Spooks and Spiders

Five young women entered Merton Hall, later Newnham College, in 1871, and in 1872 eight arrived: Emma Brooke  (the future novelist and poet), Jane Richardson, Jane Smith, Elizabeth Style, Helen Sullivan, Kate Vokins, Helena Wilkins and Charlotte Martin. This is an undated photograph of Merton Hall but it must be between 1871 and 1875 when Newnham College was established, so one of the young women just might be Charlotte Martin/Wilson.


Charlotte Wilson (1854-1944), the subject of this week’s Post, was an anarchist and feminist who ‘played a leading part in establishing a serious and lasting anarchist paper at a critical time in the growth of the socialist movement, and encouraged serious and influential research into women’s issues at a critical time in the growth of the feminist movement’ (ODNB).  One of her achievements was helping Maud Pember Reeves and other members of the Fabian Women’s Group to compile Round about a Pound a Week. She was brought up at Kemerton on Bredon Hill, where her father Robert Spencer Martin was a doctor, and then went to nearby Cheltenham Ladies’ College.

Talmage, Algernon, 1871-1939; Silver Morning, Aldeburgh Beach

Silver Morning, Aldeburgh Beach 1932 is by the wonderfully named Algernon Talmage (1871-1939). It can be seen at the Bushey Museum and Art Gallery. And is definitely on the shortlist for the cover of the new, Classic edition of The Fortnight in September (1931) which we publish next year.

Rowe, Cliff, 1904-1989; Three Women Talking

Three Women Talking by Cliff Rowe (1904-89) is at the People’s History Museum at the so appropriately named Left Bank in Manchester. There is a useful page about Rowe here; he was one of the Communist friends of Ray Russell, the lover of  Elizabeth Taylor (and cf. the piece about The Other Elizabeth Taylor by Emily Books).


The Beach 1929 by Alfred Victor Fournier (any relation of Alain-Fournier?) can be bought as a print. This would be soothing to have in the office. Nb. people ask us often about the vintage posters we have in the shop. There are occasionally auctions, for example Ewbanks have one in early September, details here.

A Friendly Call

On top of our European woes we have had website woes, the latter is now fixed, let’s hope the former will be as well! This is WM Chase A Friendly Call 1895, it’s at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, details here:  ‘The setting for the painting is  William Merritt Chase’s own studio at his summer home near Shinnecock, Long Island. A new vogue for Oriental aesthetics accounts for the bamboo chair, reed floor mats, and silk wall hangings. Such elegance transforms a functional workroom into a private exhibition gallery. The painter’s wife, Alice Gerson Chase, greets an unidentified caller. According to the rigid social etiquette of the 1890s, the hostess has not yet asked—or may never permit—her guest to relax, put down her parasol, and remove her gloves, hat, and veil.’

The Tea Party copy

This week on the Post: women talking things over. There is a lot of that in the UK at the moment as we come through 1) denial and 2) anger and lurch into 3) bargaining; 4) depression is presumably just round the corner. August Haerning (1874-1961) was Danish, The Tea Party is undated but has a 1930s feel,

Hamilton Friday

Finally, two more cartoons from William Hamilton’s Authors at Work series. Now off to find some of William Hamilton’s books…


There is really no comment to be made about this cartoon (it first appeared in The New Yorker on 2 June 2003) since it is so sickeningly apposite at the moment. William Hamilton was a genius: profound, compassionate, acute, wise, cynical (acutely cynical) and above all so, so funny.


After William Hamilton died in April, The New Yorker wrote about him, and tributes flooded in; one of them was from Roz Chast: ‘William Hamilton was the real thing. His cartoons had a distinctive visual style and voice. They took place in a specific world: that of upper-middle class, socially ambitious, attractive men and women, at home, at cocktail parties, and in restaurants. They were ‘Hamilton people.’ His cartoons were funny, but they were not just jokes. They were closely observed social critiques done by someone who was both inside and outside of the world he was critiquing. I often think of one or another of his cartoons. One of my favorites is of a Hamiltonesque couple at a restaurant with their adult son and daughter and they all have cocktails. The mother or father says, ‘It’s so much easier now that the children are our age’ (rest of the New Yorker piece here).

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