Monday, 5 July 2010

Tattersall sporting vest/ waistcoat and something of Fowey

I did say that I would start tomorrow but it is such fun that I thought that I'd kick over the traces, abandon the idleness of half a century and begin today. Here is a Spy cartoon of Sir Gerald du Maurier, actor and impressario; son of Georges who became artist for Punch magazine where he gave the world the famous 'curate's egg' cartoon, actually entitled 'True Humility' as well as being a novelist, ('Trilby'; 'The Martian' etc), and father of novelist Daphne du Maurier, who wrote her first novel 'The Loving Spirit' in the strange swiss cottage of a converted boathouse, 'Ferryside' at Bodinnick-by-Fowey, where her son now lives. Gerald is dressed in what I believe (from close examination of the quarter stitching on the tweed) to be a west of England tweed suit and is sporting a Tattersall-patterned vest (or waiscoat), together with galosh shoes or boots. Given that he lived in a large house in Hampstead, very near the Heath, we may take it that this outfit was a version of rus in urbe, on this city fellow, for whom the true countryside probably held few attractions. Indeed, his comment on looking out of the gloriously-situated 'Ferryside' was that he'd like to blow up the grey houses opposite!

Left alone here, when the family returned to town, Daphne began to write tales of adventure and romance that would become best-sellers the world around.

This small port was also called by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch who lived across the water from 'Ferryside' in 'The Haven', "the dearest of small cities." If you have never been to ancient Fowey, then it is certainly worth a visit and what better opportunity for a spot of yachting and other kinds of messing about on the river? Remember Mole and Ratty and also the Sea Rat in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in The Willows ? The river described there was an amalgam of the Thames and the river Fowey - but the little seaport was entirely Fowey.

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