Frank Millet's House in Worcestershire

May 12, 2005
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This from "Vogue" magazine, October 1, 1915

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BEAUTIFUL BROADWAY - IN WORCESTERSHIRE

In Tudor Days a Road of Inns - Now the
Setting of a Cosmopolitan Colony of
Artists and Musicians


Fringed by the purple Cotswold Hills in the country known to all Americans who motor to Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick, lies Broadway in Worcestershire, noted for its beautiful old Tudor Street, its gardens, and its colony of artists.

Situated one hundred miles from London, Broadway has been famous since Charles II's time, when it was the only "changes horses" point for all coaches between Worcester and Town. The village consists of one long generous street, bordered with typical seventeenth century houses and cottages, back of which are walled gardens filled with forgotten Elizabethan flowers and box and yew.

Among the Americans attracted to this out-of-the-world corner is ...Mrs. Frank Millet, whose husband, the delightful artist and man of rare social charm, was lost on the "Titanic" ... she has long made her home at Broadway, in the lovely old "Swann Inn" - a famed coaching inn in the time of Charles II, now known as "Russell House." Mr. and Mrs. Millet were among the charter members of the artist colony at Broadway.

The little Tudor village has fame of later date, for it is rich in Pre-Raphaelite associations. Rosetti, Burne-Jones, Walter Pater, and William Morris used to gather here and discuss ideals in a Norman tower on the Cotswold Hills, plainly visible from the village. Among the Royal Academicians who have felt the charm of this picturesque Enhglish village have been Alma- Tadena, John Sargent... Musicians and writers, too, add their salt to the Broadway community; among them Sir Edward Elgar, Sir James Barrie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle...

The historic interest of the old "Swan Inn" attaches itself to Mrs. Millet's residence "Russell House." In no place in England perhaps has the spirit of a byegone day been retained with so clever and artistic a development modern comfort and luxury.

(caption for photo 1) "Russell House," the residence of Mrs. Millet, when it was the "Swan Inn" furnished horses for seventeen coaches a day. Built into the high garden wall are small pavilions, known as gazebos, from which to watch the pasersby.

(caption for photo 2) Richly mellowed Jacobean furniture and handsome bits of pewter furnish the Millet dining room where gathered convivial parties of Restoration days.

(caption for photo 3)In this quaint corner of the garden, which passing centuries have left unchanged, are moss-grown stone steps and from the broken flagging grow gorgeous hollyhocks.

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For those of us who love the story of "Titanic" and her people, "Russell House" holds an extra special interest. Hopefully someone can determine whether this place is still standing and if so if it is a private house or a public place. It would be a point of interest for Titanic buffs. I know I'd like to see the garden where Millet must have painted.

I am sending the great photos from this article to Philip Hind so that all may be able to view them. The images are quite clear and the one of the dining room with its wide windows full of light is especialy poignant. The house is ivy-clad all round and looks as though it is tucked into a painting itself, it is so perfectly situated.

Randy
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Randy - you knew that this one had to be an attention getter with me, hmm? Not only a general cornucopia of pre-Raphaelite names get dropped, but also that of Rossetti himself! This sent me scurrying to the bookshelf to pull out Jan Marsh's superbly comprehensive biography of Rossetti to see if I could find the Cotswolds in there - unfortunately, the index isn't detailed enough for such a dense, large-scale work (some 530 pages, excluding notes), so I haven't yet found a reference to the Norman Tower (anyone have ideas on dates? Given the names mentioned, it must have happened at some time after the Oxford expedition).

Leafing through the Rossetti book, however, I was reminded of another pre-Raphaelite Titanic connection:

"Already he was at work on his next order, for St Martin's in Scarborough, where Brown's Crucifixion was to be flanked by seven panels showing a typological narrative. 'I'm doing The Parable of the Vineyard for the shop-glass,' he wrote on 1 December, asking to borrow a book that illustrated an archaic wine press. 'If you've anything else in the Vineyard line you might include it.' But here, though the designs are vigorous and varied, the windows themselves are not so successful, for the small square panels, additionally broken by leading, are crowded with narrative figures, causing illegibility. Three were set on each side of the main image, and the seventh below, with its apprpriate legend: 'And they cast the son out of the vineyard and slew him. When the Lord therefore of this vineyard cometh what will he do unto these husbandmen?'"

Although the work was exibited at the 1862 International Reception it met with a mixed reception, and it is possibly for this reason it was not installed at St Martin's. There are, however, some exquisite designs by The Firm there - Morris, Burne-Jones, and Rossetti himself worked on the furnishings and windows (The church was designed by Bodley), and there's a beautiful organ panel showing the Annunciation by Rossetti.

The Titanic connection? James Moody's grandfather, then Town Clerk and generally active in the affairs of the South Cliff, was largely responsible for getting this High Anglican church built. Even when most of the family moved away from the South Cliff area they retained strong links with the church, and it was here in 1913 that the family arranged for a plaque to be erected to James Moody's memory after his loss in the disaster. It's located on the South wall, a fairly large rose-marble tablet, with the inscription

To the Glory of God
And in Affectionate Memory of
James Paul Moody
6th Officer RMS Titanic
Born in Scarborough
21 August 1887
Went down with the Ship
15 April 1912
Be thou faithful unto death and I will give to thee a Crown of Life

The 'Faithful unto death' tag also appears on his mother's grave - and on Chief Engineer Bell's memorial plague, from memory.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Randy - you knew that this one had to be an attention getter with me, hmm? Not only a general cornucopia of pre-Raphaelite names get dropped, but also that of Rossetti himself! This sent me scurrying to the bookshelf to pull out Jan Marsh's superbly comprehensive biography of Rossetti to see if I could find the Cotswolds in there - unfortunately, the index isn't detailed enough for such a dense, large-scale work (some 530 pages, excluding notes), so I haven't yet found a reference to the Norman Tower (anyone have ideas on dates? Given the names mentioned, it must have happened at some time after the Oxford expedition).

Leafing through the Rossetti book, however, I was reminded of another pre-Raphaelite Titanic connection:

"Already he was at work on his next order, for St Martin's in Scarborough, where Brown's Crucifixion was to be flanked by seven panels showing a typological narrative. 'I'm doing The Parable of the Vineyard for the shop-glass,' he wrote on 1 December, asking to borrow a book that illustrated an archaic wine press. 'If you've anything else in the Vineyard line you might include it.' But here, though the designs are vigorous and varied, the windows themselves are not so successful, for the small square panels, additionally broken by leading, are crowded with narrative figures, causing illegibility. Three were set on each side of the main image, and the seventh below, with its apprpriate legend: 'And they cast the son out of the vineyard and slew him. When the Lord therefore of this vineyard cometh what will he do unto these husbandmen?'"

Although the work was exibited at the 1862 International Reception it met with a mixed reception, and it is possibly for this reason it was not installed at St Martin's. There are, however, some exquisite designs by The Firm there - Morris, Burne-Jones, and Rossetti himself worked on the furnishings and windows (The church was designed by Bodley), and there's a beautiful organ panel showing the Annunciation by Rossetti.

The Titanic connection? James Moody's grandfather, then Town Clerk and generally active in the affairs of the South Cliff, was largely responsible for getting this High Anglican church built. Even when most of the family moved away from the South Cliff area they retained strong links with the church, and it was here in 1913 that the family arranged for a plaque to be erected to James Moody's memory after his loss in the disaster. It's located on the South wall, a fairly large rose-marble tablet, with the inscription

To the Glory of God
And in Affectionate Memory of
James Paul Moody
6th Officer RMS Titanic
Born in Scarborough
21 August 1887
Went down with the Ship
15 April 1912
Be thou faithful unto death and I will give to thee a Crown of Life

The 'Faithful unto death' tag also appears on his mother's grave - and on Chief Engineer Bell's memorial plague, from memory.
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Hallo Geoff - that's one of things I've meant to see the couple of times I've been up to Liverpool (that and the Cathedral). Always seem to get distracted at the Museum for some odd reason...! Went parading around the Heath today in my LFC jacket...one of these days I'm going to get thumped for wearing that.

'Faithful Unto Death...' seems to have been popular in Victorian and Edwardian funerary inscriptions - Moody's mother had it on her headstone, and I've come across quite a few other uses of it on headstones of the period (there's a beautiful one in a cemetary in York where it's coupled with an exquisitely detailed carving). I'm sure there's at least one other Titanic victim's headstone that bears it as well. It seems to take on a whole new resonance in the cases of Moody and Bell. The other one that appears on a Moody memorial is 'Greater Love Hath No Man than This, That a Man Lay Down His Life for His Friends' which would, of course, become so ubiquitous in WWI.

~ Ing
 
May 12, 2005
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Ing,

Great info on Moody!

And I thought of you when I saw all those wonderful names spilling out.

I tried posting a link to a page on the net in which there is a wonderful painting by Sargeant of two girls lighting jack-o-lanterns at dusk in a garden - actually Frank Millet's garden. In fact one of the original models was Kate Millet, whom I imagine was a daughter or neice of the Millets'? (Did the Millet's have children?)

The area of Broadway is a must see for me on my next trip "o'er the pond" - maybe we can go together, Ing, and search out that old Norman tower in the fields. We'll have as companions some very fine ghosts.

Randy
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Randy, Anyone coming to England should go to Broadway, it really is the most beautiful, typically English type of village that you will find. The cottages are constructed of that lovely honey coloured stone, many are thatched, and the shops.....well, they really are something out of this world, as are the prices!

Inger, As you know, another good stone is Wilde's "One of England's Hero's" or Britains I can never recall which without looking at it!
First class passenger Alfred Rowe, who is buried locally, has a wonderful monument too. Only the bare facts are on the panel for Alfred, including a brief mention of the Titanic, but it enthuses over other family members!


Geoff
 

Inger Sheil

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Randy -

Always up for an exploratory expedition (particularly one involving pre-Raphaelite linked Norman Towers!).

The Sargeant picture sounds lovely - shades of Millais and his works like 'Autumn Leaves', perhaps? The few (very few) examples I've seen of Millet's work show a pre-Raphaelite influence, although none of the reproductions were of sufficient quality to allow a good look at the technique, and the subjects owed more to Millias' later career as a society painter ('Between Two Fires' is closer to a work like 'Hearts are Trumps' then the pure pre-Raphaelite works, or even the later Symbolist or Aesthetic movements).

I doubt that Rossetti ever ventured to Scarborough while the work on St Martin's was in progress, but one never knows - I rather like the idea of him running into John James Paul Moody (ever wonder where Officer Moody got his name?), who no doubt had distinct ideas about what that Church was going to look like. It was controversial in its day - the High Anglicanism was taken by some to be Popery in disguise, and symbols that the Firm incorporated - like the pomegranate (universal Catholicism) - were eyed with skeptisism in some quarters. The result was something beautiful, though. All the Moody children of James' generation were baptised there - I've got some lovely photos of the baptisimal fount, and innumerable ones of the memorial tablet (must send some on to Phil).

~ Ing
 

Inger Sheil

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G'day, Geoff -

Wilde's is *also* one of the sites I haven't seen in Liverpool. I've visited the memorials to Moody and Murdoch, the headstone for Lowe and the site where Lightoller's ashes are scattered (won't be doing that for the site where Boxhall's ashes were scattered any time soon). After the current cycle of Lowe research is done I'm going to launch an all out assault on Wilde - I think I've got enough to go on that I might be able to pull something together.

Sometimes the simplest memorial stones are the most effective - I've seen the correspondence regarding the Moody tablet, and the advice of the Archdeacon to the family was to make it as simple as possible.

~ Ing
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Hello Ing,

Wilde's stone, or rather impressive memorial reads "In loving memory of Mary Catherine (Polly) the dearly beloved wife of Lieut.Henry T Wilde RNR who departed this life 24th Decr. 1910 agd 38 years. Also the twin sons of the above, Archie and Richard who died in infancy December 1910. "A loving mother and a faithful friend" Also the above Capt. Henry T Wilde RNR acting Chief Officer who met his death in the SS Titanic disaster 15th April 1912 aged 38 years. "One of Britain's heroes"
A sombre fact is that the grave of little Jamie Bulger is just two or three spaces away.
The Owen Jones/Joneses are buried either side of Wide's plot.

Geoff
 

Inger Sheil

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Oh, Goodness - I didn't know about the Bulger plot being so close!

There's so much family tragedy encapsulated in that headstone - first the twins, then Mary Catherine, then Henry Wilde himself.

Just spoke to the invoved parties today, and it looks like there's going to be another Moody memorial.

Ing
 

Kris Muhvic

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Sep 26, 2008
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Good day all-

I guess in honor of artists, I couldn't help but throw what inspired me in here...

Inger, re: the Pre-Raphaelites. I have always thought of the photography of Julia Cameron was quite in the style/composition, although not paintings of course, of the Pre-R's. And her niece, Julia Jackson-Stephen, was said to have had a noted effect on the Pre-Rahaelite movement with something called the "Little Holland House" circle (?). Well, Mrs. Stephen later gave birth to a daughter who we know as Virginia Woolf; one of my favorite writers and so this interjection! Just wondered about these bits I've come across..it always amazes me how one can search about a subject, and find all kinds of things about so many others.

Randy-
Thank you for getting me out of this garret of Parisian Cubism and re-aquainting myself with visions of a less "exploding shingle factory" nature!

Kris
 
Apr 11, 2001
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The painting by Sargeant, in Millet's garden is Carnation Lily, Lily Rose and is a very large canvas of remarkable skill. The lanterns truly look as if they are lit from within. Will try to upload the postcard from the Boston Museum of Fine Art exhibit from last year. It was all portraiture -this painting was the catalogue cover. Best 18$ I ever spent. Lovely.
14441.jpg
 
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Andrew Williams

Guest
Ah-The Pre-Raphaelite Movement....... now we're talking business of good ole British quality!

Right Randy, Inger, Shelley and Geoff, I don't want you to feel that I'm pushing you in a corner whilst asking you all this question, because at the end of the day, there's a strange twist of fate involved here.

I couldn't agree more with Geoff's statement that beautiful idyllic village of Broadway is well worth a visit.

Nevertheless let's get back to my question. Nowaday's his name doesn't even get a look in let alone a mention. "Who was John Everett Millais"?

I expect Inger might be the first to come forth with an answer!

Best wishes

Andrew W.
 

Inger Sheil

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Poor old Millais! Today most known for his Chocolate-box later works (boys blowing soap bubbles...'Hearts are Trumps'...etc.) One of the original members of the brotherhood, he sold his Pre-Raphaelite soul, and was even accepted into the RA! I prefer his earlier works...did you by any chance catch the major exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Gallery in 1999? It was one of the first things I saw when I moved to London. In his earlier years he had a few rather controversial scrapes, and not just in his art - he won the heart of poor Effie Ruskin (and much as I like Ruskin, he treated his wife very poorly).

Kris, Julia Cameron was certainly of the Pre-Raphaelite ilk! Jan Marsh features her work quite extensively in one of her studies of the movement...think it was the one about Pre-Raphaelite Women (Not 'The Pre-Raphaelite Sisterhood', but the large format art book).

~ Ing
 
Nov 22, 2000
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Millais, born 1829 was a founder member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, some of his more remarkable work was done during his early twenties (Christ in the Carpenter's shop & Oreder of Release) he died 1n 1896.
 
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Andrew Williams

Guest
Hey Presto, Inger your a genuis!

Geoff, I knew Millais death was in 1896, but would you have any inkling of his place of burial?

>>Did you by any chance catch the major exhibition of his work at the National Portrait Galley in 1999? I wish...I wish... I wish...I wish, Inger, 1999 was my own version of the Battle of Jutland!

Sorry for the intrusion Randy but I can't resist the temptation by letting Inger and Geoff know, how fate delivered on of those unexpected surprises at least two years ago.

Indeed "Poor old Millais"! Yet very little is known with the actitives of the Millais family down here in Southampton. Ah-I've quoted Southampton. Yes, Millais is a Southampton man and shortly after he was baptised in the year of his birth 1829 (at my favourite Southampton Church-All Saints) the family quickly uprooted and moved to settled in London.

I have often thought, if Millais had hung on for a few more years how would he react to the event's of 1912. What stood firmly in All Saints favour was its seating capacity and by 1912, it could accommodate up to fourteen hundred people. Again this is not well presented or even publicisted in the book Titanic Voices, but All Saints was selected and held the largest memorial service to Titanic. The service was conducted by Rev B. W. Keymer B.A and held on Sunday, April 12th 1912.

Sadly for Millais Church All Saints, along with its other contemporary Holy Rood, both were destoryed during the heavey bombing of 1940.

Nevertheless, its such a nice thought knowing that the origins of John Everett Millais, who was destined and became the President of the Royal Academy, and co-founder of the Pre-Raphaelites, originates from Southampton.

Best wishes

Andrew W.
 

Inger Sheil

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G'day Andrew -

Millais is buried in St Pauls - there's a photo of the site on the 'Find a Grave website:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6204

I had to wince at the comment in his entry that his most famous work was 'Bubbles'...whatever happened to such innovative works as the Isabella & Lorenzo painting? Pears Soap has a lot to answer for...!

Thanks for the info on the Soton link - I don't think I'd ever heard that. Most of what I know about him dates to when he began moving in the Rossetti/Ford Madox Brown/Collins/Woolner etc circle.

~ Ing