New Victorian Murder Book Launched This Week

After completing volumes one and two of the George Wombwell biography, I turned my attention to something which kept on appearing in search results as I worked on the biography. One such result was a News of The World report into this grizzly murder in the Essex Marshes. It seemed an open and shut case according to their report. The man Harrington, appearing at the inquest, held in a local pub in Tollesbury, was guilty all the way. However, I researched this case further and found that the murder was not that straightforward. It absorbed me into it so much I published this book as a consequence. Ideal Christmas present for those interested in Victorian crime and punishment.

In 1851 in the fishing village of Tollesbury on the Essex Marshes, a murder had been committed. The villagers thought they knew who did it and were looking for justice. The author looks at the evidence as it was reported in newspapers and in archived documents. Based on such evidence, the author reconstructs the events covering the murder, the inquest, the trial and the events that occurred after the trial. The murder is set against the background of the capital punishment reformist movement and describes how mid-century juries were influenced by their own moral and religious convictions.

Available in Kindle ebook format Paperback Formats

Purchase via Amazon

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Bartholomew Fair Watercolour by Charles Green R.I. (1840 – 1898)

Saint Bartholomew Fair, watercolour, Charles Green, circa 1870

Whilst researching for volume two of the George Wombwell biography, I discovered a November 1949 article in the popular newsapaper The Sphere concerning Charles Green’s depiction of Bartholomew Fair in central London. It referred to its place in a collection under the aegis of The National Gallery of British Sports and Pastimes, which had been founded by Walter Hutchinson (1887 – 1950) during 1949. It consisted of over 3600 paintings, prints and other works, which belonged to Hutchinson and adorned his house in London: Hutchinson House. Formerly known as Derby House, Stratford Place, the house was originally built for Edward Stratford, the Second Earl of Aldborough in 1776 – 1777. The current occupants are the Orient Club which have maintained residence since 1962.

There is a catalogue of items from the collection.

National Gallery of British Sports & Pastimes (LONDON) – The First 600 Selected Pictures. National Gallery of British Sports and Pastimes … List of sports and pastimes, etc. (London, c.1950)

Following Hutchinson’s death, and the breakup of the Sports and Pastimes Gallery, all works were offered up for auction. The current whereabouts of Green’s painting is not known and there is no record of its existence in the Courtauld’s Witt Archives (as of summer 2017). The Sphere article is quite sparce, but describes a busy scene, full of incidents after the manner of Frith. The entertinments include Wombwell’s Menagerie (rear left), swings, roundabouts and all the fun of the fair. In the background is the entrance to Bartholomew’s Hospital. It is probably the most representative of all views of Bartholomew Fair, although it must have been painted after 1855, the closing date of the fair.

Green was a well known illustrator for the works of Charles Dickens and other examples of his work can be found in collections such as those of the Victoria and Albert museum in central London.

This painting was excluded from the biography due to insumountable, multiple copyright issues, and is published here for the purposes of non-commercial research or private study, reference, criticism or review or news reporting, of not more than one item (article or page) from any one issue of a newspaper of periodical. Copyright issues should not be allowed to interfere with the discovery of hitherto unknown artworks from being researched and presented for public display.

Any information concering the current location of the watercolour would be gratefully received.

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The Political Protest Photograph as an Artwork

Cover of Camerwork Volume 8

Political photographs in museums and national art galleries are rare beasts. At least they were for many years prior to an exhibition of photographs depicting life in Britain: Who We Are: Photographing Britain at Tate Britain, London during 2007. On the tenth anniversary, which is more coincidental than pre-arranged, I publish an essay, first written in 2014 as part of my MA in History of Photography. It cultivates the notion that rather than being a rarity, th protest photograph performs a function hitherto not recognised by curators and academics alike. Namely, that the protest photograph is not just a worthy artform for wider recognition by the major galleries and museums, but also one that functions in the same way as the History painting. Examples of history painting include such masterpices as Théodore Géricault’s Raft of the Medusa (1819), Oil on Canvas, that hangs majestically in its own salon in the Musée du Louvre, in Paris. The History painting, as any self respecting art historian knows, is the pinnacle of art, from which all other forms of visual art hang their credentials. To not do so would be considered suicidal!

Given the current political environment, and the constant references to the 1970s, the essay has been reworked for publication and many thanks to my former tutor Dr Patricia de Bello, from Birkbeck School of Art History, London, for the suggestions made to improve the essay’s worth. She has no doubt forgotten that she ever gave me any advise, but what stuck in my mind for the last 4 years, was that the essay would eventually be worthy of publication. I am of course, too old to revisit academia and the pitfalls of journal publication, so I have added it here on my blog for all those readers willing to take time to read it.

Go HERE for the article

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Frampton Marshes July 18th 2017

‘Tatty’ Red Admiral at RSPB Frampton Marshes 18th July 2017.

Went back to Frampton Marshes this week. Quite active site. The Spoonbills are still there, but i never saw them. These shots taken towads the 360 degree hide in the tall Teasel.

Slightly lazy Peacock Butterfly near the 360 degree hide.








There was a nice display from two Lapwings. Film to follow.

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RSPB: An Evening Walk in Cambridgeshire

Last Wednesday I went on a walk in Cambridgeshire with an RSPB warden on a growing local reserve, The following film records a murmeration that we not expecting. The starlings were likely all fledglings of this year. They ‘were maybe, learning their craft’. Fascinating to see them join in as ‘squadrons’!

If you want to see such sights join your local RSPB group or go out and find them for yourselves.

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Wildlife Reserve: Brandon Hills and Holes

Quite close to Stamford in Lincolnshire and the A1 road, is this delightful and important wildlife reserve. Several species of orchids and scarce butterflies, etc. The Marbled White was in abundance Saturday 8th July 2017, together with some orchids including the Pyramidal orchid. Here’s a selection:

Two courting critters!

Pyramidal Orchid

Marble White Butterfly on Greater Knapweed

Bee on Greater Knapweed

Likely to be Small Skipper Butterfly at Barnack Hills and Holes

Cons: Not suitable for disabled as path is steep and bumpy. No facilities. Dofg walkers abound.

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National Trust: Wicken Fen

First summer visit to Wicken since about 1993! Yes that long. Much to see, and the Early Marsh Orchids are blooming marvelous! In 1993, there were about 20, but this year it is in the hundreds if not thousands! Well done NT.
I aslo noticed this specimen on my visit on the Summer trail (West of site). I believe it to be the Southern Marsh Orchid or an outside chance of it being the Marsh Fragrent Orchid. It was at least 9 inches of bloom, which is what caught my eye.

Sadly, no sightings of Hen Harriers, but I heard this week that they have but four breeding pairs in England right now! Wicken Fen is worth a visit, butt ake the insect repellant!

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Gret evening out in Cambridgeshire at the Ouse Washes reserve. Spent the evening observing this young Barn Owl hunting.

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RSPB Frampton Marshes near The Wash

Spent a very good afternoon and evening at Frampton Marshes on the border of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. Run by the RSPB, the staff were friendly and te facilties mmaculate. The outlook onto the scapings was amazing, with Little Egrets just a few metres in front of me! Too easy for a photo though!

Bee Orchid at Frampton Marshes

Wood or Shorelark at Frampton Marshes

Probably the Wood Sandpiper at Frampton Marshes

Probably the Wood Sandpiper at Frampton Marshes

From the East Hide at Frampton Marshes Panorama

Panorama Outlook to the Wash from Frampton Marshes

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My First NightJar Sightings

If you have never seen t he Nightjar, well you are not alone. As a nocturnal creature, you just get fleeting glances of it at dusk and at dawn. I went to Dersingham Bog Nature Reserve in North Norfolk at the weekend with the RSPB and had my first sightings of this strange bird. In fact it is only in silloette that you see it, but even that is a great sight, given the way it flies. Firstly, there’s the sound as it comes out. A ‘churring’ sound best desribes it, and it cannot be mixed up with any other bird. Incidentally, a Nightjar is also known as a Goat-Sucker!

Then it is on the wing and flaps around across the heathland, which is its favourite habitat. Whilst waiting a sighting, the Barn Owl and Short-Eared or Little Owl were a welcome sighting as was the Woodcock in flight. At one point the Nightjar sat next to a Short Eared Owl on a branch in the far distance. Even stanger!

Night Photo of the tree with a Nightjar in it! It is extremely low light and a very high ISO was applied to get even this shot. The bird is on a branch somewhere?

Before Dersinham Bog, we went to the Sandringham Estate. Not much to say about the bird life, but I snapped a common bue damselfly and a Speckled Wood Butterfly.

Speckled Wood Butterfly, Sandringham Estate, Norfolk

Common Blue Damselfly, Sandringham Estate, Norfolk

Oh yes and apparently Pooh Bear lives here!

Pooh’s House!

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