(The images are quite hi-res, so it make take a while to load them fully.)
A few weeks ago, I was kindly allowed to have a rummage through the bookshelves of Trelissick house in Cornwall. Grand old houses often seem to be full of forgotten books and anthologies of newspapers, crammed with stories, adverts and old discoveries. I managed to get a look at three before I ran out of time and had to get a boat back down the river to Falmouth.
Meeting The Inuit
The account of Sir John Ross’s 2nd Arctic expedition. They become trapped in ice over winter when they are helped by a nearby Inuit settlement. Sir Ross’s men allow an old Inuit man to walk again by making him a wooden leg. In return the Inuit draw maps of the local area, which are eventually used to aid the ship’s escape from Greenland.
Also, the lovely book jacket of Sunshine and Storm by Mrs Brassey.
The Illustrated London News
Assorted adverts from January – June 1889. My personal favourite is of course the asthma-curing Cigars De Joy.
Also in the London News were some very odd illustrated drop-caps. They’re impressively detailed, and although they're a bit naff, there is a charm to their oddity.
A Victorian Court Room
This impressive illustration (below) is of the 1888 ‘Parnell Inquiry Commission’. The body was setup after an Irish parlimentarian, Charles Stewart Parnell, was accused of involvement in the murder of two members of the British Government in Ireland, Lord Frederick Cavendish and T.H. Burke. They were stabbed to death in Phoenix Park, Dublin by the Irish National Invincibles in 1882.
Five years later, in 1887, The Times published a series of articles called ‘Parnellism and Crime’, containing letters supposedly written by Parnell that condoned the murder of Burke. In the uproar that followed the ‘Parnell Commission’ was created to investigate.
Unfortunately for The Times (who, in the end, paid a substantial out-of-court settlement) the letters were proved to be forgeries. Richard Pigott (in the witness box, bearded and with a monocle, like all good villians), a former supporter of Irish nationalism and who hated Parnell, was the forger – he fled to Madrid, where he shot himself.
Parnell was vindicated, but the inquiry did find evidence that suggested that some of his MPs condoned or advocated the violence. (source).