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Monday, 27 October 2014

On Esdailes, Writing, and A Good Cause

I first met Fr. Esdaile at the Venerabile when he was a sem. His parents and I became great friends, and his mother, who is still living, was a great supporter of my little family when we were going through hard emotional times.

She is still alive and well, I am told by my son. I am not in England to encourage Fr., but go and buy a copy of his poems for a good cause.

Writing is in the family. Fr. Esdaile's paternal grandmother is the famous Katherine Esdaile, who wrote THE book on figure tombs and whose papers are at Pepperdine University in California.

Here is some information on this amazing woman: the first is from 1950.

with deep regret of the death of Mrs Arundell Esdaile, a frequent
contributor to its pages for over a quarter of a century. The series
of articles by her dealing with sculptors in England of the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, beginning with an article
on Roubiliac and Rysbrack in 1923, was concluded in 1949 by
a comprehensive study of the busts and statues of King Charles I.
By her ceaseless and patient researches she became one of the
foremost exponents of the hitherto despised sculpture of the
Renaissance and later periods in England. It is mainly due to her enthusiasm that a notable change has come about in the attitude of the critics towards such works, and particularly with
regard to the monuments of which English country churches
have a wealth unsurpassed in other countries. Such books as Mr
J. B. Morrell's York Monuments trace their origin to her initiative.
Her generosity in communicating her knowledge was notable.
The short history of St Martin-in-the-Fields (1944) showed her
ability to write for the general public. Her projected Dictionary of
English Sculptors, if and when it is published, ought to be invaluable.
Her outstanding books were English Monumental Sculpture
since the Renaissance, I927; Life and Times of FrancoisRoubiliac, 1929; Temple Church Monuments, 1933; and English Church Monuments,1510-1840, in 1947, a work without a parallel from the time of Weever's Funeral Monuments until the publication of Mr Crossley's English Church Monuments, to which Mrs Esdaile's book was asequel. 

And more.....

Mrs Esdaile(1881-1950) was a pioneer of the study of church monuments so the following from the Independent is worth copying to the group.
'12 April 1948.
James Lees-Milne,working for the National Trust,writes in his diary:"After breakfast I motored Eddy to Salisbury and then,parting with him regretfully,continued up to Wilton.Picked up Mrs Esdaile and drove her to Stourhead. Never have I been in closer contact with a more unkempt female;yet she is an old pet.Her stockings hang in folds,covered with stains;her face and fingers are yellow with cigarettes. She is rather vague now and walks with difficulty. Yet at Stourhead she plodded gallantly round the house and told us what she knew about each sculpture,which was everything.[She]kept prattling about a monument she wished to see in a church three miles from Stourton.'A stunner',she called it. It was by Van Nost,she assured me, of a Windham.We took a look at it. I admit it was a splendid affair,dated 1684,full-blooded Charles II Baroque,standing in the face of the open door'.
The Independent, 12 Apl 2007.Compiled by Ian Irvine. 

In addition, Fr. Esdaile's brother, Charles, is an eminent historian of  the Napoleonic wars, having published many books on that era,

and has this fascinating book to his credit.

And, do not forget the many poems on my blog for free-pence. And, my son is editing the seminary magazine this year. For five years, he worked part-time for a Spanish newspaper in the States.

What is all this about writing, sems, priests, mums, and grandmums, although I would have loved to have held Mrs. Esdaile's writing case, not being in the same category as this great lady and her grandsons. But, I would have had to have been an extremely precocious one-year-old.