown the dioramas which are currently on sale. To see all items, you’ll have to check the “search archived/sold items” box in the top right corner and hit enter again. It sounds a bit complicated, but it’s not, and trust me, it’s worth it.
Model making was also a way for prisoners of war to pass their time and maybe earn a little money by selling their artworks to the locals. The following diorama is the work of a French Prisoner of War during the Napoleonic Wars. It shows the model of a 76 gun ship of the line and was made in ca. 1800 and measures 15 x 7 1/2 x 14 3/4 inches.
This diorama here is absolutely stunning. Again the work of a French POW, it’s carved from ivory and measures 10 1/4 x 4 x 8 1/4 inches.
If you should ever visit the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, please make sure that you’ll see the dioramas they have on display. Some of them feature glass paintings which, if a candle is lit behind the case, gives a convincing illusion of movement. They are far more luxurious and glamorous than the models you can see in this post, but it’s probably the work of the ordinary sailors who gives us the most accurate portrayal of daily life.
If you’re curious now and would like to see more, here are some links for you:
Mark Pallis, the Legal & Historical Consultant on “Garrows Law”, posted the official news today on
If you haven’t done so, try to catch up with his previous entries.
Here’s a big thank you to the BBC! Huzzah!
If you’re curious to learn more about 18th century crime, law and discorder, I can really only send you over to Old Bailey Online, one of the most addictive websites for historical geekery.
The morning paper brought intriguing news for Mr. Garrow…
“Andrew Buchan will return as pioneering barrister William Garrow in another four-parter with creator Tony Marchant leading the writing team. The shoot – in Dumbarton – begins in the summer and you can expect it on BBC1 at the end of this year.”
– Feedback page, Radio Times (1 -7 May, 2010)
(Many thanks to Viktor’s Lady, Camille and Liz Hanbury for the heads-up!)
“I admit that there were moments of great worry concerning our future, Mr. Southouse. Whatever took them so long to make a decision? And pray tell, why only four episodes?”
“The BBC had to cut our budget in order to purchase more bow ties for The Doctor and hire bodyguards for Graham Norton.”
“In that case, I shan’t complain. Money well spent, I’d say!”
Meanwhile, at the BBC…
“Fine! Fine! I give in! You’ll get your second series of “Garrow’s Law”! Now let me go, you blasted womenfolk!”