Sunday, 12 December 2021

Sunday 12th December - An Aristocrat Answering the Summons to Execution

 Halfway to Christmas Eve already! Blimey. Time flies in December and I still have to finish my Christmas shopping and send off parcels.  Yikes, I best crack on with today's post...

An Aristocrat Answering the Summons to Execution (1901) Frank Cadogan Cowper

I written about Cowper a couple of times, including an overview of his life here. I like his slightly mad art, and I'm delighted he kept up his figurative Pre-Raphaelite-ish style right up to the 1950s, when he must have been seen as deeply unfashionable. I love a gentleman with staying power.

Here we have a cursed aristo off to visit with Madame Guillotine during the French Revolution. Although I am not a right-wing posho myself and completely understand the need to change society, I find the guillotining of so many people, around 17,000, to be a bit much. They sliced up 247 on Christmas Day 1793 alone.  Happy Christmas...

 Don't tell anyone but most of my Revolution knowledge comes from Carry On, Don't Lose Your Head, which I believe to be a perfectly true narration of facts. Sadly, I have a suspicion that the Black Fingernail did not spirit away countless aristocrats to England. It did however have Charlie Hawtrey being debonair in the face of his imminent execution, roaring with laughter reading the Marquis de Sade in the back of the cart.  When I see Cowper's aristocrat swishing his way to his doom, I think of that attitude, which is either insanely arrogant or brave, depending on your view.

The dog, a posh little greyhound, is the hound version of the aristocrat.  His nose is in the air and his fancy collar and shiny coat make him look far posher than his surroundings seem to warrant. The fearless attitude of his master seems to have rubbed off on the dog, even though his little tail is tucked under.  Possibly it is suggested that the dog can't hide that he is actually scared, despite his bravado. There is blood on the boot of the Revolutionary chap waiting outside and the shadows that reach towards him and his dog all have swords. Even though he is strutting out to meet his maker, the aristo is probably terrified too, and rightly so. I think it's interesting that in the dust in front of the gentleman, there is both a revolutionary hat and a lily, saying that everything is being trampled in the ensuing blood shed.  I'm sure the dog will be fine, although reading this fascinating article I suspect he might end up in a posh dog gang, roaming Paris, complaining that he used to live in a palace and be important.

I'll catch you tomorrow...

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Many thanks for your comment. I shall post it up shortly! Kx