[Bermuda]: [1820-1847]. Comprised of eight pieces of original artwork, eleven pages of handwritten verse, and four pieces of pasted-in ephemera from a mysterious group of contributors living in British Bermuda. Owned by the equally mysterious "Honorable Lady L" to whom some pieces are dedicated and by whom at least one piece appears to be written. Nineteenth century calf embossed in gilt and blind, measuring 9 x 7.5 inches. The manuscript provides a glimpse of how artistic expression helps women and their communities connect to the land -- whether the domain under their feet or far away.
Written from Brighton, Bermuda and from Mount Langton, Bermuda, the location of the Governor's House and seat of the British head of state during her official visits. The contributors to the present volume all appear to be British citizens living abroad for reasons undisclosed; and many use only their monograms and initials to mark their works. An exception is a poem at the opening, "On the Honorable Lady L," which meets the expectations both of Victorian poetry as well as the beginning of the period's commonplaces; presenting the book to the "Lady" as a gift, the writer hopes "should these humble pages meet thine eye in some future year," that she remember the contributors, their shared experiences of reason and happiness. What follows are expressions of love and longing for England. Watercolors and sketches capture quintessentially British woods and vales, horseback riders, and castles. The verses harken to the lasting nature of friendship despite "beauty and health that may fade away and Fortune being fickle in her way." They also touch on loss -- loss of family who link us to home. As the Lady herself writes in prelude to her original poem on the moon's light (or darkness) affecting different parts of the Earth: "On the last day of May 1844 my brother and myself had watched an Eclipse of the Moon - and had spoken with affectionate interest of repeating our observations in a few months, on another Lunar Eclipse. The pain with which I alone watched the November eclipse gave rise to the following hastily written lines."
A research opportunity for considering the experience of Victorian women and their families being moved far from home, for examining the connection between the visual and literary arts, and for studying community expression. (Item #4106)