The Diary Extracts 1 April 1859 - 23 December 1874
1 April 1859 – [Princess Theatre – Henry V with Kean] I like it better than any play I have seen.
29 April – R.A. Very fine one of Marie Antoinette, by Ward.
2 Aug. – My fourteenth birthday – Blantyre gave me later in the day a pair of candlesticks. Very pretty (they were French), two little boys supporting each a drum on his head.
10 Sept. – [Dunrobin] I rode to the late Mr Loch’s memorial, it is very beautiful. Went on the shore.
12 Sept. – In coming from fishing (I was riding A.’s Bluto) I ran over a little child but did not hurt it except cutting its lip. I must go and see about him [crossed out] it tomorrow.
13 Sept. – Rode to Brora to see the child, it is better.
7 Oct. – We went to see the new fountain at Holyrood. It is very pretty.
8 Oct. [In Edinburgh] we went to Blackwood’s and I bought the first volume of Routledge’s Shakespeare, illustrated by Gilbert (beautifully). I hope to get the two others soon.
2 Nov. – Evy brought me from Edinburgh the second volume of Gilbert’s Shakespeare. It is wonderfully better than the first, Henry V wonderfully illustrated.
5 Nov. - Began a drawing from the second volume of Shakespeare.
6 Nov. – Painted yesterday’s drawing.
11 Nov. – I bought the new Almanac for 1860. Beautifully coloured prints of butterflies.
13 Jan. 1860 – At half past 11 drove to the potteries, with the Kildares. Caroline gave me 3 beautiful little vases, in one, with violets painted on them, and Kildare a very pretty little egg cup.
14 Jan. – Yesterday Marajah [sic] Dulip Singh came. He is an Indian Prince. He wore a beautiful collar of pearls and an immense emerald.
22 March – In the evening I bought a photograph of our picture of Strafford’s execution.
14 April – To Madame Tussaud with [illegible] and Albert.
30 April – I began a copy of one of the Saint’s heads by Carlo Dolci in Mamma’s dressing room.
2 May – [ Visit to R.A. Private View] A beautiful one by Dyce, St John leading home the Virgin, perhaps a little hard. A fine Landseer, a flood in the Highlands, a very clever and beautifully painted picture by Frith, Claude Duval, when the page of the Duke of Richmond, having taken to the road, waylaid on a common or ladies’ coach, on which there was a booty of 400£, took only 100 and suffered the owner to ransom the rest by dancing a Taranto with him on the heath. A good one by Elmore, the Mall in the Tuileries.
9 May – Old Watercolour exhibition [admires work by F. Taylor] two pictures which I remember him painting at Dunrobin last year, some calves and some dogs (called Expectation). There is also a very pretty picture by him called Changing the Posture. Splendid picture by John Gilbert called The King’s Drums and Kettledrums. Very fine.
10 May – Went and saw Fred Taylor in his new house opposite the Argylls at Campden Hill. He has got a very jolly studio, large and bright, in which he can have horses brought, from a little garden at the back.
15 May – [watercolours in the diary, of a bird’s nest and a view looking down at the river, done at Cliveden – the bird’s nest is inscribed “Done on the spot “. R. says of the view “It is a failure. I was not able to finish it”]
21 May – Mamma’s birthday. I gave her the copy of the Carlo Dolci, and a matchbox, in the form of a hollow trunk of a tree, with coloured beetles on it.
8 Jun – Mamma gave me a delightful book (that she bought in Edinburgh), Painting Popularly Explained. I have begun to read it, and like it very much.
9 June - I forgot to say that on the night Mamma came, the 5th June, she gave me a very pretty bronze, and a crane and a wolf from Aesop’s fable. It is very cleverly done.
2 Aug. – My 15th Birthday. Albert came at about 12 from London. He brought with him a beautiful photo of Delaroche’s picture of St. Cecilia, in a very pretty blue and gold frame. He gave me…… a very pretty coloured photo of Constance’s picture by Winterhalter. Campray [?] gave me a beautiful present of Vasari’s Lives of the Greatest Artists, Sculptors and Architects in 5 volumes.
3 Aug. – Papa gave me a beautiful photograph of a bas-relief of angels for my birthday present.
31 Oct. – [impressed by Colleen Bawn with Boucicault acting in it, at the Adelphi] We liked it immensely.
18 Nov. – At about 6 the Princess Alice came to Mamma. She showed us a beautiful watercolour painting that she was doing.
3 Dec. – Mamma had met the Empress of the French at Trentham Station. The Empress comes to the Castle [Windsor] tomorrow.
4 Dec. - The Empress arrived at a quarter past 1. I saw her drive in. She is beautiful.
6 Dec. – Mamma left for London at 9. She stays there a few days; till the Empress of the French has visited Stafford House.
31 Dec. [in closing this volume, he says that he will write up the next volume once a week or fortnight, not “every individual day…..as they are so very much the same”. [There is no knowing whether or not he did this, because there is a gap here and the next diary is for 1 Feb. 1863 to 25 April 1864]
[at the front of the diary for 1863-1864 is a wonderful carte de visite of Lord R. seated very casually at a table, apparently drawing in a sketchbook]
3 March 1863 – To-day at 12 with Mamma to Wall Grange a water-work place about 10 miles from here [Trentham]. The director a nice person, a Mr Elliott, with his wife, also a Mr Baker. We had gone there to see a bust of my father by Noble, colossal, in the room where the machines work. It’s very good, quite a striking likeness. They put it up last year. After going over the works we had a cold collation. Coming home we stopped at the showroom of the potteries.
19 March – Lilleshall – Yesterday visited with the Bunsens, and with him to the church, where we saw a very beautiful memorial window put up to my father’s memory.
20 March – At 2 with C. and Mr Smith (the factor) who drove us in his dog cart to St George’s almost 4 miles from here, built in memory of my father (the architect Street). Very handsome interior, though plain, but exterior much wants a tower. We went over the ironworks, and back here at 5.30.
10 – 13 April – [In Paris, driving in the Bois and seeing the Empress twice, going to the Bouffes, with the Grosvenors to the Invalides, Palais des Beaux Arts etc., but not much of interest. He writes that he is on the way to visit M. Eymar at Colovrex]
2 July – [On the way through Switzerland, at Lucerne] Showed Thorwaldsen’s [sic] Lion to I. and A. [Ian and Archie], also the cloisters. [He seems to be going over ground he had covered with his mother the previous year] Passing through Stans where we got out of the carriage to see Winkelried’s statue. [This group by Ferdinand Schlöthe was only sent from Italy in marble in 1865 apparently, but it was ten years in completion, and it is possible that what they saw was a provisional plaster model]
15 July – My painting of Elaine has at last been put under glass which improves it. It now hangs up in my room. I have also had a photo (carte de visite) taken in Geneva of it, which, excepting in turning the yellow hair, part of the dress and lower part of the sky to black, is not bad. It sounds rather bumptious having had this done, however it is to show Ma what it is like, as I’m afraid she won’t see the real affair for some time.
23 Aug. - Got my photos of ‘Elaine’ fr town yesterday. I put one in here to show what it’s like (all the yellow has turned out in the photo black)…….. Mamma writes much pleased with it, which is all I wanted.
28 Sept.- On Monday – till 1.30 did Turin, seeing the Palace, the Armoury and Marochetti’s fine statue of Emanuel Philibert, the thing I admired the most in the whole place.
29 Sept. – Milan [impressed by the Raphael Sposalizio in the Brera and Leonardo’s Last Supper, which he describes as “the cartoon”] More colour left than I had expected, most of the heads splendid, but how it has been mauled!
[Lots in here about Venice – not very interesting]
12 Oct. - [To Geneva with M. Eymar, the Grosvenors and Archie] To Mr Calame’s atelier and saw some of the pictures. His chef d’oeuvre a sunset on Mte Rosa, belonging to De la Rive[?] was there, but of the others none were really striking. He himself is very ill, and it was his son who showed them to us.
14 Nov. – [London] This morning……out shopping, got an inkstand for Mme. Eymar. After lunch to Marochetti’s studio (37 Onslow Square). He was very pleasant, showed me all over his sculptures. Fine head for an equestrian statue of the Prince Consort for Glasgow. Also a very fine recumbent monument to Beresford, late Primate of Ireland, a beautiful angel for the memorial at Cawnpore. Later Sir Edwin Landseer arrived. Sir E. goes there every day to work at his colossal lion for Trafalgar Square. I saw it, magnificent, in plaster, very unfinished, except the head. It is the first of the four that are about to be cast at B. Mrti’s in bronze for T.S.. Sir Ed was very good natured, lighting the gas in order that I might see it well. He, not the lion, but Sir E., looks a good deal older since I saw him at Dunrobin, and wears a moustache. A long discussion with him about Colnaghi’s having published a photo he took of my drawing (in chalks) of Sir Ed’s. Sir Ed says that he had no rights to do this, without first having asked his permission, and so I who……….[illegible] gave Colnaghi leave to publish the photo, will tell him not to sell any more copies, which I intended to do at once, but found the shop shut, it being Saturday, but will either write to him myself or will ask Mr Jackson to do so.
16 Nov. – In the afternoon Albert came with the Duke of Hamilton fr Oxford, but went back in the evening. The Duke much gone off in looks since I saw him when Lord Douglas years ago, having grown very stout, but has got a very good manner. He dined at the Wellington with Albert.
[the day before he was due to depart for Colovrex again, the doctors declared Archie not to be in a fit state to go, so on 17 Nov. Ronald set out on his own and seems to have enjoyed himself in Paris on the way] Stayed at the Grand Hotel in Bd des Capucines. Dined in one of the restaurants on the Boulevards, and flanéd afterwards, also saw some regular Paris life in the C……o [Casino?] Cadet, rue Cadet, Boulevard Montmartre, over at 11. A curious sight corresponding much to the A………[illegible] Rooms, only ever so much more French.
Yesterday did not go by the early train, but only in the evening, leaving Paris at 7.45. Spent the day in going to photo shops, the gardens of the Palais Royal, the quays etc.. About the only new thing I saw this time was the new statue of N on the Column of the Place Vendôme, the present Emperor having taken down the old one, and put up this one, which represents him in his coronation robes. However, I don’t like it nearly as much as the former one, nor do the people appear to either.
[he got back to London just before Christmas – pleased with the state of his mother’s health and with the decorations at Stafford House]
A beautiful copy of the antique Psyche in the hall, original size in marble. Mamma got it by [illegible, but for an impression of the name, see handwritten notes]
I gave Mamma this evening my attempt at Elaine that I did in Switzerland. She has put it on one of the easels In the drawing room.
25 Nov. 1863 – Very sorry to hear today of the death of Thackeray who was found dead in his bed yesterday morning. I had seen him the last time in November last in Trafalgar Square, looking so strong and full of life. I remember walking back after him to cross him again.
1 Jan. 1864 – [Ciiveden ?] – After dinner a band of ‘soi-disant’ blacks (like last year) camje at 9pm and performed in the hall on a sort of platform. They sang a selection of Christy’s Minstrels very tolerably. It was over at 10.45. After which Constance and self dressed up, self as a young lovely and Constance as a Grisette.
8 April – [About a visit, presumably to the Houses of Parliament to see ‘Herbert’s pictures’]
H’s picture of Moses with the Commandments is as everybody knows in a committee room, which is a mistake. It ought to have been in a much more public place. It’s a magnificent work, watercolour, by a new process, the colour having as it were rinsed in permanently by a sort of syringe which he showed us. He’s a little man, oldish, (illegible) light hair, moustache and beard, looks overworked. he intends (prov the govern pay him sufficiently) to paint ten more cartoons, the Judgement of Solomon & Daniel as a Boy Prophesying; the latter he painted some years ago & presented it at Manchester. We then went to Maclise’s picture, but it does not do after Herbert’s, very pell mell, although with fine bits.
13 April – After a dinner at Staff House – Garibaldi – Staff and some of the Italians smoked in Mamma’s sitting room! At her request!!!!This was a sort of ruse “to keep him” upstairs. I didn’t get to bed till 2am.
14 April – I then went to the South Kensington Museum & spent a very pleasant hour or so in that most entertaining Sheepshanks Collec. & Mulready’s picts which are there altogether. Such colouring and draughtsmanship.
19 April – Last Saturday (16th) Mamma was down again soon after 7, in the gen. rooms, she found Watts (the portrait painter) in the dining room where he had been waiting hopefully to see him [Garibaldi] & just as he was brought to G’s drawing room he had to drive on some visit, however he saw Watts & promised to give him a chance next morning. ‘Venez à sept heures’ which Watts accepted (Mamma had before been into the drawing room, where were a crowd of people & not finding W. among them, she said to G. ‘je ne vois pas mon artiste’, to which he said ‘mais il me semble – or je pense – qu’il y a trois ici’) This certainly was the case yesterday morning, for when I came down at 8.30 I found him with Mamma, Annie, Watts and two other artists in the anteroom (next to the drawing room), all the artists working away hard. Watts had made a very fine oil sketch, life size, but only a sketch, & soon after a deputation or something arr. G got up & never sat to him again, so that they had to make the best of it, packing up their canvases and going. Here is a scribble that I made at the same time: I had wanted to get his dress drawn but he left before I could get it. [Quite a good little pen and ink drawing stuck in]
On Sunday (17th) Mamma at last got G to sit for nearly two hours (7 to 9) to Watts. She made him recite a lot of Italian poetry.
[seems also Sunday the 17th April] – G. Dined out at Clapham with an Italian friend [Fabbricotti’s dinner party]
19 April – [very browned off with having to be back in Colchester for his cramming] I cannot apply sufficiently & cannot fix my mind on subjects which do not interest me, viz. classics and mathematics. Hélas, pour les beaux arts. That I could go to Rome or Florence & study in some atelier for a year or so, learn Italian & other delightful things & let grammar, mathematics & composition gang to the dogs.
15 May – Last Monday I finished Vanity Fair. What a splendid novel it is, but in my humble opinion not to compare to my favourite novel Esmond, either in interest or style.
21 May – R.A. Altogether a little disappointed, much by the Polar bears of Landseer, but his couple of squirrels with a bullfinch is perfection. It has been bought for 2500, the same price as Herbert’s fresco! Our favourite pictures were Leighton’s. 1st Golden Moments, a young man playing on a harmonium & a young woman leaning over it, back of her head, but one is sure that if she turned she would have a lovely face. The picture has a golden background, very good effect. 2nd Orpheus and Eurydice, the former effeminate & not a good expression but Eurydice lovely, such flesh tint, a profile, gt intensity [or entreaty] in it. 3rd Dante in Exile. He’s coming out of a church, 4 beautiful women in it, profiles, & a child, perfection of colouring. I think Millais has 2 very pretty ones. My favourite is a young girl in a Louis XV riding dress putting on her gloves “Charlie is my darling”. The other, pendant to “My First Sermon” (which I haven’t seen) called “My Second do” . The portraits, Wales etc.[?] wretched except one charming one by Weigall of Miss Mildmay, the dark one. A first one by Tiddeman of a duel, at least just after in a Norwegian inn, but not as good as some of his that I remember at the Exh of 62 (Industrial Ex).
22 May – [about some sort of ceremony around Ugo Foscolo’s tomb in Chiswick churchyard] It’s a plain sort of sarcophagus in black granite, highly polished with F’s name in large gold letters.
[Gladstone came late to the ceremony]
22 July – Archie came this morning at 11. Shopped with him. To the artist’s Mr Leighton, near Kensington in that little square in front of which there is an eagle on a pedestal; he was however engaged. [also to the Watercolour Soc. – Gilberts and F. Taylors. Mostly illegible]
30 July – [Berlin] We passed Rauch’s grand statue of Friedrich. I do not quite like the generals being so much smaller than him. It gives them rather the appearance of little men.
[At Charlottenburg] Over the garden to the tomb of Louisa. Hers I know well, as there’s a cast of the bust at Stafford House and Trentham. It’s wonderfully beautiful, but I do not like its high polish. It gives a look of waxiness.
2 Aug. – [writes about failure to find Kaulbach, Overbeck and Bendemann] Thus unluckily the 3 best German artists are not here. Tried also without success to see Knaus, who is at Baden, he who painted ‘La Cinquantaine’. To the studio of a new painter, much run after. He paints principally Venetian scenes, Doges and [illegible], some very pretty ones, perhaps a little [illegible] but charming, a touch of Meissonnier almost there. He wasn’t in. Buchan did eventually find a gt artist at home, he of the Amazon, Kiss. It is by far his finest work, but there is also a St George of the same colossal size, very fine. He’s such a plain, unconceited creature, very plain but good head, solid with rather a bottle nose. He has a sort of collection of casts of famous men taken after death hanging up in his atelier, among these are Nicholas of Russia, Beethoven, Goethe, Schiller, Louisa the Queen (not such a good cast as one at Cliveden which belonged to my father) Fred II, fearfully shrunk, the late King of Prussia, Dante, Petrarch etc.
7 Aug. – Drove to Cornelius’s. he is 75 & has recently married a lady of 25. He came to us from the garden, very feeble and old. He showed us what he calls his last work, a large life size drawing of Christ and St Thomas, a fine drawing but nothing very striking, one of the apostles’ heads very good. We then drove to a monument with allegorical statues by Rauch of officers and Kings who had fought in the war with France, amongst which are the Qu Louisa and the present King, all intensely [illegible] except Qu L & all canopied. The monument is of iron, & has a gothic spire.
16 Aug. – Got to Vichy at 3.15…. Walked out in the park. Many alterations, fountain built round [?] also a new hotel, offices……
18 Aug. – At last I got Ma to sit for photo, 4, 2 standing, 1 sitting & a half length. Drove in the evening to the new gardens and chalets on the banks of the Allier……, chalets in one of which the Empress lives when here. Looked small and too near the road. Le roi des Belges was in one next this.
27 and 28 Aug. – [In Paris by himself, but didn’t record anything of note]
[long gap in the diary here]
28 July 1865– [arr. In Paris] The new station finished
29 July – At 4 to a wonderful gem of a house in the Champs Elysées, built by a Mad. Hirsch (formerly a Georgian slave), one mass of marble and bronze, the staircase entirely composed of African alabaster. The architect showed us over, a gt privilege to see it at all. In fact hardly anyone seems to have seen this wonderful gem of a house.
1 Aug. – Reached Vichy at 7.45. To one of the new chalets next to the one which the Emperor lives in when here & the same which the King of the Belgians lived in 2 yrs ago. It’s called ‘Châlet de Clermont Tonnerre’, a pretty, charming house, so fresh and clean and prettily finished, 2 sitting rooms & 1 large dining room, all with large plate glass bay windows & charming bedrooms, Ian and mine opening onto each other & open on the balcony with a continuous view of new gardens and the Allier.
2 Aug. – 20th Birthday. Can hardly realise that I have left my teens.
[they go to the Parks and the thermal establishment] Mother took her bath after 2. Coming away, a large whiskered fellow accosted her and introduced himself; we met the Duke of Rutland soon after, who has been much pestered by this individual, a certain Capt. Little & we hve already found it true. [follows some illegible stuff about new buildings in the Park]
8 Aug. – [more about their attempts to throw off the intolerable Capt. Little] Sorry to see that they are pulling the old church on the ‘Place’ down & building a new one.
13 Aug. – Met Meissonnier the artist in the park. Mother had wished much to make his acquaintance. He was walking with his son. He is short, brown, with a look of Francis I. Seems pleasant, but we didn’t see much of him, the nuisance Capt. Little disturbing us.
31 Aug. – [Paris] We drove in the boulevards, walking and shopping, then at Goupil where we bought some photos & a long visit to the gt bronze shop, Barbedienne….. Mother gave me a head of the Apollo (Praxiteles) and a bas-relief of a [illegible] M. Angelo. I went again to Barbedienne & was taken all over the manufactory by Mons. B., who was very polite. Quite a curious sight, the moulding, casting etc.. He has 500 men employed.
2 Sept. – [Cliveden] Walked about the gardens with M. Some planks cut out in the form of a pedestal of a statue were on the lawn to try the effect, as M. has bought a statue of the Pr. Consort by Theed wh is going to be put up at Cliveden. I’m all for its not being in front, as it seems to me a statue would be much out of keeping there.
29 Dec. – Out shopping with Mary [?]. To Colnaghi’s pm got a photo of Bronzino picture of Venus and Cupid.
4 Jan. 1866 – Little Holland House in the afternoon, and paid Watts a visit. He has four very good paintings in the French [?] gallery, 3 portraits, Gladstone’s, a Mr Hanbury, a Lady (Venetian style) & a lovely head and bust of a girl with an arm thrown over her head, holding a peacock feather. It’s called ‘A Study with Peacock’s Feather’. The face is very like M.H.’s. I was rather curious to know who this [illegible] lady is, but could only get out of W that she was a model, but having married she no longer sits. He showed me also a small full length of her – a sort of study for a Venus, with the sea in the background. He does not seem to have many in hand, but was engaged with a large study in sepia for a fresco for St Paul’s, the subject Ezekiel (?) [R.G.’s question mark]. He also showed me some studies for flesh colours, an art of painting which he thinks has been lost since the old masters’ days.
14 Jan. – With Archie in the afternoon to Westminster Abbey. Saw going in the bust of Thackeray by Marochetti, a great failure, the position bad & the pedestal atrocious.
4 April – With Archie in the afternoon to the British Museum. First showed him the Pourtales Apollo bust, where we fd the artists Watts & Mr Newton. We also went to Pannizzi’s office, whom we fd in. He showed us several new statues, & also mausoleum remains fr. Halicarnassus.
4 May – R.A. – The most striking pictures are by Leighton …….[illegible] in which Ldy Talbot is introduced, one by Calderon of ‘His Most Puissant Grace’ (charming), several Hooks ‘The Story of a Life’, Orchardson ‘Steeling the Reefs’ [?], Stone ‘An Arrest for Witchcraft’, J. Pettie. A charming Philipp. Millais not represented & Landseer very poor, ‘Lady Godivaa’s Prayer’ by him, a lamentable picture.
12 May – [Visit to Ampthill] – a very good picture of G. Howard by Watts.
15 July – Paris at 6pm. A. Dumas was in the same train. I had a good look at this odd figure at the station at Paris, his hair (very early) is pretty grey. Grand Hotel. ‘Famille Benoiton’ which has had such a prodigious run, rather a disappointment.
16 July – To Les Variétés – ‘La Belle Hélène’ delightful. Schneider (H.) a very clever and pleasing actress. The music and songs perfectly delightful.
18 July – To the galleries of the Luxembourg and Louvre. Sculpture. ‘Belle Hélène’ again.
25 Sept. [Dunrobin] At 12 the statue of my father was unveiled by the P of Wales, after an address by [illegible] & a short speech by Staff. It looks very well now that the scaffolding is away, & I think the likeness very good.
6 Jan. 1867 – [To Paris on the way to Caprera with Albert]
Flanéd in the Palais Royal & Boulevards. Looked into the Madeleine. We dined at ‘Les Trois Frères’ and then saw ‘La Vie Parisienne’ at the Pal. Royal.
7 Jan. – Shopped. To ‘La Belle Hélène’ (my 3rd time) but as delighted as ever.
8 Jan. – To the Quays etc. To ‘Nos Bons Villageois’ by V. Sardou. Very clever.
9 Jan. – Photod at Levitzky. Lunched with a lady friend of A’s, a Mrs Philipps. We left Paris by the 7.45.
26 Jan. – (With Josey, whom we had linked up with on the Riviera, to Paris) We couldn’t get places at any theatre. ‘Orphée aux Enfers’ was one of the pieces we wanted to go to, but owing to its being Cora Pearl’s début as Cupid, stalls were 60 frs a piece. Dined at Veffour and later to the Bal d’Opéra [sic], Jos in a Mexican costume, self in a domino. A wonderful sight, very crowded. Supped together at the Maison d’Arc. Back at the H at 5am.
27 Jan. – Left Paris at 7, Jos stopping till Monday night.
10 Feb. – On Thursday Jan 31st with mother (who was in the chair) to the statues, Theed having come to see the pedestal to the Prince’s.
20 Feb. – Drove with Flower to Ely ……….We had glorious day for seeing the cathedral which is certainly very fine. It is being restored with great taste and pains. A new reredos very beautifully cut. Almost sugary In effect fr being coloured alabaster.
1 or 2 May – With Mother to the Royal Academy, it being the pre-private view (mostly royalty. Sir Edwin the only artist) On the whole a very pleasing Xhbition, but nothing great. Some charming Millais, 2 fine Landseers & lovely Leighton.
3 May – To the French Xhibition & Theed’s studio, to see a group (in Saxon costume) of Pce and Qn.
12 May – Back here with Staff, & Sir E. Landseer. He (Sir E.) brought with him a very clever oil sketch of Garibaldi done fr recollection after seeing him the day he came here, which he has given mother. A large dinner here of 16 in the centre room [gives names of some of the guests]. Sir Edwin rather elated.
22 June – Went to Lady Molesworth’s for some tableaux – some of Millais’ children arranged by himself very successful and very pretty one of the 3 Lady Waldegraves who looked lovely powdered. The squash at the tableaux awful.
9 Aug. – My last sitting came off….. to Mr Sayers. M. is much pleased with the picture. It seems to be like, but I think much flattered [a number of other refs around here to the sittings to Sayers]
5 Sept. – Got to Paris at 8.30. Luck in getting a room at H. Mirabeau (rue de la Paix). I went to this hotel but recommended it by Josey who always goes to it. Paris was full and the boulevards almost impossible. Driving fr the station to the hotel we passed the new Opera which is a most gorgeous building. The façade, which had only been uncovered a few days, quite gorgeous, pillars of marble of all colours, along the top busts in bronze gilt of the principal composers & friezes of the light green bronze above.
6 Sept. – After breakfast at the Café du Grand Opéra off to the Xhibition, the drive shorter than I had xpected [sic], rows of omnibuses and carriages of all sorts with ‘pour l’exposition’ we passed all the way, full of holiday looking people, workmen and artisans.
Certainly the effect of the first view of the X is not imposing, but one forgets the building after one has once gone in. The immense variety of the things exhibited & the arrangement of the different departments is excellent. For instance, if one is at a loss to find a certain court or street, one has only to walk to the centre, where is a flower garden & round which are inscribed in large letters the names of the different nations above their respective entrances. Of course, this being my first visit, I merely picked out what interested me most, viz. the galleries of painting, sculpture etc. The finest statue is the ‘Ultimi giorni’ of Napoleon I. He is sitting in an armchair, his shirt open, a blanket over his knees & his left hand on a map; the head and expression wonderful, the look of bodily suffering with the interest of the character of the face wonderfully rendered. The eyes seem quite to pierce into space. Some of the French paintings most interesting, but nearly all the best familiar from prints and photos.
I stopped at the X fr 12 till past 4. To the Français to see [illegible] which I did not appreciate. On my return to the hotel I found Jos in my room. He had come back sooner fr. Ischell than I had expected.
We spent most of Saturday in the X amongst the jewels, china (of which I bought some plates etc.) & [illegible], which are magnificent.
We went to the Carrousel to see the Emperor and Empress leave for Biarritz . This took place at 5. Not knowing which way they would drive next, we posted ourselves near the Arch in the Carrousel, & when they drove off, we had with lots of other people, to run across the great place as hard as we could & were just in time to see them drive past the quay. They were in an open carriage & four, the Emperor looking very old & yellow, she very well in a plain black hat and dress. As they drove past a few cries of ‘Vive l’Empereur’, but anything less enthusiastic impossible to conceive. To the Variétés, ‘La Grande Duchess de Gérolstein’, Schneider of course, very fetching music (Offenbach) as usual but it isn’t (I think) to compare to ‘La Belle Hélène’. Augustus Lumley [?] behind us & insisted upon coming & having supper with us after, which was a bore.
8 Sept. – To St Roch during the High Mass. We went to the Hippodrome (near our old house) & the Bois. Gt many people, Patti amongst others. Later to the Cirque where I saw Leotard [?] for the first time.
9 Sept. – Went to the Hôtel du Louvre and paid Althorp a visit, who had arr’d from Baden Baden the night before. Xhibition after a wretched dinner at the Café des Anglais & Porte Saint Martin to see ‘La Biche au Bois’ & then H[?] des Lilas tempted [?] late for the Cancan.
10 Sept. – I was very unwell all Tuesday 10th & had to see English doctor [illegible name] It seems that English people are very often quite ill merely from Paris air or water.
11 Sept. – To the X for the last time….. This time principally in the machinery and artillery part. Gave a last look to the beautiful pictures in the Belgian gallery by Willems & to the Japanese town. Called at No.2 rue Chevilliers, quartier[?] Saint Germain, on our old governess Madame Dembruisson, but did not find her in. With Josey to dinner (cheaply) at [illegible]
12 Sept. – Left Paris
5 Dec. – I ordered a cast at Brucciani’s (oppt Drury Lane) of the head of Apollo (Pourtales) in terracotta. Very fine.
2 Jan. 1868 – Stafford Ho. – A visit from Gladstone . he has quite recovered fr an accident which happened to him a few days ago at Hawarden, a splinter of a tree having struck one of his eyes. He had payed [sic] Panizzi a visit & seems to think that although he says he ‘is not out of the wood’ he has hopes of his recovery. The paper this morning announced Marochetti’s death (last Saturday) in Paris. His will be a loss to art & there are few more gentlemanlike or agreeable men than he was.
[He is off next day for France on the way to Italy, Mentone, Florence and perhaps Venice]
12 Jan. – [Paris. He had met Ld Alfred Paget at Folkestone and they journeyed together. The Seine was frozen over and had skaters on it. Later to the exclusive Club des Patineurs in the Bois. Meets a lot of posh people there, including Princess Metternich ‘ugly with the exception of fine eyes and beautifully dressed’. Ball at the Tuileries – Empress looking ‘handsome in white’. Emperor ‘seemed [illegible] & tired, during and between dances’]
Great preponderance of American ladies. [He thought that few French high society people apart from officials were there. Flying visit to the Louvre. Otherwise nothing about art in Paris]
16 Jan. – About one of the doctors at Mentone, there is a singular story of his being married, or rather not married, to a sculptress, a Madame Ney, who he inspires[?], but whether this affection is entirely platonic or not is a matter of conjecture. Rumour also says that he is the son (illegitimate?) of Lord Colonsay.
[Bad reports of his mother’s health. Visit to Monaco. He is with Albert and the Grosvenors. A visit to Castiglione – ‘it reminded me of those Xtraordinary drawings in Balzac’s Contes Drôlatiques (by G. Doré).
Constance and R. very keen to see the eruption of Vesuvius. They visit some of the palaces in Genoa, but are then under pressure to get South. Anyway R. has to be back on the 13 Feb. (?) for the opening of Parliament. Gallop through Paris and Rome – ecstatic but uninteresting about the Duomo, Leaning Tower and Baptistery in Pisa, St Peter’s in Rome. Calls the Pantheon the Parthenon. There was a hoarding in front of Raphael’s tomb. Impressed obviously by Andrea del Sartos at Pisa and Raphael’s Transfiguration in the Vatican. Passed by two carriages with military escorts. In them the Pope and a cardinal “who I am nearly certain must have been Antonelli with his sallow Jesuit face”. Saw Michelangelo’s Moses- ‘very great’. In Naples they go to Pompeii and up Vesuvius on ponies. The Grosvenors go back to Rome. R. stays on - ‘I wanted to see some military sports with Col. Elliot at Pozzuoli. They were very stupid, but the day was lovely, and the scene very gay, all Naples having turned out, & the number of carriages reminded me of Cup Day at Ascot’
14 Feb. [at the museum] Amongst those glorious statues.
15 Feb. – Left Naples by boat for Marseilles. Lots of nice Americans on board. [got to land on 20th]
15 March – Dined with old Dalglish at Fentons [?] a pleasant dinner, G.Glynn, Mr Denison (Secretary), Ewing (who is now making an excellent bust of Staff), Capt. Vivian, Marochetti’s son, Lorne etc..
[Balls] – I now get intensely bored with these amusements. Only a year or two ago balls seemed to me an almost unalloyed pleasure, and now I detest them.
[Opening of the Royal Academy. The Duchess made it, though ill. Most struck by a Landseer (……….& stag), a beautiful Cook, a couple of lovely Leightons, Hooks, Friths, Faeds etc.. ‘Millais is very strong this year’. A portrait of Panizzi by Watts ‘very like’ and Pygmalion statue, and a good one by Richmond of Dr Watson. ‘Watts has Xhibited a bust for the first time; rather a distortion, but it and (Mrs) Pygmalion[?] are both much admired by Gladstone.]
2 May – A good many people appeared here yesterday [Cliveden?]. Gladstone spoke nearly entirely about the Academy. Panizzi came in the afternoon. Since his recent illness he has been unable to shave & he wears now a shaggy white beard; poor old fellow, he seems semi-paralyzed, but seems to mind having to wear a beard more than anything else.
6 May – On Monday 4th, mother and I drove into town before church to Christies [big collection of Stanfield’s sketches on show]. Magnificent Lady Waterford came here on the 6th to see me about wishing to get some appt. abt the Queen. She feels such affection for her on account of her kindness to her sister Lady Canning & also feeling her present life very lonely, nearly all her relatives being gone.
[The fall of Magdala and British forces arriving on April 1st at Talanta] This is undoubtedly the first feat of arms we have performed since Waterloo with the exception of the war in India in ’57.
4 June – [Dinner at Orleans House – mostly French royalty, not many people from London] However I enjoyed seeing the Duc’s charming collection of pictures, chiefly modern French. Some lovely Greuzes. Made Lord Stratford de Redcliffe’s acquaintance; a most agreeable, charming old man, with still very good looks. He says he suffers much from gout & enjoys his present life of quiet and repose. He, as so many people do, took me at first for Lorne!.
6 June – [Public dinner of the Newspaper Press Fund, a society formed for the support of decayed newspaper writers & families] I had a good opportunity of watching Gustave Doré (the clever French artist) who was one of the guests; a short young man, thick set, with a striking but rather sensuous face. I was sorry not to have had the opportunity of being introduced to him.
[Lord R. was billed to propose a toast to “the artistes”, and made some remark about the civilizing effect of music. The Observer reported that he had spoken, but said nothing of his remarks on music]
24 June – Dined with Lady Vane and with her to the St James’s Theatre to see Schneider in the ‘Grande Duchesse’, which is now having an immense success, the house crammed every night like a [illegible] opera. S. got 2000fr a night.
26 June – [The Duke of Edinburgh, after assassination attempt in Australia, returning to England]
27 June - He came to see Staff about one o’clock on Saturday night, much bronzed & thinner but none the worse. He was delighted with the reception he received, especially at Windsor. One hopes that now that he has such an opportunity for being popular, he will take advantage of this, drink less & lead altogether a more [illegible] life, but can the leopard change his spots, or the Ethiopian his skin?
29 June – Breakfast at Campden Hill at the Argylls, where Longfellow (the poet) came. With him 3 daughters. He is a noble looking creature. [Much more about Longfellow. Gower told him how much his mother would like to see him].
2 July - [A complaint about the dullness of London society dinners] If only I could see more & live more with people (& society in general of those) with whom Ian and I breakfasted this morning, life would be intensely more enjoyable and interesting. We broke fast namely [?] at 12 with F. Leighton and another brother artist, Watts. With them were also young Prinsep, a rising artist & I do not think I have ever spent two pleasanter hours than I did in L House that morning. He has only just finished it (in Holland House Road) close to Little Holland House (Watts). Such a superb atelier & such a charming house full of treasures; old china, furniture etc. & above all with views by him in Italy, Greece etc. What an Xistence that man has, such a home in London, and working away in Italy most of the winter. There had been a party at Holland House the day before, to which I went with Staff, who is a gt friend of that odd looking old fragment of humanity, Lady H.. Lots of people and all the colours of the rainbow, & that splendid old home bathed in golden light. I was glad to see Longfellow there. Also pitied him as Ld Houghton was escorting him & chaperoning him.
23 July – [Event at Paddington with Gladstone and a party of grandees, photographed in open trucks] I hear that Gladstone has £60,000 in this line, so it is not surprising that he should have taken a great interest in it., but as I haven’t a penny in it & I hate engineering, it is equally natural that I should not take any in it.
31 July – [Duchess in a very bad state] To see her suffer so terribly is awful. Her groans have been such that one has been obliged to leave the room, it being too unbearable.
1 Aug. 1869 – [letter from the Duchess of Sutherland to the Duke of Devonshire from Stafford House, saying that she is very ill and thinks she will have to give up Chiswick Villa]
12 Sept. – [Dumfries – he has not felt like keeping up his old form of diary since his mother’s death in October. A long reminiscence of Lady Palmerston, the last of the grandes dames according to the Earl of Shaftesbury]
26 Oct. – [at Trentham, to be nearer her on the anniversary of her death] I have lost what really made life worth living. [says they had been together to the R.A. for the private view for the last 8 or 10 years]
27 Oct. – [about his mother’s memory] And this brings me to write of what I hope will carry down that dear face to those who have never seen her & this is the monument that Noble has begun for the church here. – he made a small sketch before I left town in August, & on coming back to his sketch in Bruton St. last week I found the full size figure in clay. Noble has been unable to work much at it from illness, but the head is nearly finished and is quite beautiful. The figure is life size & recumbent, the head a little turned to the right, the hands folded over some flowers: the whole effect & expression that of sleep, but the likeness is really marvellous. The clergyman here (Edwards) is away & so I do not like settling the site of it. What strikes me as being the best is to place it within the space allotted to the upper servants. This will require some but not much alteration of the seats. The reason which makes me wish it there are [sic] that the space is sufficiently large. The old oak screen, which surrounds it, would give it a kind of protection and frame. It is on the side of the church & above where the old family burying[?] place is, and some old monuments placed in the wall indicates its being the place where any such monument would find its most appropriate situation & besides it would be in a tolerably good light. In case I should not live to see the monument placed in the church, I hope that my wish here will be remembered, & that the entire cost of the monument & of its erection should be defrayed out of my own money. I should also wish a sum not less than five thousand pounds of my money employed in supporting poor widows and women incapacitated by illness from supporting themselves, to be used as a fund for their support, either in erecting cottages for their accommodation or by annual distribution……
29 Oct. – Drove over to Stoke this morning & had a talk with Mr Campbell about the bust, as I am in hopes of having a reduced copy in Parian made of it. He said he would have them made for 5s [?] so that people about here would be able to have an excellent likeness of her. [they went to see a Mr Kolman(?), his question mark, a painter on pottery, originally a watercolourist, “rather German in feeling”. “A tile in blue with a lovely sketch of two little loves in a shell boat, which I admired much he gave me. Perhaps my admiration was too apparent, but I am delighted to have this tile”. There follow some reminiscences about Lord Derby, whose funeral had just taken place. Gower had met him at the Garibaldi party at Stafford House, and had heard his last speech in the house]
2 Nov. – [Last day at Trentham and return to London, via Lichfield. He heard from Constance of the death of 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Constance was due to come over the next day for the anniversary of their mother’s death]
22 July 1870 – [Berlin] Since last here /64 death has been busy with the celebrities of this town. The painter Cornelius has died. So has Kiss, the sculptor of the St George in the court of the Schloss & of the Amazon in front of the Museum.
6 Jan. 1874 – Dined at the Kenmures, 11 Belgrave Square, a ‘diner de noces’ for Lady K’s brother, a Thynne, who marries Miss Haydon [sic], daughter of the artist and engraver Seymour Haydon [sic] , whose etchings are something wonderful. Mrs S.H. is a sister of Whistler’s the artist, which I had forgotten when talking art, but only said things complimentary of him to her.
7 Jan. – Copied Cuyp fre 11 to 3.30. O’Connor (the artist) looked in [there are earlier references to this Cuyp, which was at Bridgewater House. At dinner that day he met Rhoda Broughton, the novelist]
9 Jan. – Read part of Thackeray’s ‘Barry Lyndon’. Very clever but rather overdone. However Billy Russell says it’s one of his best works (William Howard Russell figures a great deal in this part of the diary. He is living in the same building as Gower in Packham Court]
10 Jan. – Met Prince of Wales at Whites at 6. He & Princess leave for Russia this evg at 8. He was very civil & sent a very friendly message to Staff.
11 Jan. – Sunday. All Saints at 10.30. Called on Sir Henry Thompson at 35 Wimpole St to talk of his theory of cremation, on which I quite agree with him. Found him painting a subject of still-life in a charming studio. He showed me his strange pets, a python and young boa-constrictor. Then called on another physician and artist, Seymour Haden in his studio out of [?] the Fulham Road & found him in the act of taking a poof of a glorious etching he has done from Turner’s picture in the National Gallery, ‘Calais Pier’, the finest and largest……. [illegible] ever done. S.H. a most delightful & enthusiastic artist.
13 Jan. – Letter this morning from Constance, delighted with O’Connor’s sketches of Paris [?]& intends having a room painted by him at Eaton.
14 Jan. – [lunch with George Cruickshank near Mansion House] Looks like a man of 70….. he never drinks any wine & scarcely ever water. I showed him one of his fairy story books (Hop O’My Thumb) that he gave me in March /57. He has promised to come and see me here some morning.
18 Jan. – [Looked over the pictures at Petworth]
23 Jan. – I dined with Mr Swinton the artist [James Rannie Swinton] at his charming house in Warwick Square, which he built himself & which is altogether to my mind one of the most successful, original London Houses – original as to shape and disposition of rooms & resulting……..[illegible]
24 Jan. [newspapers say government has resigned] It will end my short parliamentary career, which began in May (67), as I wish young Staff (now 23) to become MP for Sutherland. My only regret is that Albert cannot also be accommodated, but unless he contends North Staffordshire I don’t see how this can be.
30 Jan. – To the National Gallery where met Ruskin, who I hadn’t seen since meeting him at Broadlands. He promises to look me up here. He was very agreeable, but takes a gloomy view of political life & Holman Hunt’s new picture, in which we agree. Met Gladstone on leaving the gallery. “Very sorry for your disappointment” he shouted, alluding to my leaving the H. of C. “Thanks” was all my response.
1 Feb. – All Saints at 10.30. To see Seymour Haden at his studio in the Fulham Road. Found him still busy on his great etching after Turner. Looked at Brompton Cemetery, which looks most overcrowded. I went to see poor old Madame Dambrusca’s grave, Constance’s old governess, who put up in time her poor old bones. [ends with something about three speeches: Gladstone, Dizzy and Bright]
4 & 5 Feb. [at West Park, looking over prints and etchings made by Lady de Grey]
8 Feb. – Went to church at Streatham. In afternoon [illegible name] and Whistler (the Americo-Anglo artist of Chelsea - a queer man all round, but has certainly great talent, but is a mass of conceit and self-worship) Day bitterly cold. A long discussion after dinner in which Whistler decried all artists except Velasquez, a Mr [illegible, possibly Vermeer] & himself.
12 Feb. – Called on Mrs A. to talk over Billy Russell, who has taken ill the idea of my letting 28 Park Lane this Summer, thereby obliging him to leave those quarters.
14 Feb. [To Walmer Castle – describes the people there, including Devey the architect] – a singularly dull lot. The castle, although much improved by Lord Granville, is a bad house. Looked in at the room where the great Duke died.
15 Feb. - (walked with Ld Granville and Devey to see a cottage called Veta’s Villa, after Ld Granville’s eldest girl] Could more appropriately be called Granville’s Folly. Lord G. told me they are going to offer a Dukedom to Grosvenor.
16 Feb. – Read the 1st vol. of Prosper Merimée’s ‘Lettre à une inconnue’. I remember Panizzi bringing him to dine at Stafford House some 14 years ago.
18 Feb. – Called at Grosvenor House …… & while there, a letter came from Gladstone about the Dukedom which he offers to G., with his ‘dying breath’. It was at once answered and accepted…..they will retain the title of Westminster. Dizzy sent for today to Windsor.
24 Feb. – Dined with Cyril Flower in his rooms, Victoria Street. Whistler was the only other. After dinner appeared Ld and Lady Chand [?] Hamilton and daughter, 7 by more [sic] who had come for a séance in spiritualism, the medium being a Mr Williams. We sat in a dark room for over 2 hours. For the 1sr half hour nothing occurred but eventually lights flickered about the room, the furniture rapped, groaned and became ambulatory, even a large armchair, flowers were scattered over our heads upon the table & two large china bowls & a slop urn placed themselves also on the table. Mr W.’s hands were held!
28 Feb. – [Lorne and Princess Louise go with Lord Ronald to see the paintings at Bridgewater House, which she had never yet seen]
1 March – All Sts at 10.30. Then to the studio in Leicester Square where I found O’Connor making a sketch of the remains of the equest. statue of George II now under removal from middle of the square.
2 March – To Leicester Square where O’Connor has been making a sketch in oils of the ridiculous horse now gone from the centre of the square.
3 March – To studio in Leicester Square & made a sketch for my little picture fr. a model [picture of Sir Joshua Reynolds receiving the Duchess of D. on stairs of his Leicester Square house]
8 March – Attempted to paint at the studio an original idea in which failed utterly, so much so that if I proposed any scene I would altogether cease to attempt any colour – the spirit is willing etc.
14 March – Ordered a photographic machine of a portable size that I hope to use in my visit in Yorkshire & other English counties.
15 March – To Mr Seymour Haden’s studio in 18 Fulham Road, where stopped 1 till 7, he very kindly giving me a lesson in preparing a plate etc..
17 March – Another photographic lesson at Murrays and [illegible] took up two hours this morning. Received an invitation fr. My little Spanish artist friend, Leon Escouru this morng. to make a tour with him in France, but can’t manage it.
18 March - [visiting old Lady Cowper “in her white cap, sitting amongst heavy carvings & dark pictures”] Would have made a grand subject for one of Rembrandt’s works.
20 March – [a Mr Dawson of 23 Farringdon Street showed him a new process for electrotype etching]
22 March – [Seymour Haden shows Gower a portion of his collection of Rembrandt etchings]
23 March [ a sketch after Landseer has come out well on the ‘Dawson’ etching plate] I intend doing much I hope on that same ground.
7 April – [At Trentham] O’Connor came at 2. Took O’C. to general points of view about the place. He is to paint some views of it for Constance’s room at Eaton “à la” Venetian room by Stanfield here. O’C. dined, but sleeps at the inn.
13 April – Livingstone’s body arrd. This afternoon in London.
17 April – Staff has given me a card for the Abbey tomorrow to see the funeral of Livingstone, whose body I now lying in the lecture hall of the Geographical Society.
18 April – [decription of the event, which he evidently found moving]
20 April – [To Castle Howard] Found only the Londoners here – Lizzy Grey and Mr Kemp, who is the decorator of the chapel.
21 April – [copying Clouet drawings]
27 April – [copy of letter from Disraeli telling him of a vacancy amongst Trustees of the National Portrait Gallery – “if you like I will appoint you to the vacant post”] I have naturally accepted this kind offer.
6 Jun – Back to London
8 June – [at Royal Academy] Altogether a mediocre Xhibition – Millais landscapes very fine. At 11 Constance drove me to that artist & stopped doing her sitting for her full-length portrait that is to be presented Belgrave G historian of Chester [???] The head only is in a completed state and extraordinarily like. He bade me look at it, & the live one, in the pier glass & there was no doubt of the resemblance.
17 June [he had been told by the publisher Machin that his Lenoir volume had come out. Some copies will be sent out to people he had promised copies to, such as Lady Cowper and G. Doré].
18 June – Altogether it is not a discreditable performance, but many are shockingly ill-printed.
10 July – Got cheque for £460 fr. Mr O’Connor for Fildes’s picture. I don’t know who the purchaser of the “Simpletons”, for so it was called, is, but wherever it be, I wish him joy of it. It is a capital “gallery” picture, but much too large a scale for modest self.
19 June – [about to leave Castle Howard] Read J. Smith’s ‘Life of Nollekens’ the sculptor, & both the describer and described seem to have been queer characters. Such a biography would add another terror to death.
21 July – To the new gardens in Leicester Square.
27 July – Called at studio in Leicester square, where I found O’Connor just returned fr. Trentham with some half doz beautiful sketches done there, which are studies for large oil paintings for Eaton.
22 Oct. – Left Wales. Stopped at Chester on return and passed a few hours at Eaton, still for [illegible] being completed. Met Mr Waterhouse the architect there.
12 Nov. – To South Kensington & called on Mr Maclean, a very clever young sculptor who has a studio there.
21 November – Young Stock began a life-size (Kit Cat) portrait of me at Bridgewater House. He is going to paint the Van Driener children at Easton Neston next week.
27 Nov. – With Annie S. to Lyceum[?] to see Irving in Hamlet. The finest piece of Shakespeare acting that I have seen
30 Nov. – Stocks went on painting my head at Bridgewater House from 10.30 to 12.30.
1 Dec. – Sat to Stocks from 11 till 1.
2 Dec. – Stocks at Bridgewater House from 11 till 1, Getting on well with my portrait.
3 Dec. – Stocks again.
6 Dec. – Mr Ward R.A. came after 1 to see Stocks’s portrait of me and approves as does General Forster.
7 Dec. – Sat again to Stocks. My portrait will be completed tomorrow.
8 Dec. – Last sitting at B. House to Stocks. He left us this afternoon to go on with his painting at Easton Neston of the Van Drienens [There are several references around here to visits to Maclean, possibly the sculptor]
23 Dec. – [About a letter from Sir J. Abdy telling him that Albert, his brother, was seriously ill. Dr. William Gull had gone down and consulted with the local doctor. Albert had died at 3.10 on the morning of the 23rd.]
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Name: Extracts from the Diaries of Lord Ronald Gower Author: Philip Ward-Jackson Dated: 2017 Type: Unassigned