A New Trilogy

I am sorry for not posting today or even looking at the computer; my wife and I had to rush my son to the hospital after he started bleeding profusely and passing blood. Please pray for him.

Tea at Trianon has an article about some new works being produced about the Queen Martyr. She says very eloquently the truth about the revolution in France.

...People frequently ask me why I wrote Trianon. One of the reasons is that I kept encountering educated people who really thought that Marie-Antoinette said "Let them eat cake." I kept running into Catholics, including priests and nuns, who thought that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette were killed as punishment for some egregious wickedness, or at least, for unforgivable stupidity. Having read books about Louis and Antoinette since I was nine years old, I knew that not to be true; it was only after a great deal more research that I came to see how completely false is the common belief about the king and queen. But the demonization of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette in the popular mind is necessary in order to justify the excesses of the French Revolution. When people have a false and distorted view of history, then it is difficult for them to grasp the present, and almost impossible to meet the future with any kind of preparedness....more
de Brantigny


Adagio in G minor by Albinoni

This is at 10 minutes.

Giovanni de Verazzano

Giovanni de Verazzano was born sometime in 1485, at Val di Greve, near Florence, in present day Italy. He entered the naval service of le Roi FrancoisI of France, he soon became famous as a corsair, preying on the ships of Spain and Portugal, one of his prizes in 1522 being the treasure-ship sent to Rey Carlos V of Spain by Cortés with Mexican spoils.

In Jan., 1524, he began a voyage of discovery aboard the ship Dauphine in the company of the Normandie to the New World on the behalf of his patron King Francis I, during which he kept a log-book of his experiences. In 1556 Ramusio published in his collection of voyages a letter written by Verrazano giving an account of his voyage to the coast of North America.

…We set sail with the Dauphine from the deserted rock near the Island of Madeira, which belongs to the Most Serene King of Portugal on the 17th day of January last; we had fifty men, and were provided with food for eight months, with arms and other articles of war, and naval munitions; we sailed westward on the gentle breath of a light easterly wind. In 25 days we covered eight hundred leagues…

The greater part of the present east coast of the United States, including North Carolina, was first described by Verrazzano. The point where Verrazzano first sighted land has never been established conclusively but is understood by many to have been at the mouth of the Cape Fear, a few minutes south of the 34th parallel.

…We departed this place (Cape Fear vicinity), still running along the coast, which we found to trend toward the east, and we saw everywhere very great fires, by reason of the multitude of the inhabitants. While we rode on that coast, partly because it had no harbor, and for that we wanted water, we sent our boat ashore with twenty-five men...

...Heavy seas kept the boat from landing, but one man swam ashore, where he was met by a group of Indians and “cried out piteously.” Initially fearful for his life, he was welcomed around “a great fire” and, after a while, allowed to return to the ship...

His is the first post-Columbian description of the North Atlantic coast, and gives the first description of New York Bay and harbour and the present Hudson River. Thence he sailed along Long Island Sound to Block Island and Newport, of which he makes mention. From this note-book of the voyage his brother Hieronimo(1) drew in 1529 a map of the North Atlantic coast, which is now in the Museo Di Roma, and testifies to the accuracy of Verrazano's observations along the coast as far as a point in the present State of Maine, whence he returned to France, arriving at Dieppe in July, 1524.

Little that is authentic is known of his subsequent career(2); Spanish records relate that he was captured in 1527, while cruising off the coast of Cadiz, and executed by order of the Emperor Carlos V. Other reports claim he was eaten by cannibals in the Antilles. However he died, the authenticity of his letter, describing his voyage along the Atlantic coast has given rise to an extensive historical controversy, but the most recent researches affirm its reliability as well as that of his brother's map, the best sixteenth-century map extant in its original form, which has special influence on the subsequent cartography of the time.

(1) Hieronimo, (fr. latin Hieronimous, Jerome)
(2) Virtually unknown, Verrazzano has been raised from obscurity through the efforts of John N. LaCorte, founder of the Italian Historical Society of America.



Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler

Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler (3 November 1846–2 October 1933) was a British painter, the first woman painter to achieve fame for history paintings, right at the end of that tradition. She was married to Lieutenant General Sir William Butler.

Born at Villa Claremont in Lausanne, Switzerland, she specialized in painting scenes from British military campaigns and battles, including the Crimean War and the Battle of Waterloo. The Roll Call, The Defence of Rorke's Drift, and Scotland Forever! are among her better-known works. She wrote about her military paintings in an autobiography published in 1922: "I never painted for the glory of war, but to portray its pathos and heroism."

...Depicts Dr. William Brydon, an assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army arriving at the gates of Jellabad on his exhausted and dying horse. He was thought to be the sole survivor of some 16,000 strong army and followers from Kabul, which was forced to retreat the 90 miles over snow covered passes to Jellabad during the first Aghan war. A few others eventually struggled through to the fort. Was this the insipration for Dr John Watson in the Sherlock holmes series? (1879 – Tate Gallery)

She was the daughter of Thomas James Thompson (1812–1881) and his second wife Christiana Weller (1825–1910). Her sister is the famous essayist and poet Alice Meynell. Elizabeth began receiving art instruction in 1862, while growing up in Italy. In 1866 she went to South Kensington, London and entered the Female School of Art. She became a Roman Catholic along with the rest of the family after they moved to Florence in 1869. While in Florence, under the tutelage of the artist Giuseppe Bellucci (1827–1882), Elizabeth attended the Accademia di Belle Arti. She signed her works as E.B.; Elizth. Thompson or Mimi Thompson.

Initially she concentrated on religious subjects like The Magnificat (1872), but upon going to Paris in 1870 she was exposed to battle scenes from Jean Louis Ernest Meissonier and Édouard Detaille, and switched her focus to war paintings. With the painting Missing (1873) a Franco-Prussian War battle scene, depicting the common solders' suffering and heroism, she earned her first submission to the Royal Academy.

After The Roll Call (1)was shown in 1874 at the Academy, she became a nineteenth century celebrity, due to the paintings' immense popularity. As the paintings toured Europe, along with photographs of Elizabeth, she gained even more notice because people found out that she was both young and pretty, something normally not associated with painters of battle scenes. It also helped that during this time there was an incredible amount of Victorian pride and romanticism for the growing British Empire.

Her career and fame peaked with her 11 June 1877 marriage to Sir William Francis Butler (1838–1910), a distinguished officer of the British Army, from Tipperary in Ireland. Not only was this beauty now married, breaking the heart of many a young man, but also she would now travel to the far reaches of the Empire with her husband and raise their five children. During this time she also came under the influence of her husband's Irish-inclined beliefs that the colonial imperialism of countries like Great Britain may not be in the best interest of the native people in far-off lands, but continued to paint scenes showing the valour of the ordinary British soldier.

On her husband's retirement from the army, she moved with him to Ireland, where they lived at Bansha Castle, County Tipperary. She was widowed in 1910, but continued to live at Bansha until 1922, when she took up residence with her daughter (one of six children), Eileen, Viscountess Gormanston, at Gormanston Castle, County Meath. She died there shortly before her 87th birthday and was interred at nearby Stamullen graveyard.

...Probably the best known painting of the gallant charge of the Royal North Dragoons, The Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo. According to an eyewitness Alexander Armour at the start of the charge of the greys had to pass through the ranks of the Highland Brigade and armour recalled The highlanders were then ordered to wheel back, when they did so we rushed through them at the same time they heard us calling Now my boys Scotland Forever. 1881 (1881 – Leeds City Art Gallery)

The remnants of the Light Brigade (Hussars, Lancers, and Light Dragoons) returning from the disastrous charge during the Battle of Balaclava, 25th October 1854 (1876 – City of Manchester Art Gallery)

(1) Property of HRM Queen Elizabeth II

de Brantigny

Tommy Atkins

The Thin Red Line by Robert Gibb
This famous picture show the 93rd Regiment Highlanders, commanded by Sir Colin Campbell, awaiting the onslaught of the Russian cavalry in line without a movement in their ranks or an attempt to throw themselve into a square. Here they successfully repelled the Russian Charge, during the Battle of Balaclava, Crimean War 1854 - 1856.

by Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, 'ow's yer soul?
"But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to rollO it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.,

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind",
But it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's "Please to walk in front, sir", when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
de Brantigny


Odo, Bishop of Bayeux

Odo was half-brother to William I of England and it was William, as Duke of Normandy, who granted Odo the bishopric of Bayeux in 1049. Odo joined in the conquest of England 1066 and in 1067 was granted the earldom of Kent and the fortress of Dover Castle, with the task of defending this vital section of coastline.

Left, A print of the battle of Hasting in 1066 depicting the point in the battle where the Normans lost sight of William and feared he had fallen. William (1) raised his helmet off his head to show his face. His brother Odo (2), on horsback behind him points out his brother to the knights. He carries a ceremonial mace as a sign of his importance.

In his role as a trusted agent of the king, he often acted as Vice-regent for William, becoming the second most powerful man in the kingdom and amassing great wealth in the process. Almost certainly it was Odo who commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry, which depicts the story of the Norman invasion of England. In 1082 Odo fell foul of King William, as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle succinctly records, 'the king seized Odo'. He was stripped of his lands and imprisoned, and not released until 1087.

In 1088, following William I's death and the crowning of William Rufus, Odo joined a rebellion which aimed to put another of William I's sons on the throne, Robert Duke of Normandy. The plot was quickly defeated and Odo was exiled from England to return to Normandy. He went on the first crusade in 1096 but died at Palermo in 1097, before reaching the Holy Land.

Odo was born in 1036 and died this month in 1097.

de Brantigny

Bayeux Tapestry

The Bayeux Tapestry is one of the most important pictorial works surviving from the middle ages, and certainly the most important from the eleventh century. It is not really a tapestry, but embroidery of colored wool on an unbleached linen background. It comprises a series of connected panels two hundred and three feet in length, with each of the panels about eighteen inches high. Much of what we know about its origins is a matter of guesswork. It was almost certainly the work of English embroiderers, and was most probably produced in the famous embroidery works of Winchester. The best guess is that it was commissioned by Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, and William the Conqueror's half-brother, one of the leading figures in the invasion of England. It was perhaps completed on 1077 in time for the consecration of the new cathedral at Bayeux or finished in 1083.

The French republican government was notorious for destroying relics of the past so it is not surprising that during the French revolution, it was hauled out to cover a wagon-load of ammunition being sent to the northern front where the republican French were being attacked by Royalists. A young lawyer of Bayeux pulled the tapestry from the wagon and replaced it with an oil cloth much better suited for the purpose. He carried the tapestry home, and hid it in his attic, where it remained for the next thirty years. When it was brought out, it was turned over to the bishop of Bayeux, who placed it in the Bishop's palace. It has remained there ever since, except for a short time when the Nazis took it to Paris for scientific examination. The bishop's palace is now a museum in which the tapestry is on permanent display and viewed by thousands of visitors a year.

de Brantigny

The Founding of Britain's Overseas Empire

The Monarchist has this article on it. I post it for my NewFee relatives...

Above Plaque in St. John's, Newfoundland, commemorating Sir Humphrey Gilbert's founding of the British Empire.On arriving at the port of St. John's, Gilbert found himself temporarily blockaded by the fishing fleet under the organisation of the port admiral (an Englishman) on account of piracy committed against a Portuguese vessel in 1582 by one of Gilbert's commanders. Once this resistance was overcome, Gilbert waved his letters patent about and, in a formal ceremony, took possession of Newfoundland (including the lands 200 leagues to the north and south) for the English crown on August 5, 1583. This involved the cutting of turf to symbolize the transfer of possession of the soil, according to the common law of England. He claimed authority over the fish stations at St. John's and proceeded to levy a tax on the fisherman from several countries who worked this popular area near the Grand Banks.
An interesting site on L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, may be found here, and here, and here.
Thanks and a bottle of Screech to the Monarchist.
de Brantigny


Chouans en Avant

avec Jean-Francois Michael

If the video stops working see this:


My wife, daughters and grandaughters have returned to wearing their head covered to Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary and Stations of the Cross. Now I wonder if I can get them to wear the style of coif from our ansestral region... Hmm. These pictures cover the south west of France, Bretagne and the coastal areas of the Pays de Loire.

I present some prints and photos of French women wearing their tradional coifs.
Right...Bretagne Grande Coiffe also called a Cornet.
This might be worn at Weddings, feasts, any special occasion.

Left, A native of the country from Beuzec, Lanriec or Trégunc.
Below more Bretagne coifs

From the Pays de Retz, a region on the west coast of France, south of the Loire.
Machecoul below...

...and Pornic Coifs right.

Below, A print from Racinette showing traditional headress of the French women of 19th century, and
A similar plate showing headress of the 18th century. below

As I find more plates I will place them in a blog article. I have found some in an antique book store just begging me to buy them and take them home. I believe that sometimes as we become more modern we lose a very important part of ourselves.


de Brantigny

Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution

Francis Phillips has reviewed a new book on Robespierre, found on Mercator.Net

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Fatal Purity: Robespierre and the French Revolution
A detailed and compelling portrait of the architect of the Reign of Terror.
George Bernanos observed that the pursuit of justice can lay the world to waste. Such an observation seems peculiarly apt for a study of Robespierre; he pursued justice with a single-minded passion and the result was the Terror that grew out of the French Revolution. Ruth Scurr, who teaches at Cambridge University, tries to befriend as well as to understand him; a difficult task. As her title suggests, there was something inhuman in Robespierre's pitiless incorruptibility -- the "sea-green Incorruptible" as Carlyle called him -- when compared with his fellow revolutionaries, such as Danton, Desmoulins and Marat.

In seeking to know Robespierre, we are forced to note the world he laid waste around him.

For the French, Robespierre is a problematic figure. In Arras, where he was born on 6 May 1758 and where he practised law until 1789, the year the Revolution began, there are no public memorials to him and few souvenirs. To his enemies (and posterity) he was the inventor of the Terror; to his friends he was a man of inflexible principle, devoted to the people and the Republic. There is no common ground. The author has produced a dispassionate yet sympathetic study that goes some way to penetrating the mystery surrounding this strange individual.
more ...
Thanks and a tip of the beret to Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ,
de Brantigny