Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Prince and the Pauper - The Lost Prince and his semblance to the 1888 Royals


Viennese educated composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) wrote music evocative of celtic folk melody, on occasion to the the exclusion of all else. Leider Ohne Worte, 'Songs without words'-Opus 30 No 1 in E flat major and 38 no 1 in E flat major might almost have begun as celtic ballads. Perhaps they once did. Perhaps this was the reason he was a firm favorite of Prince Albert and Queen Victoria in the early years, when the Prince Consort took protective pains to instill an intellectual disposition in his naive, enthusiastic and politically vulnerable young wife. Whilst Victoria's appreciation of Opera and the arts developed, they'd often play duets together in the evening. In 1842, on his arrival in London, Mendelssohn was invited to the Palace to rendered his recitals in the drawing rooms. Whilst at Buckingham Palace, he dedicated his 'Scottish Symphony' to the Queen. He 'd just visited Scotland, and informed Victoria and Albert that he'd fallen in love with the Northern Country. Mendelssohn's visit, in 1842.

It 's interesting that Walter's picture of Victoria and Albert, drawn for little 'Jo' depicts the Queen and Prince Consort during this particular period. Firm moral, ethical and artistic instruction was, contrary to popular opinion, a strong feature of Walter Sickert's personal code, just as mutual gentleness and respect in marriage was a learned sense.

Below, Walter Sickert draws Joe's great grandparents for him as they were in 1842, "before you were born."



"A long time ago?'"

"A long long time ago.


Note that the picture of Victoria and Albert has some of the hallmarks of one of Sickert's gallery paintings. The setting is suggestive of a stage set, presenting a perfunctory chair and door in the way the two items of furniture might appear on the contemporaneous 1880's theatre screen..


Herewith ( below ) found amongst Walter Sickert's secret sketches a picture of the Prince of Wales, 'Bertie', later King Edward VII, togged up to look like Henry XII, the astounding Tudor King , representative of all that is a Great, Terrible and wonderful English King, (at least, in a child's storybook, which will have it that whatever this man was he was a King).



Courtesy of Walter Sickert's artistry, Bertie's relationship to his other, much later grandson, later King Edward IIX is apparent in his face, though the sketch makes no attempt to suggest anyone but Bertie ( and the legendary Henry VIII). Edward IIX, Bertie's grandson at the date these pictures were drawn was not yet born.

Bertie was often talked about as a man with childlike playfulness in his face, 'the child in his eyes'. He's been captured for a child relative by a portrait genius.

When Bertie is referred to for the little Stuart boy his regal Tudor origins are evoked, which suggests that Walter Sickert's setting him in the context of an era of more relevance to the Stuart boy Prince's position than that which involved the Hanoverian intrusion onto the British scene so detestable to the Stuarts. The Tudors precede the Stuarts, the Stuart's were usurped by Hanoverians; ensuite the Saxe Cobergs entered the scene, who, by these pictures, make place for the Stuart heir. If the boy were to alter his namesake to suit his position as the one uniting the many Royal Houses it might well make sense to revert to Tudor, rather than Stuart. Were he Edward ( if Jo was a nick-name/informal name ) then his royal name might have become 'Edward Tudor.' "Here is a picture of your grandfather, 'Edward Tudor'


It seems that on this point Walter Sickert and Oscar Wilde , whose families were closely acquainted and who knew one another well from childhood through to adulthood, concur entirely. Oscar Wilde bought the story of one 'Edward Tudor' in the book by Mark Twain, 'The Prince and the Pauper' for one 'Joe Mack' ( again, suggesting the Mackenzie Stuarts) and inscribed it to him before entrusting it to Irish ( Fenian?) friends in New York, America, 1882.






" For Joe Mack, from his friend Oscar Wilde. Affectionately."

The inscription suggests Oscar's dedicating 'The Prince and the Pauper' to a child.


Below: An extract from a book of Poems by Mathew Arnold that Oscar Wilde inscribed to 'Nellie Sickert,' Walter Sickert's sister, on the 2nd October, 1879. ( Actual name Helena Marie, later Mrs. Helena Marie Swanwick). In her autobiography, 'I Have Been Young', 1935, she wrote " ...he was the first of our friends to call me Miss Nellie.. he discussed books with me and and gave me my first book of poetry, ' Selected Poems of Mathew Arnold', marking his favorites." The inscription made out to little girl 'Nellie' is exactly the same format as the inscription made out to little 'Joe. ' Nellie Sickert, from her friend Oscar Wilde.' (Via Sotheby's, New Bond Street, November 2004).



Oscar Wilde's and Walter Sickert's family were very close.
Walter Sickert’s and Oscar Wilde's natural disposition for decorating the truth with fairy stories seems to attain the same genius, in the same fashion. A great deal of their work reflects the 'Stuart Mason' secrets. It sheds light on their pastoral gift, almost limitless imagination, acquaintance, Catholic and specific Freemason interest, respective seditious Irish mothers and the fact that their private lives were as quite as extraordinary as their individual dispositions. Their 'Jack & I tell each other fairy-tales' attitude to work emanating from their secret political lives suggests ( in their case) that their secrets were too sensitive to disclose.

It would be very unlikely, given their acquaintance, that Oscar Wilde should not have known ‘Joe/Jo’.

In 'The Young King', Oscar Wilde tells the story of a young heir who is brought beautiful Kingly Protestant robes, which he rejects …


And the Chamberlain and the high Offices of State came and made obiescense to him, and the pages brought him the robe of tissued gold, and set the crown and sceptre before him.

And the Young King saw them and saw that they were beautiful. More beautiful than aught he had ever seen. But he remembered his dreams, and he said to his Lords, ‘Take these things away, for I will not wear them.’

And the Courtiers were amazed, and some of them laughed, for they thought that he was jesting.

But he spake to them sternly again, and said ‘ take these things away, and hide them from me, there is blood in the heart of the ruby, and Death is the heart of the pearl.’ And he told them his three dreams.

…. And the chamberlain spake to the Young King and said ‘ My Lord, put away these black thoughts of thine, and put on this fair robe, and set this crown upon thy head. For how shalt the people know that thou art a king if thou hast not a King’s raiment?’

And the young King looked at him. ‘Is’t so indeed?’ He questioned. ‘Will they not know me if I have not a King’s raiment?’

‘They will not know thee my Lord!’ Cried the Chamberlain.

I had thought there had been men who had been Kinglike’, he answered, ‘but it may be as thou sayest.’

Later, he’s crowned in his pauper’s raiment:

‘ And the Young King bowed his head again, and prayed, and when he had finished his prayer he rose up, and turning round looked at them sadly.

And Lo! Through the painted windows came the sunlight streaming upon him, and the sunbeams wove round him a tissued robe that was fairer than the robe fashioned for his pleasure. The dead staff blossomed, and bare lilies that were whiter than pearls. The dry thorn blossomed, and bare roses that were redder than rubies. Whiter than fine pearls were the lilies, ad their stems were of bright silver, redder than male rubies were the roses, and their leaves were of beaten gold.

He stood there in the raiment of a King, and the gates of the jeweled shrine flew open and from the crystal of the many-rayed Monstrance shone a marvelous and mystical light. …

'The Young King', in 'A House of Pomegranates,' Oscar Wilde, 1891/2



In the Pall Mall gazette, 14th October 1884, Wilde wrote:

.....The broad rimmed hat of 1640 kept the rain off winter and the glare of summer from the face.. a wide turned down collar is a much healthier thing than a strangling stock, and a short cloak much more comfortable than a sleeve overcoat, even though the latter may have had 'three capes'; a cloak is easier to put on and off, lies lightly on the shoulder in summer,...a doublet is simpler than a coat and waistcoat....short trousers are in every way to be preferred to the tight knee breeches...soft leather boots could be worn above or below the knee, are more supple, and consequently give more freedom... ... no one... would prefer a macaroni to a cavalier, a lawrence to a vandyke, or the third George to the first Charles....for ease, warmth and comfort, the seventeenth century dress is infinitley superior to anything that came after it, and I do not think it is excelled by any preceding form of costume.'

Oscar Wilde enjoyed dressing in adapted seventeenth century attire during his 1882 tour of America. Left: pictured by Napoleon Sarony, ( 1821-96 ), New York, 1882, where he inscribed 'The Prince and the Pauper.' ( One of twenty-seven poses.) During his 1882 tour he enjoyed commenting on the scoff and ridicule his costume was provoking on both sides of the Herring Pond. " Strange that a pair of stockings should so upset a nation."

Right: Wilde by Napoleon Sarony, 1882, New York. Most of the full figure pictures of Wilde sporting the cloak he rejected, but they do demonstrate the case. The costume above has been said to have been an 1870's favorite at the Apollo Freemason's lodge, a favorite of the Prince of Wales, to which Wilde belonged for a number of years. (Ref Ellman, pp 156-7 , 161). Wilde appears to have drifted away from the Apollo Lodge in the mid 1880's as his inclination turned steadily towards an active Stuart cause.





Left: yet another of Sickert's secret sketches a child in Walter Sickert's life dresses up as a seventeenth century combatant in the much admir'd attire, and capers about laughing. The boy portrayed conceivably represents an 1880's child amusing himself dressing up in the somewhat theatrical costume. He looks alot like out Jo(e)..but there's a little caricature. Jo(e) age twelve? Perhaps Jo asked Walter to draw him in Oscar's attire.

The Story of 'The Selfish Giant' evokes a little boy whose status and mission equates with the Christ’s. Yet he's his own person. He appears in the wicked Giant’s garden, touches his life, alters his wicked

heart, promptly disappears and then returns to

claim him when least expected, as if by heavenly

design. Right/above: The original 1888 volume of ' The Happy Prince', containing five different children's stories, including 'The Selfish Giant', here shown, with the original illustrations by Walter Crane that Oscar Wilde approved.

….’Only the boy did not run, for his eyes were so full of tears he did not see the Giant coming. And the Giant stole up behind him and took him gently by the hand, and put him up into the tree. And the tree at once broke into blossom, and the birds came and sang on it, and the little boy stretched out his two arms and flung them round the giant’s neck, and kissed him. And the other children when they saw the Giant was not wicked any longer, came running back, and with them came the Spring.….

‘ But where is your little companion?’ he said:’ The boy I out into the tree.’

The Giant loved him the best because he had kissed him.

‘We don’t know,’ answered the children, ‘He has gone away.’

‘You must be sure and tell him to come tomorrow,’ said the Giant. But the children said they didn’t know where he lived, and had never seen him before; and the Giant felt very sad.

…One winter morning he looked out of the window as he was dressing. He did not hate the winter now, for he knew it was merely the spring asleep, and the flowers were resting.

Suddenly he rubbed his eyes in wonder and looked and looked. It certainly was a marvellous sight. In the farthest corner of the garden was a tree quite covered with lovely white blossoms. Its branches were golden, and silver fruit hung down from them, and underneath stood it stood the little boy he had loved.

Down stairs ran the giant in great joy, and out into the garden. He hastened across the grass, and came quite near to the child.'


....the child's wounds expressly resemble those of the Christ. In response to the Giant's 'Who has dared to wound thee? Tell me, that I may take my big sword, and slay him', he declares that they're 'wounds of love'. Such as can be found outlined in a verse by Oscar's University companion, William Wilkinds, in his 'Years after'..

With tears of blood abundantly
Wrung from my heart, be warmed again-
Loved feet, that death enwraps from me
With kisses as of Magdalen.


‘The Selfish Giant’, in ‘The Happy Prince and Other Tales,’ Oscar Wilde, 1888.

‘Years After,’ William Wilkins, ‘Dublin Verses’, William Wilde’s Copy, c 1880






The Stuart's believed absolutely in the divine appointment of themselves as Kings, and this thesis was perpetuated by the Bonnie Prince Charlie throughout his childhood, his youth, and his assault on the Hanoverian English throne, which as history as we know it correctly transcribes, had/has been cruelly usurped from the Stuart line. He went much further, though. The romanticized claim he made that his ancestors were related to the bloodline of Christ, even to the lost King Arthur, was more than a political gesture- further romanticizing the case of the beautiful ( and extraordinarily popular) lost House of Stuart, and gaining him political, fashionable and charismatic support.

We need to remember that in the Bonnie Charlie's day this sort of thesis was popular among the European Princes. It could almost be classed as an extreme aristocratic fad. His set put about the belief that 'Bonnie Charlie' ( who would have survived on that reference alone!) was related to the Knight's Templar; indirectly, to Christ, to King Arthur....and this 'belief' formed a part of the formalities of the European Masonic lodges he created, 'The Pelican and the Rose'...hence the later 'Order of the Rose'.


By that thesis then, the little Prince, our 'Jo(e)', in theoretical terms, was ( by those subscribing to the old belief, for the sake of their set) comparable to the Christ; a true spiritual, as well as rightful, King. And those perpetuating it over a century later, 'The Order of the Rose" ( a group of young aristocrats of the late nineteenth century, prominent in the 1880's-) will have indulged their thesis after a similar fashion to the BPC; an aristocratic, dandy fad; an interesting intellectual supposition, an extremely attractive aestheticism which promoted their political cause: combining the Stuart and the Saxe Coberg line, restoring the House of Stuart to the English throne, and most attractive of all to some, confounding Special Branch and parliament entirely, through the promotion of the little prince.


************

I hear him, before I go to sleep

And focus on the day that's been.
I realize he's there,
When I turn the light off, and turn over.

Nobody knows about my man.
They think he's lost on some horizon.
And suddenly I find myself
Listening to a man Ive never known before,

Telling me about the sea,
All his love, 'til eternity.

Oh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.
Oh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.

He's very understanding,
And hes so aware of all my situations.
And when I stay up late,
Hes always waiting, but I feel him hesitate.

Oh, I'm so worried about my love.
They say, no, no, it wont last forever.
And here I am again, my girl,
Wondering what on earth I'm doing here.

Maybe he doesn't love me.
I just took a trip on my love for him.

Oh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.
Oh, he's here again,
The man with the child in his eyes.

*********

Tomorrow we'll look at Walter Sickert's important references to the Stuart line, the Vatican and the lost prince in his oil paintings series. We'll compare these series and the stories told therein, with the secret pictures that he drew for the little prince.

No comments: