Cou nter poi nts general elections of the 1780s, even canvassing in the streets. She often wore blue and gold, the Whig colours, and fox fur in honour of Fox, her “favourite member”.
Jennie Churchill, mother of Winston, greatly helped her husband Lord Randolph’s early career, as well as that of her son later, canvassing and knocking on doors. She thought nothing of flaunting her perfect figure in the latest fashions to charm society on behalf of her menfolk. A hundred-odd years before Samantha C got her discreet ankle tattoo of a dolphin, Jennie C is said to have had a snake tattooed on her wrist.
Poor Jennie was to die of an infection in 1921 after a fall downstairs wearing the latest hazardous Italian high heels. We do not ask our political wives to go that far in experimenting with fashion—just to show a little more pizzazz.
Strike off the band
By Ruth dudley edwards
The folk group Dervish play traditional Irish music all over the world. In mid-April, the cultural terrorism began over their proposed gig in Israel, where they’ve played for years.
Here are typical early Facebook posts: “Have you forgotten your history, Occupation, persecution, genocide … Are you really going to shame our Nation and those that died for our freedom by playing in Israel?”; “Make a stand for human rights, please say no to Israel’s whitewashing of its brutal abuses.”
On April 27, an open letter from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) begged Dervish to cancel their trip and thus inter alia save the members of FullSet, their supporting band, “from the infamy of breaching the Palestinian cultural boycott so early in their career”.
The letter was signed by the indefatigable Raymond Deane, the IPSC’s cultural liaison officer, a composer who since 1986 has been a member of Aosdána, a statesubsidised organisation of creative artists under the aegis of the Irish Arts Council, and who receives €17,180 annually. Since mid-2010 he has been persuading Irish artists to sign a pledge “in response to the call from Palestinian civil society for a cultural boycott of Israel”.
Irish musicians are tightly-knit and unsurprisingly dominate the list of more than 200 signatories. On Facebook, Deane and allies pushed messages about the “rogue” Israeli state’s use of artists for propaganda.
Whirling into reverse: Irish folk band Dervish
Three days later Dervish announced they had not realised there was a cultural boycott, and didn’t wish to break it. Deane posted: “Dervish—I salute you for this courageous and morally correct decision. You will now be subject to massive defamation from Zionists and their fellow-travellers—you should see this as proof that you have made the correct decision, because it will reveal to you the viciousness and mendacity of Israel’s apologists.”
There followed hundreds of posts in which anti-Zionists spewed venom (sample: “Israel is the quintessential world bully and mafia hit man”) and, for the most part, pro-Israelis lamented that Dervish would not play in both Israel and the Palestinian territories. The band’s singer posted that “to promote love and peace in the world, I would go anywhere”, but the “avalanche of negativity” had made it impossible to make the trip. This produced hundreds more warring posts. The Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, who is Jewish, complains of cultural fascism, and is denounced as a Zionist fifth columnist. The culture war runs and runs.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry views Ireland as the most hostile country in the EU. Take a bow, Dr Raymond Deane.
BY JAMES KELY
Ameaner-spirited person than me would say that it was not the first time that Lambeth Palace had achieved such a feat, but a new exhibition at the Archbishop of Canterbury’s London residence includes possibly the most pointless imaginable piece of missionary apparatus. Sitting among the various items included in Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer is a 1608 Gaelic Irish translation of the Anglican prayer book, looking as unread as it did the day it rolled off the Dublin presses.
The exhibition includes a number of interesting items—such as the Book of Hours in which Richard III has rather endearingly written his own birthday, or the book arguing against Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon in which the impetuous king has scrawled the 16th-century version of “what a load of rubbish”—but elsewhere there is proof of a very modern lesson.
When the Book of Common Prayer first appeared in 1549 during the English Reformation, it was greeted by a rebellion in the West, partly spurred by opposition to the displacing of the Latin Mass. Thomas Cranmer’s 1552 edition was more radically Protestant.
Casually close to the exhibition’s nod to these developments is a display case standing alone, in which are the gloves worn by Charles I at his execution and the ivory chalice of Archbishop William Laud, who also died at the hands of the Civil War’s roundheads.
One of the reasons for the two men’s deaths was religion. By the 1640s, the once radically Protestant Book of Common Prayer was, in the eyes of the Puritans, practically a Missal. To them, Laud’s “ritualism” was Romish and his chalice would have been proof of ongoing Popish superstition. Yet Laud’s chalice is markedly plain in comparison to the continent’s extravagant Catholic baroque masterpieces of the same time. Nobody today would immediately think the chalice looked “Catholic” by 17th-century standards.
In short, such a comparison underlines the vacuity of those who unthinkingly trumpet the current political f
June 2012 In Child Seen from Behind (c.1625), Guercino uses red chalk to portray a small child hiding in his mother’s skirts. The drawing appears in Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery, alongside works by artists such as Dürer, Leonardo, Goya and Cézanne. The exhibition is on display from June 14 to September 9, and explores draughtsmanship both as a preparatory exercise and as a skill important in its own right.