Saturday, 30 July 2011

Off She Pops....

Victorian womanhood seemed to spend a goodly amount of its time being on the brink of dying.  To be honest, it’s a miracle anything got done because snuffing out seemed to take up such a large portion of their time.  Take, for example, this sad image…

Sarah Bernhardt, 1860
Heavens, what a sad scene, a young talented performer plucked from her audience while still in her first flush of beauty.  Thing is, Sarah B didn’t actually die until 1923.  Mind you, she was an old lady by then, and who’d want to see that?  No, far more sensible, and not even vaguely mental, to have your ‘lying in state’ while you’re still nubile.  In fact, I’m surprised more people don’t do it.  It could catch on, you’d only need a big name to do it, say Cheryl Cole, and they’d all be at it.  This however may be taking things a little far…

Nobody look at Sarah, she's just attention seeking.
Yes, well it’s no great surprise that Victorians loved a bit of ‘doomed heroine’.  Look at the proliferation of Ophelias and Ladies of Shalott, you’d be forgiven dying by water was the main pastime of Victorian lasses, after needlework.   

I made this quilt myself, you know....

Miss Bernhardt’s corpse fetish aside, although there are many well-known paintings of doomed literary starlets, the number of women dying in far more familiar surroundings is enormous, and makes you wonder about the life expectancy of the average Victorian lady.

Death the Bride (1894-95) Thomas Cooper Gotch
Thomas Cooper Gotch brings us a morbid wedding picture.  She is Death the Bride, the Late Wife, wreathed in lilies in a sea of blood red poppies.  She is young and beautiful, smiling as she raises a hand in recognition.  Far from shouting ‘coo-ee!’ at us across the sinister meadow, she seems to be just drawing our attention to her existence.  Are we her bridegroom?  She does seem to know us and to be honest you could do worse.  Yes, she’s dead, but then I never shut cupboard doors which drives Mr Walker insane, so no-one’s perfect.

She’s still a bit of a personification, not a real person, not a real Death Bride…

The Bride in Death (1839) Thomas Barker
Oh, that’s better, in a manner of speaking.  Off she pops, with a pretty decent amount of boob on show.  She is very pale in comparison to her grieving husband, who appears to be a bit over-dressed.  Oh hang on, we've gone all Stuart...  In fact you could almost couple this picture with The Wounded Cavalier by William Shakespeare Burton.  

'Even though you're dying, you're still much sexier than my Puritan boyfriend...'

 Possibly it’s something about the opulence and splendour of the period - even amongst the luscious brocade and lace, a young wealthy woman is dying.  She still wears her pearls and there is a sense that nothing will save you, death is the equaliser.  All your riches are not going to prevent your imminent demise.  Note the gold embossed Bible by the side if the bed.  Very nice, but looks a bit lame in comparison to this…

The Comforter (1897) Byam Shaw
Nothing beats a PA by JC.  Women are such flaky creatures, one minute here, the next minute pegging out from some stupid girl disease.  As the painting says ‘I cannot live without the man Christ Jesus, but as my wife is so damn unreliable, I’ll be fine without her’ (They could only fit the first bit on the frame, obviously).

The Crisis (1891) Frank Dicksee
Is it just me or is this a really comfy bed?  Sorry, I had an operation last year which involved me not being able to lay flat for about a month and I wish I had had her pillows behind me, they look very fluffy indeed.  No, I didn’t sit there teetering on the brink of the abyss with only a shawl binding me to this mortal coil, before you ask.  I don’t own a shawl.

This is for Remebrance Frank Dicksee
Oh, good, as long as my terrible wasting death isn’t keeping you from your work, dear.  In fact, shall I fetch you a cup of tea and a biscuit before I breathe my last?  
Is it just me or does the husband look a bit dodgy?  I think he did her in, just so he could finish his picture, no doubt entitled ‘My Dead Wife’.  Bloody husbands…,
The Death of Amy Robsart 1560 (1879) William Frederic Yeames
Oh now, come on, she obviously tripped and fell accidentally, you know what women are like.  I bet she was thinking about dresses or kittens or whatever it is that girls think about, and oops, down the stairs she fell, snapping her neck.  How very tragic - or convenient - I always get those two mixed up.  Mind you, she's a Tudor wife, hence the fact she's out of bed.  If she was a Victorian, she wouldn't have fallen downstairs.  You see, it's much safer to be bedridden.  Well, sort of.

So there we go, Victorian wives, about as durable as a rice paper rain mac.  One little cough or sneeze and they’re on the last train to croaksville.  T’uh, women...

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Woolly Wonderland

Hello and welcome to our second 'quickie' of the evening. Snigger.

When I am not cooking or writing or shaming myself in front of others, I also knit.  My first job was as a Saturday Girl in our town's wool shop, where I was known as 'Squirrel'.  I gained this nickname as I was the youngest member of staff by a good sixty years and was employed solely on my ability to jump from beam to beam in the attic stock-room which had no floor, only the ceiling beams of the floor below.  Health and Safety? Pah, it made me the woman I am today, which isn't a ringing endorsement, I grant you.
I am not a great knitter and I have a worrying propensity towards hats (mainly to cover up my car-crash hair), but a mainstay of my love of knitting is my addiction to Rowan pattern books.  For the most part, I will never be patient or talented enough to be able to create the woollen wonders that they parade on the pages of their glorious brochures, but I can dream.  

Rowan’s pattern books appear every few months and I love them with a passion because their art department seems to reach into my dreams and recreate the gloriously Pre-Raphaelite images. 

But with knitwear.

I give you exhibit ‘A’….

Well, someone likes Ophelia.  It’s not just the very obvious ‘woman looking a bit mad, lying around outside’, but also the deep, lush colouring of the images.  The grass is so Willy-Wonka green, I want to bite it.  

It was definitely this edition of the sublime, twice-yearly Rowan magazine that made me realise the Pre-Raphaelitism in some of their images, especially their Autumn and Winter collections.  The head and shoulders of the young, red-haired lass above is pure Rossetti.

I always find it surprising to look through this particular piece of knitting-porn as I always forget what the girl is wearing as I’m normally just looking at how stunning she is.

Veering towards the Holman Hunt in this one, but it is such a fabulous image.  There is a feeling of opulence in their iconography, that you can’t help thinking of the Venetian fancies of Rossetti’s 1860s.

Rowan aren’t the only ones who obviously love a bit of Pre-Raph.  Yarn and knitwear designer Louisa Harding had yarns named Rossetti and Millais, which has to be one of the strangest cross-overs I’ve heard of so far.

Millais yarn - for those having difficulties consummating their marriage
Rossetti yarn - luxurious, but ultimately unreliable
 Is there nothing that Pre-Raphaelite art doesn't leak into?  No, probably not, but then the unending occurrences of it in my life means that I may never run out of things to talk about.

I am so sorry.

I am an old illustration !

Just a quickie, but I had to share the weirdness of this with you, my beloved readers.  Thanks to Melanie at RedHeadArt Blog (, I got to enjoy the strange fun that is PhotoFunia (  This has to be one of my favourite pictures of myself ever....

It's a little 'Dorian Gray', I grant you, but when is that ever a bad thing? 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Hey, Wait a Minute Mr Postman....

I had a stinkingly awful week last week.  No-one died, nothing like that, but small misery upon small misery was brought to me and eventually I sat there thinking it would not be a bad thing to just hurl myself upon the binding machine at work and end it all.  A tad over-dramatic, I grant you, but really, it was just miserable.

Then my email pinged and a cheery message appeared.  Suddenly things weren’t so bad as there was a bright little world outside and if I just hung on for a bit, then things would be fine.

Ah, the miracle of mail, electronic and otherwise, it has the power to turn a day from one shade to another, from dark to light and, of course, the other way too.  Take for example this splendid offering by John Bagnold Burgess…

Good News and Bad News (1876) John Bagnold Burgess
So, one of our mantilla-wearing lovelies has had good news and one has had bad, I wonder if there is a subtle way of telling which is which…well, never mind.  The thing about paintings with letters is that they tend to encompass the whole of life within them, which makes them superb narrative subjects.  Look behind our Portuguese ladies and there is a priest squinting to see the list of how much it costs to post letters.  His hat is insane.  Beyond the grill, the past-master waits to impart more news.  He has the power to change lives and seems to exist in a different realm to the people he affects.  The presence of the priest makes me wonder – is he God in his celestial post office?  I seem to have gone off on a tangent a little early.  Moving on…

Mother and Child (1854-6) F G Stephens
War made for powerful letters, no doubt.  If the only way you were going to find out what was going on was by the slow and painful progress of a slip of paper, then by the time you discovered your loved one was dead on some battle field abroad, he was already cold in the ground.  For example, the anguish on the face on the (I assume) widow in Frederick Stephen’s Mother and Child as she reads the news that her husband is dead, tells us all we need to know.  The child turns from her toys (no doubt bought from The Highly Symbolic Toy Shop) as her mother starts to buckle in her very pleasant chair.  I really like this picture, I wish Fred Stephens stuck with painting as it is rather beautiful despite its awkwardness.  Also, I wish there were more pictures of Mr Stephens as he is uncommonly pretty, but I digress.

News from Afar (1860) Alfred Stevens
A Letter from the Colonies (1852) Thomas Webster
Of course it wasn’t just war that took people away.  The escape of people such as Thomas Woolner to far off lands to find their fortunes, brings with it a raft of paintings relating to the news from afar.  Alfred Steven’s lady could be pained by news from a lover at war, but the presence of the fine vase and silk table cloth makes me wonder if the loved one has gone in search of riches rather than glory.  Either way, our lady seems to feel trepidation in her heart at the thought of him far away (or one of her corset bones is digging in).

One look at Thomas Webster’s A Letter from the Colonies tells me exactly why people went.  My God, look at the rosy cheeked, rustic-ness of it all.  Everyone looks so cheery, and the postman leans through the window to deliver the mail.  Just the thought that I would end up in a bonnet like the old woman’s makes me want to run off to Australia too.

(Actually, in the seventeenth century, a large branch of my family did emigrate; they went to Peru from rural Cornwall.  We put it down to the fact that the unfortunately named Anne Cocking married George Champion, thus becoming Anne Cocking Champion.  We think the rest of the family left because they laughed all the way through the wedding and couldn’t look the couple in the eye again.  True story.)

So we have death and travel, but of course there is one very obvious reason for getting a letter.  I speak, of course, of love…

The Letter Vittorio Reggianini
Naughty girls in your very shiny dresses, I bet that’s a saucy note from a young gentleman you are holding.  I love the blonde girl listening at the curtain, just in case they are discovered.  I wish I owned a dress that shiny, maybe someone would send me a love letter.  Let’s be honest, it’s not my lack of shiny dresses that keeps the admirers away, plus I’m a married woman and not allowed to whinge about such things.  Anyway, love letters only lead to trouble…

Palpitation (1844) Charles West Cope
Look at the detail!  Our lass seems to be in a state of nervous excitement as the postman leaves the letters, and her parasol and bag are discarded on the floor in her anxiety.  It is obvious she will be careless during this romance, which may result in her being discarded too.  However, a far more likely scenario is that her father (note the top hat and gloves on the table) will make use of his powder flask and stick and render our romancing cad as dead as the deer on the wall.  I’m just guessing – it will all be over if mother flings back the door to call out that the postman has been.

The Love Letter (1861) Rebecca Solomon
This image is entitled The Love Letter, but something tells me that the letter isn’t from the gentleman who has just come through the door as she doesn’t look overwhelmingly pleased to see him.  Also, there is the strange thing that she is wearing her outdoor clothes, as is the man reflected in the mirror, so maybe she has been for a walk with him only to return to a love letter from another man.  The Hussy!  That sort of thing does not end well….

Past and Present I (1858) Augustus Egg
You naughty woman!  One letter later and it’s all over.  Her posture is fabulous as if he has thrown her on the floor, but he remains like a statue, shocked and destroyed, so it is as if his devastation has flung her on the ground.  I do get the mad urge to wait and see if the man is going to pull a rabbit from the top hat.  It might lighten the mood a little.

Recalling the Past (1888) Carlton Smith
Handily near the waste paper basket, the woman reads through love letters and then casts them aside.  It’s not certain why but the fire poker looks a little like a sword, and the antlers and red coral may hint at conflict and death.  For goodness sake, woman, light a fire and do it properly.

Old Letters and Dead Leaves (1875) C A Calthrop
 Calthrop’s girl seems to be a little less dramatic and a bit more stoical as she picks her love letters from her chest, among symbolic dried leaves.  You can almost hear the rustle of the leaves and paper, both fragments of what was alive once, now only a reminder of happier times.

I leave you with what is possibly the longest title for a painting I have come across….

And then, the lover sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad made to his mistress’ eyebrow, Act II, Scene VII from 'As You Like It, by William Shakespeare 1564-1616 (1883) Charles Seton
Look, put the letter down and get a load of how fabulous your companion is, woman!  There is a time for letters and a time for offering a bit more than your eyebrow to a handsome man in white tights. You can't help some people....

Friday, 22 July 2011

The Art of Food: Isabella and Lorenzo Pasta

Here I am again, the evil love child of Jan Marsh and Fanny Cradock.  For my last dish of the week I present you with that age old question:  Who else thought of how much pesto she could make when looking at Isabella and the Pot of Basil by William Holman Hunt?  Come on, it can't just be me...

Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1876) William Holman Hunt

I love making pasta, and am willing to suggest that it is maybe the most fun you can have on your own, with your clothes on, without upsetting the Pope.  Here therefore is a pasta recipe in honour of the love for one woman and the pot of Basil which holds her lover's head.

Isabella's Flaming Heart Ravioli with Lorenzo's Pesto

For the pasta:

100g strong white flour per person
1 egg per person
pinch of salt per person
2 sun dried tomatoes per person

The idea is that you multiply the ingredients by the number of people you are feeding, or how hungry you feel.  I won't judge you.

Puree the sun dried tomatoes and place in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix into a dough.  Kneed until smooth and let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so in a bag.

You may need a pasta machine for the next bit.  I love mine, really I would marry it if it wasn't illegal and weird.  Plus, Mr Walker would have some strong views on the subject.  The idea is that you are rolling out balls of the dough on smaller and smaller settings.  It is possible to do this with a rolling pin and a great amount of patience, but there is something very naughty about draping the pasta sheet over your arm as it appears from the roller.  You are aiming for something that feels like a silk stocking, satin soft, but strong.  Lay this sheet out on a floured surface and cut out heart shapes with a biscuit cutter.  Keep re-rolling the off-cuts until you have enough pairs of hearts to feed all your guests or until it drives you crazy.

Filling: half a dozen pieces of chorizo, mozzarella, spinach, ricotta or anything else you fancy.

Place a tiny amount of filling on one heart and cover with another heart.  Seal edges with a fork, pressing down along the edges.  If it seems a little unwilling to stay shut, dampen the edge with a tiny amount of water.  Don't lick it like a stamp, especially if anyone is watching. Really, I won't tell you again.

Boil for about five minutes, until the pasta is tender and serve tossed in a pesto (process 50g basil leaves, 2 cloves of garlic and 4tbsp of toasted pine nuts with 60ml olive oil.  Add another 60ml oil, scraping down the sides occasionally.  Scrape into bowl and beat in 25g pecorino cheese and season to taste).  If your brothers have just murdered the love of your life, it is acceptable to use shop-bought pesto as that sort of thing can really take it out of you.

Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1897) John White Alexander

When I first saw this picture of Isabella, it gave me chills as she is ghostly and that pot is big enough for a head, so no imagination is needed.  She holds the basil pot so tenderly, but its terrible secret is so utterly horrifying you wonder what on earth will happen next.  It can't be the end of the story, she has a severed head in a pot plant, for God's sake.  Will she use the basil for cooking, will she slowly feed her lover to her brothers?  Bloody Hell.  Dinner is served...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The Art of Food: Pearl Pin Biscuits

Here we are again, cooking.  Any excuse for me to eat something delicious and these are lovely.  One more on Friday and I promise I'll stop eating and start talking about delicious pictures again instead.
Nom nom nom.

Pearl Pin Biscuits

200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 egg
1tbsp ground ginger
Dash of lemon oil
400g plain flour

Royal icing sugar for decoration

Combine the butter and sugar briefly, and add in the egg, mixing well.  Add in ginger and lemon, followed by flour, until it forms a dough.  Place in a plastic bag and chill for at least two hours.

Roll out on a floured surface and cut out round shapes.  Bake for 8-12 minutes at 180 degrees/Gas 4 until they are lightly brown.

Mix up icing sugar with water or lemon juice until it is stiff but pipe-able.  Swirl on spirals and pearls using an icing implement of your choice.  I am a convert on the concertina bottles, they make it almost foolproof.

For a full and beautiful discussion of the pearly pin see and

That damn pearl pin, it’s here, there and everywhere.  It’s like a skeleton of a precious shell, and has such a fragile beauty, you can see why Rossetti used it over and over again.  Despite her masses of hair, I don’t believe I have ever seen an illustration of Fanny wearing it, but it graced the hair of Alexa Wilding, Jane Morris, Marie Spartali Stillman and Ellen Smith.  Rossetti liked to deck his women out in jewels, certainly from the 1860s onwards, but where no jewellery is present, then flowers take their place, as if the two are interchangeable.

When I next have a spare minute, I may well attempt to make an entire range of Rossetti jewellery in biscuit form.  I really need to get out more….

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Art of Food: Midsummer Soup

Those who know me know I am prone to regular acts of indiscriminate cookery.  I do love to cook and bake and am just looking for an excuse to merge together my love of art and my love of food.  

Oh, look, I've found one.  

Welcome to my recipes based on paintings, or The Art of Food! 

Midsummer Soup

2 tbsp oil or knob of butter
1kg ripe tomatoes
1 tube of tomato puree
2 onions
2 cloves of garlic
3 medium potatoes
Pinch of chilli flakes or one fresh chilli
Bunch of basil
1tsp of honey
1 ltr vegetable stock
Large tbsp. of sour crème or crème fraiche (optional)

Slice garlic, onions, potatoes and tomatoes roughly and cover and sweat in melted butter or oil with basil and chilli for 15 minutes on lowest heat.
Add stock, honey, tomato puree and seasoning and simmer for  a further 30 minutes.
Puree, check seasoning and swirl in cream.

Two women fan a third who sleeps in the drowsy summer heat, all swathed in classical robes.  Their vibrant orange robes give a hint of the power of the sun that swelters them as they rest, longing for some cool air.  Midsummer by Albert Moore (1887) is a beautiful example of decadent, classical-inspired art from the later Victorian period, and is often compared with such painters as Leighton and Alma Tadema.  However, his use of two near identical women as the handmaidens for the central figure is reminiscent of D G Rossetti’s Astarte Syriaca and displays a sympathy with the symbolist aspects of his primarily Aesthetic work.

The soup created for this work has the same vibrant colour and heat of the painting, and it’s fresh ingredients are at their most potent in midsummer.  It can also cheer a winter day and remind you that summer will be with us again soon.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Painted Past: Unforgettable and so Behead-able

Welcome to the last post of my three-day weekend of art and history, I hope you’ve enjoyed the murderous and bloody fun as much as I have.  Links to the Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood’s reading project and the splendid book of the month The Arrow Chest will be at the end of this post, so on with the history!

Until I wrote this post, I knew very little about Lady Jane Grey.  I knew only one thing really for sure: that they cut her head off.  To be honest, if you relied on Victorian artists to inform you of her life, there is precious little else in terms of action, but my God, the images are amazing.

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1834) Paul Delaroche
This has to be one of the most famous history paintings of the nineteenth century, and it’s by our old friend Paul Delaroche.  It is breath-taking in its simplicity and power.  The mesmerizing figure of Jane in the centre in pale silver, shines ethereally as she is lowered to the block.   All the tension in the girl are expressed by her tremulous fingers, outstretched and you can only imagine how she will feel as her hand touches the block it hovers above.  Behind her, the heap of ladies-in-waiting collapse into horror and grief.  Waiting on the right, in blood red tights, waits the axe man.  That is a big axe…
By placing the action inside, rather than out on Tower Green, Delaroche darkens the scene, making it claustrophobic and drawing you back to the central figure.  The ladies-in-waiting almost seem to be trying to escape the closing walls, pressing them closer to the horror.  The only thing I don’t understand is the straw, catching the light below that dark, solid block…

The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (1840) George Cruikshank
Well, George Cruikshank doesn’t pull any punches.  Yikes, this is a snapshot of horror and I suddenly understand the presence of the straw on the scaffold. Mmm, absorbent.  Compared with Delaroche, this is more of an explanatory illustration, rather than giving any interpretation or opinion.  If ever I become queen and then get beheaded at least I know what to do.  I do have a fairly long neck and was once told I had ‘a good neck for beheading’.  Look, I don’t get many compliments, so I’m taking the praise, however disturbing.

Magic Lantern slide of the Cruikshank picture
Lady Jane, the Nine Day Queen was a perfect Victorian heroine.  She was ‘prevailed upon’ to take the crown, presumably against her naturally meek, feminine nature and was beheaded due to the vice and ambition of others.  Charles Dickens wrote in his Children’s History of England that the axe that beheaded 16 year old Jane ‘never struck so cruel and so vile a blow as this.’

Jane presents a very simple picture to the Victorians.  She is a young girl, having greatness thrust upon her, and not in a fun way.  I’m so sorry, it’s all this pious loveliness, it’s putting me on edge.  Take this for example…

Lady Jane Grey and Roger Ascham (1853) John Callcott
Oh look how marvellous she is, staying in and reading Plato while her friends have gone off hunting.  How educated and refined! I must immortalise her for all eternity, thought Roger Ascham.  So here we have one of many pictures of ‘Jane the Scholar’, happier with her books than with hunting.  She’s obviously too delicate and feminine to be up for a scrap, which is probably why she didn’t stand a chance when this happened…

Lady Jane Grey Prevailed on to Accept the Crown (1827) C R Leslie

The Dukes of Northumberland and Suffolk Praying Lady Jane Grey to Accept the Crown Giovanni Battista Cipriana
 Oh, go on, go on, go on, you know you want it…Look at those scheming men all pushing that poor young girl into being Queen.  Tudor Dads have a lot to answer for.  I do think, especially in the Leslie painting, Jane is thinking ‘Ah, why not, what’s the worst that could happen?’

Lady Jane Grey Antonio Barzaghi-Cattaneo
Print by Richard Josey

 Now we enter the ‘Lady Jane in Captivity’ period of her brief life. She is, in turn, despairing and stoical, but I particularly love the Cattaneo/Josey image as it is almost religious, reaching for heaven to save her as she seems to swoon with the horror of it all.  It's interesting how many of these paintings were available widely as engravings in books, to further the 'Cult of Jane' among an eager Victorian public.

 Despair, despair.  Jane is humbled in her little tiny room, betrayed and abandoned by the people who pushed her into accepting a poisoned crown. Compared to how many people wanted to be near her before she was imprisoned, she is often pictured quite alone in her cell.

Feckenham's Interview with Lady Jane Grey in the Tower (1833) Henry Pierce Bone after Northcote

Well, not quite alone.  The picture of Jane and Feckenham makes me think of Mary and Knox.  Jane seems to be holy enough, literally glowing with spirituality as she is prepared for her beheading.  The swathes of red hint at her spilled blood and possibly her status as a martyr.  Is it just me, or does Jane appear to be rolling her eyes. I find the hand gestures in this picture very interesting: the guard has his right hand in an almost threatening position as he looks down on Jane, but without hostility.  Maybe he prefigures the axeman, a man who will kill Jane without feeling any hatred against her.  Feckenham’s right hand seems to be making an emphasising gesture, but also could be seen as ‘chopping’, while Jane prays. And prays. And prays.

Lady Jane Grey (1844) H P Bone
We finally arrive at our beginning.  Jane was beheaded when she was just sixteen, and passed into history as a young girl who was Queen for nine days.  Sixteenth Century author John Fox wrote in Acts and Monuments ‘Let this worthy lady pass for a saint: and let all great ladies which bear her name imitate her virtues’.  This was still standard Sunday reading for the Victorians and no doubt fed an image of a good girl attaining saintly status.  It doesn’t hurt that Lady Jane Grey is an example of a cautionary tale of a woman who allowed herself to be persuaded into disrupting the ‘natural’ order of the monarchy by the ambition of others and paid for her ‘folly’ with her life.

Well, as my middle name is Jane and I have a very choppable neck, I’m off to imitate the virtues of being a sixteen year old Queen.  Remember to join the fun with The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood reading project at and buy Robert Parry’s beautiful and thrilling The Arrow Chest at or (or an Amazon near you!)