Blimey, we really are cracking on with the month as I am now in the last week of term and I still have a lot of Christmas cooking to do. Mind you, I am never too busy to bring you a truly dismal picture for your entertainment and so here is today's delightful offering...
|J P Inverarity Mauled by a Lioness, Somaliland (1901) George Fiddes Watt|
Okay, I have another entry into the 'what on earth were they thinking?' collection. Do you know what would look great above the mantle piece in the dining room? Some bloke getting mauled by a lady lion. It seemed a bit of a random thing, especially as the poor chap seemed to be a bit dead - I mean, his pith helmet has fallen off - so it seemed a weird way to embellish a landscape image.
|J P Inverarity (no date) Andrew M Penny|
With a bit of digging, I found some very odd accounts of being mauled by a lion, which seemed a bit of a hobby for Victorian gentlemen. I wondered if this portrait was him as well. Recounted in the delightful tome A Book of Man Eaters by Reginald George Burton, Inverarity's encounter is rather grisly, yet the chap survived. Apparently 'he felt none of the dreamy stupor described by Livingstone' (p.58), but in fact it felt like a massive lion was biting him. I'm calling Livingstone out on that one, because if you get mauled by something I bet it bloody hurts, or else they wouldn't call it 'mauling', they would call it 'spirited tickling'.
|Charles Jamrach's tiger gives a passing boy a lovely cuddle|
In fact, Mr Inverarity escaped by pretending to be dead and the lioness got bored and wandered off after a quick maul. His arm took most of the mauling, as shown in the painting. He also goes on to say that lions like eating porcupines, quills and all. Blimey, I bet they like to catch a nice juicy, soft human - less indigestion. According to another account in Indian Courts and Character (1931), Inverarity was out hunting and wounded the lioness, but left her to be retrieved by the Somali boys he had taken with him. The lioness was having none of that and decided to see how much Mr Inverarity liked it, which apparently was not at all.
Honestly, I've never really understood hunting for fun, it seems eminently stupid, but I guess it's part of the whole 'domination of the natural world' thing that the Victorians were into, together with the entitled nonsense of Empire. I'm glad the lioness gave him a right good mauling but I doubt to taught him anything, sadly. Mind you, as far as I am concerned, whenever I see this painting I will always think 'Go on, Lady Lion, you bite that idiot's arm off, serves him right!'
See you tomorrow...