Monday, 30 September 2013

The Dean down under

Poster from
In aid of consolidating Maxwell Gray material, I've moved this post - largely focusing on Ken G Hall's 1934 Australian film adaptation of Maxwell Gray's The Silence of Dean Maitland - to my dedicated Maxwell Gray site, A Wren-Like Note.

See The Dean down under.

- Ray

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Crossing to Cowes

View Larger Map

If you've visited Osborne House on foot and are going back to Newport, it makes a pleasant round trip to take the five-minute bus trip to East Cowes, take the chain ferry - the Cowes Floating Bridge - across the mouth of the Medina to Cowes, and get the return bus from there.

The Floating Bridge has been running in various incarnations since 1859: see historical postcards. It's currently free for pedestrians, and the curving cabins have an interesting selection of local history displays, as well as poetry and artwork.

I quite liked this self-referential poem:


Manacled, I drag myself
Across this river
To and fro, To and fro

I haul my chains, groaning
Out of the murky depths
And groaning
Let them fall astern

What was my crime, and when
I cannot recall
But I do my penances
Year by year
In rain, in gale
In freezing February fog

What do you know of me?
I too can dream
One day I'll snap these chains
And steer away to tropic seas
To sun baked isle and
palm fringed shores
With a cargo of peacocks and
gold moidores.

We always seem to be paying flying visits to Cowes. On first glance, it doesn't have much: one folksy pedestrian main street, sandwiched between a very busy port on the Medina, and a lot of fairly uniform residental development on the hillside above. But a quick glance at the map suggests it would repay a bit of exploration: next time, maybe.

View Larger Map

Come to think of it, we've not explored any of the north side of the Isle of Wight. While it looks rather nice, if a little gentler than the Cretaceous cliff terrain of the south, the problem is that coast access isn't as comprehensive as the south; the northern coast is either interminable flat esplanade, complicated estuary, or on private woodland. From East Cowes south-eastward, there's no public access to the coast round the wooded Osborne Bay - coastline on the Norris, Osborne and Barton estates - and this section of the official Coastal Path has to bypass the coast in favour of a dismal trudge along the main A3021 road inland.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 introduced right-of-access legislation for the English coast: but this act doesn't include islands, unless they're accessible by foot from the mainland, or get a special order given by the Secretary of State on the basis that the coastline is long enough to justify such a path. Last year, the Isle of Wight Ramblers association launched a campaign to develop a coastal trail ...
Isle of Wight Ramblers say that around half of the existing path on the Isle of Wight runs either inland or along public roads and that “more than ten miles of our northern coastline between Yarmouth and Ryde have no public access or footpath”.
- Isle of Wight Economy Missing Out On £35m Say Ramblers, On the Wight, 7th April 2012 
... and the Secretary of State made a consultation in preamble to such an order. However, despite support from the majority of respondents, the environment minister Richard Benyon decided not to make such an order on the grounds that the Isle of Wight "is not a priority for the coastal access programme". See CampaignerKate - Wight blacked out - for a summary of the story; Coastal access: order for the Isle of Wight under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 for the full report; and the report and analysis from Isle of Wight Ramblers. It seems some voices carried more weight than others, and I've no doubt English Heritage was among them.

Update,  3rd Oct 2013: On The Wight reports that "the Minister has decided to review his decision to exclude the Isle of Wight from the English Coastal Path" - see A ray of hope for Isle of Wight Coastal Path plans.

A spot of terminological interest: the official names for the towns on the western and eastern sides of the mouth of the River Medina are "Cowes" and "East Cowes". Historically, however, they were "West Cowes" and "East Cowes". If you look at Old Maps, the map captions change post-1870 or so, and a look at the decline in print usage for "West Cowes" (see Google Ngram Viewer) bears this out. Nevertheless, "West Cowes" dies hard; in particular, the name is used by the Red Funnel ferries to distinguish clearly between the separate terminals for its Southampton ferries ("West Cowes" for the passenger-only service, and "East Cowes" for the car service).

The name Cowes is historically quite recent. It may derive ultimately from a descriptive name of sandbanks at the river mouth, but solidified after Henry VIII established a pair of forts - "cowes" or "cowforts" - on the west and east side. Prior to this, the settlements were called East and West Shamblord (aka Shamelhorde / Shamlord / Shamblers). According to an article in Nomina Germanica, Arkiv för Germansk Namnforskning, Volume 6, 1940, this name derived from "Old English sceamol 'bench, stool' and ord 'point'"; it's preserved now only as "Shamblers Copse", a wood to the south of (West) Cowes. 

- Ray

Friday, 27 September 2013

At Osborne House

Osborne House - eastern entrance
After many years of visiting the Isle of Wight, Clare and I finally visited Osborne House - Victoria and Albert's rural retreat. I've personally resisted it for years - I'm not a Royalist, and I don't like stately homes - but as I wasn't feeling so great (getting over a respiratory bug) it looked a more leisurely option than our usual coast walks. So ...

Osborne House is run by English Heritage, which has "a management contract to run [it] as a historic tourist attraction". You're reminded of this the instant you get in the door, by people trying to sell you English Heritage membership even before you get to the main ticket desk. Entrance is via a crass setup that funnels you through the crowded gift shop; you buy tickets (£13.40 per adult), and then they try again to sell you English Heritage membership, along with a guide book costing around a fiver. Once inside the very spacious grounds, a short walk (or a paid-for horse carriage ride) takes you to the house. They have a free baggage storage setup up a ramp to the right of the entrance.

My heart sank on finding that Osborne House has a no-photo policy indoors. We were told this was due to all the contents belonging to the Royal Collection - but it comes across as a restriction whose chief intent is to steer visitors toward buying postcards, guides, and commercial images. I appreciate that such income is necessary to help pay for the upkeep, but given the generally steep pricing for entrance and extras, it comes across as petty and anal (I'd have been perfectly happy to pay a reasonable permission fee with an agreement not use images commercially). Furthermore - I've discussed this with Felix Grant - as a fairly compulsive photographer, I've found photography has become a "way of seeing", of remembering, note-taking, and "fixing" experiences. Consequently I can't remember, or else can't find online, half of the stuff that interested or amused us as we walked around the house, such as the unintentionally hilarious "Sleeping Junkie" statue, of a sleeping spinner whose distaff looks like an oversized hypodermic syringe.

The visit is well-organised as a self-guided round trip that winds round the house, down to the basement, up to the top, then back down via the central stairwell. There are information boards and a few audiovisual displays, plus minders in each room, but the house isn't terribly well annotated. With a bit of creative management, it could be brought into the 21st century - for instance, with WiFi-accessible descriptions - but perhaps that's not the clientele they're aiming for.

Cherub strangling duck
Generally, the place left me completely cold: Osborne House is largely a monument to what happens when vast wealth hits zero aesthetic sense. The majority of rooms contain a Full English / Continental Breakfast of mismatched decor and neoclassical clutter. Where there is some coherence, it's just overdone. I wish I could show you a close-up of the gruesome Horn Room, where visitors were expected to wait on chairs made of antlers and animal legs. Or the Durbar Room, whose better coordination of theme - designed by Bhai Ram Singh and Lockwood Kipling, based on traditional Sikh decoration - is weakened by its weight of cake-icing ornament on every surface.

The William Dyce painting on the main staircase - the 1847 Neptune Resigning to Britannia the Empire of the Sea - is a weird piece of propaganda that chiefly left us wondering at the anatomy of the nymphs or tritons, who (unlike conventional merfolk) seem to have separate prehensile fishtails on the end of each foot.

But on the plus side, there are moments of human interest and calm in all this overblown clutter. Chiefly, we were awed by the portraiture of Rudolf Swoboda: a whole corridor is devoted to the works of this artist, who toured India and produced a large output - many in 8"x5" miniatures - of sensitive and photorealistic portraits of Indians from all walks of life. You can see many of them in the Royal Collection e-gallery. The Osborne collection includes a couple of portraits of Abdul Karim (aka "The Munshi") - if they're accurate, it's easy to see why Queen Victoria found him charismatic.

Finally, we took a walk round the grounds. Externally, I can't fault Osborne. Albert was a fine architect technically, and I like the Victorian Italianate stye. In pictures, the house often looks an austere grey, so grim that some comments have likened it to an American penitentiary - but in the flesh, it's a warm pale honey colour, perfectly complemented by the yellow-gravelled paths and a formal garden with a tightly-coordinated register of plant colours. A little over a kilometre's stroll takes you down through parkland to Osborne's private beach, recently opened to the public. There wasn't a great deal to see there - the "Swiss Cottage" was under renovation - but it was a pleasant spot to chill out on a very warm autumn afternoon.

On balance, I recommend Osborne House; but you'll get more out of it if you're actually interested in the Victorian royal family. You also need to be a bit thick-skinned about its ways of getting money out of you: beware, for instance, of the Osborne Cream Tea (around £25 for two). I appreciate they have to fund the place, but they could make it less overt. Going slightly off-season is a good idea too; I gather from reviews that it can become monstrously crowded in the height of the tourist season.

See the official site: Osborne House.

Addendum: out of interest, check out Government House, Melbourne, Australia, which, as a tribute to Victoria, was constructed in 1876 as a copy of Osborne House.

- Ray

Sorry about the hiatus in posts: nothing sinister, just a very busy week including a band performance last Sunday at Topsham Quay, then a scheduled break in the Isle of Wight - all pretty hard work while convalescing from a respiratory bug (sub-flu, but still nasty) that's going the rounds.

Monday, 16 September 2013

The mysterious superfruit

Department of bizarre advertising. I'm sure I'm not the only one to wonder what's the faintly obscene-looking object in the omnipresent banner ad on Facebook for "This Superfruit Melts Fat". It leads to a characteristically naff ad for bowel cleanse / slimming products, which makes no mention of this object.

The excellent Google Images, which Felix Grant recommended to me a while back, identifies the thing: it's just a picture of an abnormally formed hen's egg, posted originally on a Canadian poultry forum in 2009 (Weird looking egg, 11th April 2009) and later, in higher resolution, by the hen's owner on her blog My Mountain Garden Gleanings (Weird Eggs, January 27th 2011).

How this egg image came to be ripped off for a slimming ad I can't really imagine. Perhaps it's a teaser to make people click on the ad out of curiosity? Perhaps it's a "stupidity filter" to select for punters who don't get alarm bells ringing about a weird advert whose picture has no relation to the product sold. But then you'd have to be pretty stupid not to spot the ridiculous non-sequitur in the advertising text:
You may have heard of the enormously popular Ketone Extract in the news. It's a completely organic fruit found deep in the Congo rainforest of Africa.
What? There's a fruit called a Ketone Extract? I must look for it in the greengrocers next to the nice ripe Aldehyde Concentrates, which are just coming into season alongside the deliciously juicy Terpene berries.

- Ray

Thursday, 12 September 2013

A Christmas Carol: a rationale

I'd normally save this topic until Christmas, but it seems too good to waste. Last Sunday's Independent carried an interesting news story:
A Brazilian man recovering from a stroke has turned into a philanthropist after damage to parts of his brain changed his personality in a way previously unheard of by doctors.

The 49-year-old senior manager of a large corporation found that he could not stop giving away money and spending cash liberally on sweets, food and drinks for children he met in the street. His wife told doctors her husband’s generosity had led to significant family distress and almost bankrupted them.

The man, referred to as Mr A, suffered a stroke triggered by high blood pressure. This led to bleeding in his subcortical region, an area immediately below the cerebral cortex, associated with higher-level thinking and decision-making.


Mr A told doctors he was aware of his behaviour and no longer wanted to work because he had “seen death close up (and) wanted to enjoy life which is too short”.

- Businessman suffers stroke, then can’t stop giving his money away, Janet Tappin Coelho, Rio de Janeiro, The Independent, Sunday 08 September 2013
That would be a nice rationale for Ebenezer Scrooge's personality change, following an overnight epiphany about life and death, in A Christmas Carol. I'm not the first to think of this (though this is the first example I've heard of with symptoms and circumstances matching the Dickens story): a stroke is one of the possibilities covered by Lisa Sanders, MD, in her December 17, 2006 New York Times article, Diagnosing with Dickens, though she ultimately settles on Lewy body dementia.

- Ray

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Foulston's "Hindoo" chapel, Devonport

Ker Street, from Devonshire & Cornwall illustrated (1832)

Further to Seeking details: Devonport "Hindoo" Calvinist Chapel, I took myself to the Devon and Exeter Institution today to look at a primary source, John Foulston's self-published The public buildings erected in the West of England as designed by John Foulston F.R.I.B.A. (pub. J Williams, 1838).

I noticed previously that Foulston's chapel, demolished in 1902 and formerly part of his Ker Street development for the town centre of the newly-incorporated Devonport, always seems to get fragmentary glimpses as part of larger panoramas of the site. Foulston's own book gives rather more information about what it actually looked like.

Firstly, here's a detail from Plate 80:

Town Hall, commemorative column, Mount Zion Chapel,
Civil and Military Library, Ker St, Devonport
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use

Foulston commented in the preface on the general design concept:

Notwithstanding the grandeur and exquisite proportions of the Grecian orders, the author has never been insensible to the distinguishing beauties of the other original styles; and it occurred to him that if a series of edifices, exhibiting the various features of the architectural world, were erected in conjunction, and skilfully grouped, a happy result might be obtained.

Under this impression, he was induced to try an experiment, (not before attempted) for producing a picturesque effect, by combining, in one view, the Grecian, Egyptian, and a variety of the Oriental, as will be seen in Plate No. 81 [sic], the view of Ker-Street, Devonport.
The main section on the chapel, pages 63ff, describes it in detail. In contrast to the florid exterior, the interior sounds horribly cramped and uncomfortable (perhaps a deliberate exercise in Calvinist austerity):
This Chapel was erected by subscription for Calvinistic Worship. The exterior, exhibiting a variety of Oriental Architecture, is seen in juxta-position with others of Greek and Egyptian character; the Author's intention being to experimentalize on the effect which might be produced by such an assemblage. If the critic be opposed to the strangeness of the  attempt, he may still be willing to acknowledge, that the general effect of the combination is picturesque.


Plate 95—Fig. 1, Plans of the Area, and Fig. 2, Plan of the Galleries, by which it may be seen that the object of the designer was to meet the wishes of his employers, in sacrificing, as much as possible, the individual comforts of the sitters to the numerical extent of the sittings. The Pews in the Chapel were not allowed to be more than 2ft. 4in. wide, nor more than 18in. for each person. The Aisles were limited to a width of 4ft. 6in., and probably in no Chapel has less space been occupied by the Staircases to the Galleries.

The Recess in which the Pulpit and Reading Desk are situated, was formed with a view to its answering the purpose of a sounding board; and it is further serviceable in allowing the preacher to avoid too close an approach to the front seats, at the end of the Galleries.

Plate 95, Fig.1, ground plan
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Plate 95, Fig. 2, gallery
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Plate 96—Front and return Elevations of Buildings.
Plate 96 (detail) - front elevation
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Plate 96 (detail) - elevation of frontage
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Plate 97—Head of Central Window
Plate 97 - head of central window
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Plate 98—Head of Side Windows
Plate 98 - head of side windows
Courtesy of The Devon and Exeter Institution - not for re-use
Pardon the distortion and variable colour; I had to take the photos under not-so-bright conditions, and the large pages couldn't be flattened.

I'll write more about Foulston's The public buildings erected in the West of England in a later post or two; it makes for rather quirky reading. While it's a record of Foulston's undoubted flair - one highlight is his description of how the Devonport Column was erected without the use of scaffolding - it does turn egotistical on occasion, and even whiny, as in the last section on his unexecuted plan for Bristol Gaol. Here Foulston tells how he resolved not to go in for any more design competitions after failing to win with his gaol design, and the account has a distinct edge of schadenfreude where he tells of the "fearful circumstances" that befell the winning entry (the New Gaol, attacked by rioters in 1831 and set on fire) as, he argues, a consequence of not following his own design principles.

Thanks to the Devon and Exeter Institution for guest access to its library; as stated, all images are reproduced courtesy of the Institution.

- Ray

Thursday, 5 September 2013


Another song from the aforementioned steampunk musical troupe Steam Powered Giraffe: Honeybee, a lovely piece of close harmony, of the kind whose seeming laidback effortlessness covers very tight musicianship.

By coincidence, I just had a pleasant e-mail from Garson O'Toole, author of Quote Investigator, who has kindly credited my research (and that of Bonnie Taylor-Blake) in tracing the roots of the meme to the effect that "If the Bee Disappeared Off the Face of the Earth, Man Would Only Have Four Years Left To Live" (Albert Einstein? Charles Darwin? Maurice Maeterlinck? E. O. Wilson? Apocryphal?). Despite such debunkings, the story trundles on ...
Albert Einstein famously said mankind would become extinct without them. "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live," he predicted.
- Why we need a Plan Bee, Julie Carpenter, Express, The (London, England) - Wednesday, May 1, 2013 
... and even when authors acknowledge the lack of attribution, they still perpetuate the meme by repeating it in detail, with a minimal wrapping of provisionality. For example:
The importance of bees to the environment is clear. Often attributed to Einstein, there is some debate about who actually said: "If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."
- Battle against pesticide-makers to save honeybees from a sticky end, Oliver Moody, Times, The (London, England) - Thursday, February 28, 2013
It seems a good scary soundbite never dies.

Anyhow, check out Quote Investigator. It's a long-running site, going back to 2010, with well-researched articles on quotes attributed to several hundred authors. Its resource recommendations are also worth checking out. I especially second Wikiquote; it still doesn't seem generally known that it differs from Wikipedia in actively encouraging original research, and that its default position is that included quotes must have demonstrable citation ("Wikiquote is a free online compendium of sourced quotations"). In this, it differs from the vast majority of online quotation sites.

- Ray

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


A pertinent poem found in the Internet Archive:

The silver moon is in the sky,
The stars their silver light are shedding,
Where silver meadows silent lie,
That silver feet are softly treading.

A silver bridge the water spans,
Where silver fountains pure are flowing,
And fairy boats o'er silver sands
With silver oars are lightly rowing.

And silver voices, sweet and clear,
In silver tones are gayly singing;
While merry guests, afar and near,
Their costly silver gifts are bringing.

With empty hands but swelling heart,
A wreath of silver thoughts entwining,
I bring a gift of lowly art,
From my poetic silver mining.


In merry England's days of old,
When maids were fair and knights were bold,
A crusty old bachelor sat, one day,
Grumbling alone, and was heard to say
That never yet was there known a fight
By lord or vassal, yeoman or knight,
On any occasion, wrong or right,
But a woman was in the rout.
A gallant wit at once replied,
" The statement need not be denied ;
Nothing else is worth fighting about."

And now, in our degenerate time,
When lovers' battles are fought in rhyme,
When the iron armor worn of yore
Gives place to a baby's pinafore,
When the flashing sword that cut to the quick
Is changed for a dandy's walking-stick,
And chivalry stern, which wielded the lance,
Is dwindled down to such fine romance,
That every girl who is courted at all
Is courted under a " waterfall,"
While nameless animals build their lair
Within the folds of her shining hair;
And heroes brave and stalwart men,
Who once were knighted the sons of Mars,
Are now but knights of Apollo's pen,
Who idle gaze at falling stars,
And vainly seek, with feeble will,
To rule the world with a gray goose quill.
E'en now that the sword is changed for the pen,
We hear it said by sensible men,
Not that woman, as maiden or wife,
Is the innocent cause of every strife,
But that woman is still the poet's dream,
And marriage is still the author's theme,
And whoever thinks to write a book,
On which the public will deign to look,
A book to be anything but a miscarriage,
Begins it with love and ends it with marriage ;
For not only youth and beauty incline
To worship together at Cupid's shrine,
But men and matrons are heard to sing
The praise of the matrimonial ring ;
And those who, seeking hymeneal bowers,
Are married at twenty with music and flowers,
Pleased with their chains, if both are alive,
Are married with SILVER at forty-five.
And so, it happens, to-night we are threading
The winding maze of a Silver Wedding.

But turn, my muse, and lift the veil
Where secrets of the past were said ;
Move backward on the track of time
Where five-and-twenty years have sped,
And bring a glimpse of life's fair morn
Of which this festive eve is born.

On TRURO'S shore, whose silver sand
Rolls back Atlantic's restless tide,
A boy and girl walk hand in hand,
A youth and maid sit side by side.
As fragrance of the dewy morn,
Or flowers blooming at their feet,
The joys that in their hearts are born
Of their communion low and sweet.
Life's hopes are budding in their path ;
Life's star is rising in their sky ;
Fair promise all their future hath,
One love, one home, one destiny.
A sacred service makes them one,
And life's long marriage is begun.
Methinks I see them as they stand
Before the altar, hand in hand,
A manly youth with forehead high,
Of noble form and eagle eye ;
A blushing maiden young and fair,
Sweet orange blossoms in her hair.
Kind friends, no favor is denied;
I give you leave to kiss the bride.

The muse must now venture a secret to tell,
'Twas everywhere whispered this pair married well ;
For whatever joys he could wish for in life,
He found ready made at the hands of his wife ;
And she, it is said, was more envied than he,
As happy as fortunate woman could be ;
For hers was the one prize so eagerly sought
By managing dames at a summer resort,
And one that the stoniest heart can bewitch ;
You've guessed her good fortune,she married RICH.

But not these scenes alone our thought shall claim ;
For downward in the course of passing years,
Through scenes too sweet to last, too dear to name,
A richer field of riper joys appears,
Joys of which no school-boy ever dreamed,
Which no maiden's fancy ever brought to view,
Better than to our youthful hopes they seemed,
Holier far and of a deeper hue ;
For joy grows sweeter amid falling tears,
And love grows stronger as 'tis tried by pain ;
And hope is brighter when 'tis set in fears,
And life is dearer when it seems to wane.
And from the anxious fears and toil and strife,
And all the changing scenes of middle life,
From earnest efforts that success has crowned ;
From sympathy in disappointment found ;
From hopes that in the tiny cradle lie ;
From joys that by the silent grave do die ;
There comes a deeper love, uniting heart to heart,
That neither good nor ill, nor life nor death can part.

Such, my dear friends, is the union you have known,
Through all the changing scenes of five-and-twenty years,
Such may it be when as many more have flown,
Rich with still brighter joys and dimmed with fewer tears.
And when, if life be spared while these years shall pass away,
You shall clasp your hands again on your Golden Wedding day,
May it be with filial trust in Him who rules on high,
That life shall ever live, and that love can never die.

- A Poem read at the Silver Wedding of Matthias Rich and Sarah A Knowles Rich, Nov. 19th 1866, by Rev. RA Ballou,  Boston, Innes & Niles, 1867 (Internet Archive ID poemreadatsilver00bostiala).
Today, Clare and I have been married 25 years. It's quite a surprise, considering that we married quite late and that I'm not the easiest of people to get on with - and especially pleasant when a year ago there was a high probability that I wouldn't last the year.

Clare is the best thing in my life, and has furthermore been central to making me the person able to achieve the many almost-best things in my life.

We're just celebrating with a meal, and maybe going out for the day later in the week. But clearly this is doing it all wrong, in comparison with the celebrations that are findable in the Internet Archive, which involved commisioned poems, self-published pamphlets with biographical accounts, and so on. A surprising number of works are inspired by the theme, too. A few of interest:
- Ray

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Nelson gets a facelift

New sign

Old sign #2
Old sign #1

I can be a little unobservant at times. Because it's so high above street level, I hadn't taken a close look at the new sign for The Nelson (formerly the Lord Nelson Inn) in Topsham; and nor had I noticed that the old ones are in the courtyard behind.

It's interesting to compare influences and styles. The old sign #1 is a rather stylised but realistic portrait. The old sign #2 is brilliantly naff as a piece of naive art in the style of many pub signs. The new sign, reflecting the formal name change to The Nelson, is a very polished photorealistic depiction (anecdotally, I gather it was done by a Dutch graphics firm). Googling a little finds that ...

Old sign #1 / 1800 Heinrich Füger portrait (detail)
... the old sign #1 (above) is closely based on Heinrich Füger's 1800 portrait, currently in the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth.

Old sign #2 / Beechey portrait (detail)
The old sign #2 (above) looks to have based the uniform on one of the William Beechey portraits, with the face similar to that of the Heinrich Füger.

New sign / 1799 Abbott portrait (detail)
The new sign (above) is modelled on the 1799 Lemuel Francis Abbott portrait (see Wikipedia), which is in the Terracotta Room at 10 Downing Street. It slightly embellishes Nelson's uniform with the red sash from the Beechey depictions. In my view it makes Nelson look rather bland and neotonous, but I still think it's extremely well done as a very nice sign that modifies an original image to the point where it's neither a straight copy nor a too obvious adaptation.

- Ray