Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Anthony Horowitz / Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes

Anthony Horowitz, OBE (born 5 April 1955) is an English novelist and screenwriter specialising in mystery and suspense. His work for young adult readers includes The Diamond Brothers series, the Alex Rider series, and The Power of Five series (a.k.a. The Gatekeepers).

His work for adults includes the play Mindgame (2001), the two Sherlock Holmes novels The House of Silk (2011) and Moriarty (2014), Magpie Murders (2016) and The Word is Murder (2017). He is also the most recent author chosen to write a James Bond novel by the Ian Fleming estate, titled Trigger Mortis (2015).

He has also written for television, contributing scripts to ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot and Midsomer Murders. He was the creator and writer of the ITV series Foyle's War, Collision and Injustice and the BBC series New Blood.

Horowitz was born in Stanmore, Middlesex, into a wealthy Jewish family, and in his early years lived an upper-middle class lifestyle. As an overweight and unhappy child, Horowitz enjoyed reading books from his father's library. At the age of 8, Horowitz was sent to Orley Farm, a boarding preparatory school in Harrow, Middlesex. There, he entertained his peers by telling them the stories he had read. Horowitz described his time in the school as "a brutal experience", recalling that he was often beaten by the headmaster.

At age 13 he went on to Rugby School, a public school in Rugby, Warwickshire. Horowitz's mother introduced him to Frankenstein and Dracula. She also gave him a human skull for his 13th birthday. Horowitz said in an interview that it reminds him to get to the end of each story since he will soon look like the skull. From the age of 8, Horowitz knew he wanted to be a writer, realizing "the only time when I'm totally happy is when I'm writing". He graduated from the University of York with a lower second class degree in English literature and art history in 1977, where he was in Vanbrugh College.

In at least one interview, Horowitz claims to believe that H. P. Lovecraft based his fictional Necronomicon on a real text, and to have read some of that text.

Horowitz's father was associated with some of the politicians in the "circle" of prime minister Harold Wilson, including Eric Miller. Facing bankruptcy, he moved his assets into Swiss numbered bank accounts. He died from cancer when his son Anthony was 22, and the family was never able to track down the missing money despite years of trying.

Horowitz now lives in Central London with his wife Jill Green, whom he married in Hong Kong on 15 April 1988. Green produced Foyle's War, the series Horowitz wrote for ITV. They have two sons. He credits his family with much of his success in writing, as he says they help him with ideas and research. He is a patron of child protection charity Kidscape.

Anthony Horowitz's first book, The Sinister Secret of Frederick K Bower, was a humorous adventure for children, published in 1979[11] and later reissued as Enter Frederick K Bower. In 1981 his second novel, Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet was published and he moved to Paris to write his third book. In 1983 the first of the Pentagram series, The Devil's Door-Bell, was released. This story saw Martin Hopkins battling an ancient evil that threatened the whole world. Only three of four remaining stories in the series were ever written: The Night of the Scorpion (1984), The Silver Citadel (1986) and Day of the Dragon (1986). In 1985, he released Myths and Legends, a collection of retold tales from around the world.

In between writing these novels, Horowitz turned his attention to legendary characters, working with Richard Carpenter on the Robin of Sherwood television series, writing five episodes of the third season. He also novelised three of Carpenter's episodes as a children's book under the title Robin Sherwood: The Hooded Man (1986). In addition, he created Crossbow (1987), a half-hour action adventure series loosely based on William Tell.

In 1988, Groosham Grange was published. This book went on to win the 1989 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year Award. It was partially based on the years Horowitz spent at boarding school. Its central character is a thirteen-year-old "witch", David Eliot, gifted as the seventh son of a seventh son. Like Horowitz's, Eliot's childhood is unhappy. The Groosham Grange books are aimed at a slightly younger audience than Horowitz's previous books.

This era in Horowitz's career also saw Adventurer (1987) and Starting Out (1990) published. However, the most major release of Horowitz's early career was The Falcon's Malteser (1986). This book was the first in the successful Diamond Brothers series, and was filmed for television in 1989 as Just Ask for Diamond, with an all star cast that included Bill Paterson, Jimmy Nail, Roy Kinnear, Susannah York, Michael Robbins and Patricia Hodge, and featured Colin Dale and Dursley McLinden as Nick and Tim Diamond. It was followed in 1987 with Public Enemy Number Two, and by South by South East in 1991 followed by The French Confection, I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, The Blurred Man and most recently The Greek Who Stole Christmas.

Horowitz wrote many stand-alone novels in the 1990s. 1994's Granny, a comedy thriller about an evil grandmother, was Horowitz's first book in three years, and it was the first of three books for an audience similar to that of Groosham Grange. The second of these was The Switch, a body swap story, first published in 1996. The third was 1997's The Devil and His Boy, which is set in the Elizabethan era and explores the rumour of Elizabeth I's secret son. In 1999, The Unholy Grail was published as a sequel to Groosham Grange. The Unholy Grail was renamed as Return to Groosham Grange in 2003, possibly to help readers understand the connection between the books. Horowitz Horror (1999) and More Horowitz Horror (2000) saw Horowitz exploring a darker side of his writing. Each book contains several short horror stories. Many of these stories were repackaged in twos or threes as the Pocket Horowitz series.

Horowitz began his most famous and successful series in the new millennium with the Alex Rider novels. These books are about a 14-year-old boy becoming a spy, a member of the British Secret Service branch MI6. There are ten books where Alex Rider is the protagonist, and an eleventh is connected to the Alex Rider series (although not part of it) : Stormbreaker (2000), Point Blanc (2001), Skeleton Key (2002), Eagle Strike (2003), Scorpia (2004) Ark Angel (2005), Snakehead (2007), Crocodile Tears (novel) (2009), Scorpia Rising (2011), and the 'connector, Russian Roulette (2013). Horowitz had stated that Scorpia Rising was to be the last book in the Alex Rider series prior to writing Russian Roulette about the life of Yassen Gregorovich., but he has returned to the series with Never Say Die (2017).

In 2003, Horowitz also wrote three novels featuring the Diamond Brothers: The Blurred Man, The French Confection and I Know What You Did Last Wednesday, which were republished together as Three of Diamonds in 2004. The author information page in early editions of Scorpia and the introduction to Three of Diamonds claimed that Horowitz had travelled to Australia to research a new Diamond Brothers book, entitled Radius of the Lost Shark. However, this book has not been mentioned since, so it is doubtful it is still planned. A new Diamond Brothers "short" book entitled The Greek who Stole Christmas! was later released. It is hinted at the end of The Greek who Stole Christmas that Radius of the Lost Shark may turn out to be the eighth book in the series.

In 2004, Horowitz branched out to an adult audience with The Killing Joke, a comedy about a man who tries to track a joke to its source with disastrous consequences. Horowitz's second adult novel, Magpie Murders, is about "a whodunit writer who is murdered while he's writing his latest whodunit". Having previously spoken about the book in 2005, Horowitz expected to finish it in late 2015, and it was published in October 2016.

In August 2005, Horowitz released a book called Raven's Gate which began another series entitled The Power of Five (The Gatekeepers in the United States). He describes it as "Alex Rider with witches and devils". The second book in the series, Evil Star, was released in April 2006. The third in the series is called Nightrise, and was released on 2 April 2007. The fourth book Necropolis was released in October 2008. The fifth and last book was released in October 2012 and is named Oblivion.

In October 2008, Anthony Horowitz's play Mindgame opened Off Broadway at the Soho Playhouse in New York City. Mindgame starred Keith Carradine, Lee Godart, and Kathleen McNenny. The production was the New York stage directorial debut for Ken Russell. Recently he got into a joke dispute with Darren Shan over the author using a character that had a similar name and a description that fitted his. Although Horowitz considered suing, he decided not to.

In March 2009 he was a guest on Private Passions, the biographical music discussion programme on BBC Radio 3.

On 19 January 2011, the estate of Arthur Conan Doyle announced that Horowitz was to be the writer of a new Sherlock Holmes novel, the first such effort to receive an official endorsement from them and to be entitled The House of Silk. It was both published in November 2011 and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. A follow-up novel, Moriarty, was published in 2014.

In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, which was released in 2015. It will be followed by a second novel, Forever and A Day, which is set to come out on 31st May 2018.

Horowitz was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to literature.

Writing for television and film
Horowitz began writing for television in the 1980s, contributing to the children's anthology series Dramarama, and also writing for the popular fantasy series Robin of Sherwood. His association with murder mysteries began with the adaptation of several Hercule Poirot stories for ITV's popular Agatha Christie's Poirot series during the 1990s.

Often his work has a comic edge, such as with the comic murder anthology Murder Most Horrid (BBC Two, 1991) and the comedy-drama The Last Englishman (1995), starring Jim Broadbent. From 1997, he wrote the majority of the episodes in the early series of Midsomer Murders. In 2001, he created a drama anthology series of his own for the BBC, Murder in Mind, an occasional series which deals with a different set of characters and a different murder every one-hour episode.

He is also less-favourably known for the creation of two short-lived and sometimes derided science-fiction shows, Crime Traveller (1997) for BBC One and The Vanishing Man (pilot 1996, series 1998) for ITV. While Crime Traveller received favourable viewing figures it was not renewed for a second season, which Horowitz accounts to temporary personnel transitioning within the BBC. In 2002, the detective series Foyle's War launched, set during the Second World War.

He devised the 2009 ITV crime drama Collision and co-wrote the screenplay with Michael A. Walker.

Horowitz is the writer of a feature film screenplay, The Gathering, which was released in 2003 and starred Christina Ricci. He wrote the screenplay for Alex Rider's first major motion picture, Stormbreaker.

Anthony Horowitz: 'People used to disagree. Now they send death threats'
By Danuta Kean
He had a privileged upbringing but then his family lost everything. As he takes his biggest risk yet, the writer talks about surviving his childhood – and the storm he caused about writing black characters

Sun 27 Aug 2017 16.00 BST Last modified on Thu 22 Feb 2018 13.19 GMT

‘I was called names when I was eight,” says Anthony Horowitz. “I will not tell you them now because I would be physically sick if they passed my lips.” The writer pauses momentarily, his brown eyes fixing mine. “I just couldn’t do it. These things do hurt.”

Tall, slim and wearing black jeans, the 62-year-old could, until this moment, have passed for a much younger man. But as he recalls his childhood, suddenly the years seem to catch up with him. We meet in the London offices of the TV production company run by his wife, Jill Green, to chat about his latest novel, The Word Is Murder. We are a stone’s throw from their penthouse in a renovated bacon factory. It seems rather fitting – because he certainly brings home the bacon. Horowitz, who has houses in Crete, Suffolk and London, is one of the highest earning writers in Britain.

On the walls are testimonies to his success: framed covers of his multi-million-selling Alex Rider novels about the boy recruited by MI6, whose adventures were turned into a film in 2006; a giant poster for his wartime detective drama Foyle’s War; and shelves laden with books and DVDs of his many hit shows, including New Blood, Injustice and Midsomer Murders. But for all this success, he is still haunted by a childhood of superficial comfort. His father was a solicitor, known as a something of a fixer for prime minister Harold Wilson. His nefarious business dealings weren’t revealed until his death: his millions had been squirrelled into Swiss bank accounts under assumed names; the money was never recovered and the shock of the family’s bankruptcy for Horowitz, then 23, gave him a lifelong horror of debt – and a ferocious work ethic.

What was lost was considerable: the family home, White Friars, was so big that when demolished it was replaced by no fewer than 16 five-bedroom houses. Both his parents were away much of the time, leaving Horowitz and his two siblings in the care of servants and his grandmother, a woman of such hellish cruelty he used her as the template for the eponymous villain in his children’s novel Granny.

Being packed off to boarding school at the age of eight could have been an escape. But this was the 1960s, when beatings were a way of life in such schools. At Orley Farm in Harrow, Horowitz was often left bleeding after six of the best. He worries that remembering such things sounds like whingeing, when other children lived in dire poverty. But, as the patron of the anti-bullying charity Kidscape, he says: “Emotional cruelty ignores wealth and position.” Such vicious treatment of children in boarding schools in the 60s, he believes, has had a detrimental impact on society. “It is why so much of this country is dysfunctional.”

It was not just the beatings that scarred the writer: being plump and Jewish made him an easy target for other boys. At night, he escaped by telling stories to schoolmates after lights out in his dorm. In those tales, he found salvation and developed an ambition to be a writer. It is clearly painful to recall. Why does he talk about it? “For one very simple reason,” he snaps back, with barely concealed irritation. “People like yourself always ask about it.”

I ask if he’d rather not be asked about his childhood and there is a long pause. “It’s not my business to tell you what you can and can’t ask me,” he says eventually. Written down, the words look harsher than they sound. “No, I’m happy to talk about it because…” He pauses, pressing his hands into his lap like a schoolboy sitting outside the head’s office. The PR sharing the room with us, nods and he enters into a convoluted explanation about how he regards the granting of an interview for publicity as a kind of contract in which “I provide you with the material you want”.

The PR, I suspect, is here to protect a writer with a reputation for shooting from the lip, making him a gift to headline-writers, which is why his audiences at book festivals are always peppered with reporters scribbling away. This very day, the Times is running with a story picked up from an event at the Edinburgh festival, in which he contested that theatres should not give critics free tickets because a savaging can kill a show. Within days, the Stage responded with an article by an actor in his play Dinner With Saddam castigating Horowitz for writing a flop that “shoehorned the tragedy of the 2003 invasion of Iraq into the format of a bawdy 1970s British sitcom”.

Although the father of two insists he is inured to such coverage, the admission that his son Cass offered to sit in on our interview suggests that it does get to him. In May, the Mail on Sunday reported that he accused his publisher, Walker, of pressuring him into dropping a black character because of “cultural appropriation”.

A Twitter storm erupted, led by Rivers of London writer Ben Aaronovitch. “If you don’t feel confident or just don’t want to write black characters, just say so,” he seethed. “Don’t pretend it’s political correctness gone mad.” Authors of colour, including Orangeboy writer Patrice Lawrence, accused the Rugby alumnus of hijacking the issue of diversity in fiction.

Horowitz sighs when I ask about the claim, strenuously denied by Walker. “I didn’t say anything that can be construed as contrary,” he says. “I was merely drawing attention to this movement of cultural appropriation, which is very strong in America.” His voice rises an octave and he adds: “I am not saying that it is shocking or wrong or disgusting. I did say, however, that its natural outcome would be that I would end up only writing about 63-year-old writers who live in Clerkenwell and have two sons.” He praises Lionel Shriver – “whose work I love” – for speaking out on the subject and insists that, far from disagreeing with political correctness, he regards it as “absolutely 100% right”.

The mobbing disturbs him, though. He thinks it’s symptomatic of a rage in society that has grown since the Brexit vote. “There is a rigidity in the way we have begun to think and speak. If we step outside certain lines on certain issues, we find not just people disagreeing, but disagreeing to the extent of death threats. When somebody says something untoward in the press, and I am not saying this about myself, people don’t just say that was a stupid thing to say. They say, ‘Lose your job.’ They want you to never ever have an income again.”

It is a theme that emerges in the new novel. The Word Is Murder is first in a series about Hawthorne, an ex-cop turned gumshoe who seems to be straight out of central casting: ageing loner, problems with authority, smoker, secretive, divorced. But, as the novel progresses, the carapace is demolished and, Horowitz promises, the next eight or nine books (he is undecided) will provide surprising revelations.

The book could be seen as Horowitz’s most audacious yet, since he has taken the unusual step of placing himself at the centre of the story, narrating Hawthorne’s exploits. It is an attempt at meta-fiction more usually the preserve of self-consciously literary writers like Martin Amis or Bret Easton Ellis and the author admits being nervous about the reception of his 46th novel.

The book certainly has its moments, in particular the laugh-out-loud funeral scene and a chapter in which Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson discuss Horowitz’s screenplay for a Tintin movie. It is based on a real meeting he had in Paris.

 Writing saved me. Simple as that. When I was 10, and inadequate in many ways, writing was a lifeline
With 10 million words under his belt, Horowitz has long toyed with penning a guide that details everything from how to plot a novel to how to deal with TV executives. “I even started to write it. But it was dull and slightly arrogant and, at the end of the day, it just didn’t interest me.” He laughs, unfazed by failure, which he regards as a healthy corrective.

Whatever happens with this book, it will not hold back the creator of Alex Rider, who rattles off the projects he wishes to complete: a new children’s trilogy, more novels for adults, and several plays. As he talks, I can’t help thinking of that chubby schoolboy who tells stories to keep his spirits up in a school he will one day describe as a “cesspit”.

“My writing has saved me,” he says. “Simple as that.” He looks sheepish, before breaking into a smile. “When I was 10, and inadequate in many ways, writing was a lifeline. Now I have my life pretty much sorted out. In a world where everything seems to be uncertain, writing is the only certainty I have.”

The Word Is Murder by is published by Century. It’s available at the Guardian Bookshop.

Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes committed heinous crimes against genre fiction: review
 Jasper Rees
17 OCTOBER 2016 • 10:00PM

Have we reached peak Marr? On Sunday mornings on BBC One, Andrew Marr is the new David Frost. On Mond
ay mornings on Radio 4, he’s the new Melvyn Bragg. The rest of the time, he’s a rent-a-presenter on a wide array of matters. Maybe they’re getting full use of him in return for an enormous salary, but Sleuths, Spies & Sorcerers: Andrew Marr’s Paperback Heroes (BBC Four) finds him finally spread too thin.

In each part, Marr considers a branch of fiction that’s never up for the posh prizes. Next week it’s fantasy epics, the week after spy novels, but he started with detective fiction. The first half was devoted to Agatha Christie, whose plots he anatomised before cheerfully admitting that he didn’t actually like her books. I’m no Poirot but that looks like a crime against the licence fee.

Marr pottered on through the century, investigating the genre’s rules and tropes (the locked room conundrum, the flawed detective, etc). To illustrate various plots he moved among a cast of actors who were dressed in full period garb, but clearly there wasn’t a budget for the whole century so Marr did a bit of acting himself. If he never again pollutes the airwaves with his array of appalling accents, so much the better. He later illustrated his bullet points with copious clips of Marlowe, Wexford, Rebus and co, with the result that the second half felt more like a hasty history of TV detective drama.

It was never clear if Marr had a clue what he was talking about. His concluding thesis was that, a century from now, crime fiction is where historians will look to find out how we lived, which seems a sweeping snub to literary novelists. There are a lot of these overblown claims for popular entertainment about: a recent BBC documentary said exactly the same about sitcoms.

The best feature of this episode was a series of absorbing interviews with the great practitioners of crime fiction including Sophie Hannah, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin, welcome partly for the sound and sight of Marr listening to experts, not larking about like a performing monkey.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Savile Row tailoring scandal in 1892. The Duke of York ( Prince George ) trousers scandal. DAVIES & SON

“1892: Miss Fanny Hicks is forced to tell the Trade Union Congress in Glasgow that trousers made for Queen Victoria’s grandson the Duke of York (later King George V) were made in a Soho sweatshop where typhoid fever has broken out. Miss Hicks then discloses that Davies & Son (the Duke’s tailor) is a subcontractor of the sweatshop. The scandal of the Duke of York’s Trousers is recorded in The Pall Mall Gazette and compounded by the mysterious death of the Duke’s brother and heir apparent Prince Albert Victor in January 1892.”

“Davies & Son found itself in the centre of a royal Savile Row tailoring scandal in 1892 when trade union whistle-blower Miss Fanny Hicks told the Glasgow Congress that trousers intended for the Duke of York (the future King George V) had been made in a sweatshop in Mayfair’s Woodstock Street. Miss Hicks alleged that Davies & Son had outsourced the prince’s trousers and waistcoat to the sweatshops behind Bond Street where minors had recently died of scarlet fever. Furthermore, she claimed Davies & Son had also outsourced a uniform intended for Prince Eddy, Duke of Clarence and Avondale to the self same workshop. Prince Eddy had ostensibly died of influenza complicated by pneumonia at Sandringham House in January 1892. But the Pall Mall Gazette made the link between infected garments and the death of a man once removed from the throne of Great Britain. Another victim was the youngest daughter of Davies & Son customer Sir Robert Peel. Good came from the scandal of the Duke of York’s trousers for which, incidentally, Davies & Son was exonerated.”
James Sherwood

by James Sherwood

Davies & Son is the oldest independent tailor trading on Savile Row.
Thomas Davies set up shop at No 19 Hanover Street in 1804, a year after his late brother founded the eponymous bespoke tailor on Cork Street in 1803. It was an era when the landscape of the fashionable West End of London was still under construction. The Prince Regent had yet to command John Nash to build Regent Street as a wide, colonnaded boulevard between Soho and Mayfair. Work had not commenced on the world’s longest, grandest covered shopping arcade Burlington Arcade and it it would be another 42-years before Henry Poole opened the first tailor’s shop on Savile Row. Davies, whose silhouette painted in black ink and preserved in the company archive has been reinstated as part of the trademark, was clerk to banking dynasty and army agents Greenwood, Cox & Co. He was responsible for the commission of army uniforms so it stands to reason that when he took the reins of his brother’s firm that he had a ready-made naval and military business during the Napoleonic Wars. We know that Admiral Lord Nelson was an early customer of Davies & Son and also patronised hatters James Lock & Co and Meredith of Portsmouth; the firm that became known as Gieves Ltd and, later, Gieves & Hawkes. EST 1803 SAVILE ROW Bespoke Tailors The Hanover Street house was decorated in fine late Georgian style with stucco ceilings as elaborate as royal icing and a filigree mahogany staircase that snaked upwards to the four floors above. Arbiter of fashion George ‘Beau’ Brummell and his follower the Prince Regent favoured tailors Meyer, Weston and Schweitzer & Davidson. But we know Davies had an elite civilian clientele from its earliest years. When the firm was forced to leave Hanover Street in 1979 a bill dated 1829 was discovered issued to twice Tory Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel who founded the modern police force. When Davies & Son first felt sufficiently confident to claim they dressed ‘all the crowned heads of Europe’ is unclear because all but one of its customer ledgers did not survive. But by 1915 the firm proudly display HM King George V’s Royal Warrant on the company’s letterhead flanked by the crests of the Emperor of Russia, the Kings of the Hellenes, Spain, Denmark and Norway and Queen Victoria’s third son Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. The letter also tells us that Davies & Son had a shop at No 16 Place Vendôme in Paris opposite The Ritz hotel. Queen Victoria’s grandsons the Princes Eddy and George were the first British royal customers to patronise the firm in the 1880s. Davies & Son found itself in the centre of a royal Savile Row tailoring scandal in 1892 when trade union whistle-blower Miss Fanny Hicks told the Glasgow Congress that trousers intended for the Duke of York (the future King George V) had been made in a sweatshop in Mayfair’s Woodstock Street. Miss Hicks alleged that Davies & Son had outsourced the prince’s trousers and waistcoat to the sweatshops behind Bond Street where minors had recently died of scarlet fever. Furthermore, she claimed Davies & Son had also outsourced a uniform intended for Prince Eddy, Duke of Clarence and Avondale to the self same workshop. Prince Eddy had ostensibly died of influenza complicated by pneumonia at Sandringham House in January 1892. But the Pall Mall Gazette made the link between infected garments and the death of a man once removed from the throne of Great Britain. Another victim was the youngest daughter of Davies & Son customer Sir Robert Peel. Good came from the scandal of the Duke of York’s trousers for which, incidentally, Davies & Son was exonerated. Davies, Poole’s and Meyer & Mortimer put their outworking factories in order, Fanny Hicks was exposed as a union firebrand stirring up trouble and Angelica Patience Fraser - the tailors’ Florence Nightingale – embarked on a new crusade to end ‘sweating’ as well as to curb the drunkenness and vice that was virulent in the tailoring workshops of Soho and Oxford Street. Neither did the scandal deter the Duke of York who was still a Davies & Son customer when he acceded to the throne in 1910 and remained so until his death in 1936. One of the most poignant photographs in the Davies & Son archive shows King George V and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia at Cowes’ Royal Regatta in 1910 with their eldest sons the Prince of Wales and Tsarevich Alexei. The royal cousins are near identical and wear matching blazers and flannels tailored by Davies & Son. Within eight-years the Tsar and his immediate family would be executed by firing squad in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. The Prince of Wales would reign for less than a year before abdicating the throne for the love of twicedivorced American Wallis Simpson. Another controversial customer from early 20th Century Russian history was the infamous bisexual Prince Felix Youssoupoff who recorded a 1903 visit to Hanover Street in his 1953 memoir Lost Splendour. The prince’s bulldog Punch tore the seat out of a fellow customer’s trousers. Prince Felix would be remembered as the man who shot the ‘mad monk’ Rasputin’ in 1917 and inadvertently speeded the downfall of the Romanov dynasty and the collapse of the Russian Empire. Another exotic customer in 1902 was the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar who ordered a tan goatskin motoring cap and two pairs of matching gauntlets. Establishment figures such as Liberal Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman also patronised Davies. Richard Walker’s Savile Row Story (1988) gives a curious insight into King George V’s relationship with Davies & Son. The King, like his father Edward VII before him who made a point of visiting Henry Poole on Savile Row socially, did not request that Davies wait on him at Buckingham Palace. ‘The firm created a room for his exclusive use and fitted it with panels and a tube-like hosepipe, which communicated with the tailors upstairs’. Presumably the fifth floor salon reserved for royal customers to entertain their lady friends the previous century had been decommissioned. In 1935 the last of Davies family relinquished the business and it was taken over by a cabal of cutters who continued to run the company until 1996. Between World War I and World War II, Davies dressed heroes Field Marshal Lord Alexander of Tunis, Field Marshal Haig and spymaster Colonel Edward Boxshall as well as villains such as founder of the British Union of Fascists Sir Oswald Mosley. United States President Harry Truman was tailored by Davies after World War II as was President John F. Kennedy’s father Joe. Like most establishment tailors in the West End excluding Huntsman and Anderson & Sheppard, Davies & Son did not dress show business professionals before World War II. After VE Day in 1945 Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Tyrone Power and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. visited Davies & Son on Hanover Street. Echoing many tailors who survived the privations of war and clothing rationing, Davies & Son would have to adjust to the fact that (in their own words) ‘our business was built on the clothing requirements of the aristocracy of Europe and Great Britain. Today our business is mainly with the affluent and famous abroad’. When Davies changed its address to 32 Old Burlington Street (now Anderson & Sheppard) in 1979 many historic records were transferred to the Westminster Library and only a minimum of the shop fittings from Hanover Street were salvaged. No 19 Hanover Street is still standing but any original features are hidden by the interiors of a wine bar. Should you wish to see an interior comparable look at Browns restaurant on Maddox Street housed in the former Victorian showroom of Wells of Mayfair: a tailor now incorporated into Davies & Son. With 90% of business transacted overseas after the war, Davies & Son’s cutters joined the rest of Savile Row aboard the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth for transatlantic trips to New York and, from Grand Central Station, all over the United States. Davies still travels frequently to France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Korea, Japan and, in the US, to New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington and Boston. Responsibilities on trips are now shared between owner Alan Bennett, senior cutter Patrick Murphy and senior salesman Graham Lawless. Mr Bennett has a formidable record in bespoke tailoring and is one of the very few members of the ‘50 Club’ who have worked for as many years or more on the Row. His training includes studying at the London College of Fashion and apprenticeships with Huntsman, Kilgour, French & Stanbury, Dege & Skinner and Denman & Goddard. Mr Bennett traded under his own name before saving Davies & Son from closure in 1997. He relocating the firm to No 38 Savile Row. Since the acquisition, Davies & Son has incorporated historic West End bespoke tailors such as James & James (who in turn bought-out the Duke of Windsor’s tailor Scholte), Wells of Mayfair, Watson, Fargerstrom & Hughes and royal and military tailor Johns & Pegg who hold the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Warrant. In addition to being a traditionalist Mr Bennett is one of the Row’s most creative cutters. In recent years he has collaborated with Guy Hills cutting suits made from Hills’s directional Dashing Tweeds cloth collections. It was he who sold Michael Jackson an Ambassadorial coatee in the 1990s giving the late king of pop one of his most iconic costumes. A new chapter was opened in Davies & Son’s story when former Huntsman head cutter Patrick Murphy joined Mr Bennett and Mr Lawless at No. 38 Savile Row in 2015. With so many once great names in Savile Row’s history sold to overseas investors and focusing increasingly on ready-towear, the few remaining firms in independent ownership gain authenticity and respect for maintaining standards and tradition. Tailors promising to revolutionise the Row or introduce modernity do not fool connoisseurs of bespoke tailoring. The aforementioned trust cutters and tailors who have practised the craft man and boy such as Messrs Bennett, Lawless and Murphy at Davies & Son

Saturday, 21 April 2018

“The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide To Chivalry.” By Brad Miner

“The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide To Chivalry.” By  Brad Miner

At a time of astonishing confusion about what it means to be a man, Brad Miner has recovered the oldest and best ideal of manhood: the gentleman. Reviving a thousand-year tradition of chivalry, honor, and heroism, The Compleat Gentleman provides the essential model for twenty-first-century masculinity.
Despite our confusion, real manhood is not complicated. It is an ancient ideal based on service to ones God, country, family, and friendsa simple but arduous ideal worthy of a lifetime of struggle.

Miners gentleman stands out for his dignity, restraint, and discernment. He rejects the notion that one way of behaving is as good as another. He belongs to an aristocracy of virtue, not of wealth or birth. Proposing neither a club nor a movement, Miner describes a lofty code of manly conduct, which, far from threatening democracy, is necessary for its survival.

Miner traces the concept of manliness from the jousting fields of the twelfth century to the decks of the Titanic. The three masculine archetypes that emergethe warrior, the lover, and the monkcombine in the character of the "compleat gentleman." This modern knight cultivates a martial spirit in defense of the true and the beautiful. He treats the opposite sex with the passionate respect required by courtly love. And he values learning in the pursuit of truthall with the discretion, decorum, and nonchalance that the Renaissance called sprezzatura.

The Compleat Gentleman is filled with examples from the past and the present of the man our increasingly uncivilized age demands.


A review of The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry, by Brad Miner
By: Terrence O. Moore

Posted: March 10, 2005
This article appeared in: Vol. V, Number 1 - Winter 2004/05

Edmund Burke's famous pronouncement that "the age of chivalry is gone" was perhaps premature. Sure, ten thousand swords did not leap from the scabbards of the French nobility to defend Marie Antoinette, but such a betrayal did not mean that "the unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise" was forgotten in Britain, or America. More than two centuries later, the spirit of chivalry has not been entirely eradicated from the human heart, even in our pacifist, feminist, postmodern age.

While teaching both college and high school students, I have found nothing to electrify a classroom as much as the topic of chivalry, which I always introduce with the simple question, "Is chivalry dead?" The reasons for student interest are straightforward: young women are curious to see how men used to treat women in a more mannered and moral age, and young men, for their part, are painfully aware that in many respects they are less manly than their forefathers. These students have usually been given little instruction by their parents and teachers on what it means to be a man or a woman. Perhaps no other image, then, can appeal to them as much as the knight on horseback who will, for the sake of honor, fight any man, and still bow in deference to every lady.

And yet, the story of chivalry has not gotten out. Maurice Keen, Richard Barber, and Georges Duby have written excellent academic histories of chivalry, but these works are aimed at a scholarly audience and make no attempt to explore the relevance of chivalry for our own time. Medieval narratives, especially Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, are often tough reading and Hollywood blockbusters like last summer's King Arthur or A Knight's Tale from a few years ago are utter disappointments. But now Brad Miner, an executive editor at Bookspan and former literary editor for National Review, has given us The Compleat Gentleman, an attempt to trace the chivalric tradition from medieval times to our own and to return contemporary manhood to its moorings in this gentlemanly tradition.

After the fall of the Roman Empire, lawless young men on horseback roamed the countryside in search of a fight. They threatened any semblance of order, and especially threatened women. Gradually, these young men became less dangerous by accepting the code of knighthood. They promised to display certain virtues: loyauté, prouesse, largesse, courtoisie, and franchise. In return, they might gain property by marrying the daughter of a lord. Or they might make a considerable fortune and win glory by testing their mettle in frequent tournaments. Miner offers interesting snapshots of the knight's training, the knighting ceremony, and tournaments. These last, in particular, were crucial to the development of chivalry, having "the dual virtues of providing both a means of testing a knight's prowess and of expiating his violent energies." And Miner reminds us that tournaments in the heyday of chivalry were not celebrated in the fashion of the confined jousts of either Scott's Ivanhoe or cinematic lore, but rather in the form of a mêlée, a massive battle lasting all day and often engaging hundreds or even thousands of knights. Injuries were frequent, and death was not uncommon.

While Miner offers the basic outlines of medieval chivalry, he fails to recount certain facts and anecdotes that might do more to win our hearts. For example, as courtly philosophy began increasingly to shape the ideal of knighthood, a knight could be barred from tournaments for any unchivalrous behavior, including deserting his lord in battle, destroying vineyards and cornfields, or repeating gossip about a lady. Can we imagine a sporting event today in which players who had "talked trash" about a girl would not be allowed on the field? Who would be left to play? Miner makes excellent observations on William Marshal, "the flower of chivalry," but most of his other character sketches amuse more than they impress. Other knights should have appeared in this book. Consider Maréchal Boucicaut who while in Genoa running the government of Charles VI, once bowed to two prostitutes, whom he did not know. His page said, "My lord, they are whores." Boucicaut responded, "I would rather have saluted ten whores than to have omitted saluting one respectable woman." Another good lesson for a culture that too often treats respectable women as "ho's."

* * *

Miner classifies the chivalrous man as part warrior, part lover, and part monk, and addresses each aspect of this ideal in separate chapters. A reformed pacifist who prefers his sons to be Galahads rather than Gandhis, Miner clearly sees that a post-September 11 America is no place for milquetoasts. We are living in a fallen world and bad men want to do bad things to us. We must be ready to respond in kind: "a gentleman really must face the reality of violence and not reject it, but like any warrior he will turn to violence only as a last resort."

The chapter on the lover is not nearly as inspiring. Miner does a good job of explaining how troubadours and assertive ladies with questionable sexual histories, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, could establish the quasi-religion of courtly love. He is also forthright about the difficulty such love poses to all contemporary moralists who want to adopt chivalry as a model: knights and ladies were often adulterers, most famously Guinevere and Lancelot. But Miner never mentions Wolfram von Eschenbach, the 13th-century Bavarian knight who tried in his Parzival to reconcile courtly love with marriage. Nor does he say anything about the reforms of the 14th and 15th centuries, that sought to turn weak-willed knights into true gentlemen. And most curious of all, he ends a chapter about love with a discussion of women in combat. According to his rather strained logic, the true gentleman respects women and gives them what they want. If she is strong enough and willing, then today's "woman warrior" should be allowed to fight alongside today's chivalrous man.

Miner's treatment of the gentleman is likewise far from "compleat." He does relate the history of the gentleman, the successor to the knight, from the Renaissance onward, but unfortunately he sandwiches this chapter between his first chapter on the knight and his three chapters on the warrior, the lover, and the monk, which all return to medieval themes. As a result, he never shows any of the improvements or adjustments that the culture of the gentleman made on the original model, especially with regard to sexual mores. And too often he considers gentlemanly advice books as a true reflection of how actual men thought and acted. Such a selective use of sources is understandable for the Middle Ages, but the historical record is far richer in modern times. His handling of the 18th century is particularly lacking: he focuses on Lord Chesterfield's letters to his illegitimate son, a work which Miner himself tells us was considered by Samuel Johnson to "teach the morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing master." Only by confusing the century of Washington and Hamilton and Burke with the letters of Chesterfield could one conclude that the "heroic aspect of the gentlemanly character would begin to be lost in the mystification of manners." Miner actually gives no more than a passing mention to America's greatest gentlemen, the Founding Fathers. And he seems to think little of manners generally. The muddled section on politesse hardly recommends good manners at all but instead insists, "nobody has better manners or finer suits or more skill in debate than the devil himself."

Finally, Miner overlooks one vital aspect of modern manliness altogether. His tripartite knight roughly corresponds to the medieval conception of the three orders in society: oratores (those who pray), bellatores (those who fight), and laborares (those who work). Yet he substitutes lovers for workers, leaving no place in his scheme for what most gentlemen do in modern times: work hard to provide for their families. Calling for a return to the warrior ethic in these times is certainly warranted. But in practical terms, not all of us can serve in the military. And as Adam Smith knew and American history has shown, an industrialized power firm in its will and purpose will always prevail over a less developed enemy.

Despite its flaws, Brad Miner's book is a good introduction to chivalry and one hopes it will inaugurate a rich discussion over the qualities of true manliness. For that, we owe him our courteous thanks.


Chivalry is Dead, Long Live Chivalry
Author of "The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man's Guide to Chivalry" argues the ideal endures.
Books By Christian Chensvold

 Ours is an age of conflicting messages. Human progress is simultaneously thwarted and thriving, technology both connects us and isolates us. And when it comes to masculinity, some cry it’s a toxic social construct that must be eradicated, yet it is concurrently celebrated in every big-screen depiction of superhero saving the world from destruction.

In 2004, Brad Miner wrote a non-partisan though deeply traditional interpretation of heroic manliness entitled The Compleat Gentleman: The Modern Man’s Guide to Chivalry. It is assiduously researched, soul inspiring, and quite literally a call to arms. Miner and his sons are all practicing martial artists, and he sees physical prowess and being “combat ready” as intrinsic qualities of any gentleman, who by definition is prepared to summon the courage to confront evil and to sacrifice himself for others.

Having recently discovered the book, I was immediately curious what relevance it may still hold to any but that small minority that binge-watches Game of Thrones on Saturday night and then attends services the following morning. Wouldn’t new cultural concerns, such the rise of social media, with its fake news and public shaming; #MeToo, the wage gap, and equity across the gender spectrum; free speech vs. punch-a-Nazi (that’s anyone who disagrees with you); and the teaching of white privilege/supremacy/colonialization made notions of gentlemanliness and chivalry more antiquated than ever?

I reached out to Mr. Miner and found that, like any true traditionalist, he hadn’t changed much, even if the world around him has.

* * *

Fourteen years after The Compleat Gentleman, has the call for chivalry and gentlemanliness become hopelessly quixotic, or is it needed now more than ever?

Brad Miner: Early on in the book I acknowledge that there is a quixotic character about all this, but I also assert that it has always been so. Thoreau, who is among America’s most overrated icons (only slightly less odious than his buddy Emerson), wrote that “the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.” Maybe so, although I doubt it. But few are, or ever were, chivalrous. They may have intelligence, good manners, and humor — and those are fine qualities — but few will be willing to lay down their lives for others.

Increasingly, the active life is succumbing to the passive life. Social bonds are weakening, military enlistments are declining. If the trend of turning inward continues, we will be a diminished people. However, there will always be men — and women — who will seeks something better, higher, and more fulfilling.

So much has changed since the book came out. If you were to sit down and write the book today, how would all the social changes affect your thinking on chivalry and the role of the contemporary gentleman?

BM: Well, as to what I might change, the answer is nothing. The point of my book was to identify the aspects of chivalric and gentlemanly behavior that are not rooted in any particular time and place; that, with allowances for cultural change, are the same in 2018 as they were in 1118.

You’ve said our current president is much closer to a cad than a gentleman, and many think he’s far worse than that. Likewise, #TimesUp and #MeToo are exposing the worst side of male behavior. We seem to be in an indeterminate state in which there are shreds of the old chivalry but not enough to exert the controlling influence on men’s baser behaviors that it used to help curtail, and an imagined future of gender equity in which men no longer behave badly. Can you comment on this current limbo-like state?

BM: We’re not in “limbo” any more than in any previous moment in history. It’s our perennial existential predicament. If there is a difference between now and a time when chivalry was assumed to be among humanity’s highest ideals, it’s that in those other eras many men aspired to be chivalrous; now far fewer do. But never believe that chivalrous men were ever more than a minority. It takes courage to be a compleat gentlemen, because it is always countercultural. As Chesterton wrote, there are an infinity of angles at which a man falls; only one at which he stands upright.

In your book you describe the compleat gentleman as always combat-ready and physically able and willing to defend good against evil. How would you update your assessment of this in this age of polarized self-righteousness when who the bad guys are has become more subjective than ever. Could your views about “be ready to defend against evil” be misinterpreted?

BM: It’s true that chivalry is above all the worldview of fighting men. In my book, however, I acknowledge that not all compleat gentlemen are necessarily combat-ready. There are other ways a man can fight. But as to the thuggishness to which you refer, it bears no similarity to chivalry, given that in the incidents of violence by fascists right and left of which I’m aware, seem, in every case, to be expressions of cowardice.

As to my words being misinterpreted, that goes with the business of writing. And, as Antonio tells Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice, “The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

The current state of boys and young men continues to be troubling. They exhibit far more social pathologies than girls and far underperform in scholastic achievement, including college enrollment. The right says our culture has become too feminized, while the left says antiquated “toxic” ideas about masculinity are the problem. What are your thoughts?

BM: Any man – from his teens into his thirties – who succumbs to “feminization” deserves his fate. I’m neither a psychologist nor a sociologist, but if I were assigning a bird-dog researcher to nose out an answer, I first give him the scent of passivity. That’s a good place to start in the matter of violence too. Many boys now come through American schools being taught that their masculinity is toxic. It’s up to parents, fathers especially, to reject this. I think it’s entirely compatible with the development of young, chivalrous men that they should learn to smile through the stupidity – to listen to the nonsense and to reject it without engaging in too much confrontation. Take what is good; reject what is bad.

I write a lot about restraint in The Compleat Gentleman, even calling it the great “lost virtue.” Martial skills, sports, hobbies, reading that challenges the mind, lively conversation, and lasting friendships will sustain a young man through good times and bad. And I’d be remiss if I did not suggest that religious faith is also very important.

Third-wave feminism has also advanced significantly, aided by social media. And yet there are reports that anxiety and neurosis among young women is at a record high. How would you characterize the trade-offs we’re seeing as the old patriarchy and its courtesies continues to evaporate, replaced by a kind of bureaucratic chaperone chivalry (affirmative consent, chaperones during male-female business meetings) in the guise of gender equality?

BM: I must say this is the first time I’ve encountered the term “chaperone chivalry.” It’s an interesting turn of phrase, except I’m unclear what you mean by it. In my chapter on “The Lover,” I did my best to think through the implications of the obvious and ongoing changes in the relationship between the sexes. It’s clear to me that feminism has been good for some women – perhaps most – and bad for others. It’s also clear that sex roles have changed, for good or for ill. But it’s also clear that there are two sexes and that they are different. If feminists of whatever wave wish not to acknowledge those differences and, therefore, to reject the deference and support of good men, that’s their right.

Besides the cliché of being a doorman whenever a lady is near, what are things that a man can start doing right now to make himself more gentlemanly and chivalrous?

BM: He should stop thinking so much about himself. He should drop to one knee and thank God for giving him life, and he should swear never to act dishonorably.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Queen's corgis are dead / VIDEO: Queen Elizabeth and Her Royal Corgis | Country Living

The Queen's corgis are dead: long live the 'dorgis'
Willow’s death marks first time the monarch has not owned a corgi since the second world war

Martin Belam and agencies
Wed 18 Apr 2018 11.24 BST Last modified on Wed 18 Apr 2018 11.39 BST

The Queen’s last remaining corgi has died, it has been reported. Willow, who was almost 15, was put down after suffering from cancer, making it the first time the monarch has not owned a corgi since the end of the second world war.

Willow was the 14th generation descended from Susan, a corgi gifted to the then Princess Elizabeth on her 18th birthday in 1944. The Queen has owned more than 30 dogs of the breed during her reign.

It was reported in 2015 that the Queen had stopped breeding corgis because she did not want to leave any behind after she died.

She still has two dogs, Vulcan and Candy, which are informally known as “dorgis” – a cross-breed between a dachshund and a corgi introduced to the royal household when Princess Margaret’s dachshund Pipkin mated with one of the Queen’s dogs.

Vulcan and Candy appeared alongside Willow on the front cover of Vanity Fair in 2016, shot by Annie Leibovitz to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Willow was the last surviving corgi to have appeared alongside the Queen and the actor Daniel Craig in the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony James Bond sketch. Willow, Monty and Holly had greeted the secret agent as he arrived at the palace to accept a mission from the Queen.
The dogs ran down the stairs, performed tummy rolls and then stood as a helicopter took off for the Olympic stadium, carrying Bond and a stunt double of the Queen. Monty died a couple of months after the sketch was filmed, and Holly was put down in 2016.

Buckingham Palace has declined to comment on Willow’s death, saying it is a private matter.

The Queen has been very fond of corgis since she was a small child, having fallen in love with the corgis owned by the children of the Marquess of Bath. King George VI brought home Dookie in 1933. A photograph from George VI's photo album shows a ten-year-old Elizabeth with Dookie at Balmoral. Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret would feed Dookie by hand from a dish held by a footman. The other early favourite corgi during the same time was Jane.

Elizabeth II's mother, at that time Queen Elizabeth, introduced a disciplined regimen for the dogs; each was to have its own wicker basket, raised above the floor to avoid drafts. Meals were served for each dog in its own dish, the diet approved by veterinary experts with no tidbits from the royal table. A proprietary brand of meat dog biscuits was served in the morning, while the late afternoon meal consisted of dog meal with gravy. Extra biscuits were handed out for celebrations and rewards.

Crackers (24 December 1939, Windsor – November, 1953) was one of the Queen Mother's corgis, and nearly a constant companion; he retired with the Queen Mother to the Castle of Mey in Scotland. In 1944, Elizabeth was given Susan as a gift on her 18th birthday. Susan accompanied Elizabeth on her honeymoon in 1947. The corgis owned by the Queen are descended from Susan. Rozavel Sue, daughter of Rozavel Lucky Strike, an international champion, was one of the Queen's corgis in the early 1950s.

The Queen has owned over thirty corgis since her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms in 1952.

The Queen's fondness for corgis and horses is known even in places such as Grand Cayman; when Elizabeth and Prince Philip visited the island in 1983, government officials gave her black coral sculptures of a corgi and a horse as a gift, both made by Bernard Passman.

Sugar was the nursery pet of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. In 1955, her pups, Whisky and Sherry, were surprise Christmas gifts from the Queen to the Prince and Princess. Pictured with the royal family, the corgi Sugar made the cover of The Australian Women's Weekly on 10 June 1959. Sugar's twin, Honey, belonged to the Queen Mother; Honey took midday runs with Johnny and Pippin, Princess Margaret's corgis, while the Princess lived in Buckingham Palace. Heather was born in 1962 and became one of the Queen's favourites. Heather was the mother of Tiny, Bushy, and Foxy; Foxy gave birth to Brush in 1969.

The corgis enjoy a privileged life in Buckingham Palace. They reside in the Corgi Room, and continue to sleep in elevated wicker baskets. The Queen tends to the corgis in her kennel herself. She also chooses the sires of litters that are bred in her kennel. The corgis have an extensive menu at the palace which includes fresh rabbit and beef, served by a gourmet chef. At Christmas, the Queen makes stockings for pets full of toys and delicacies such as biscuits. In 1999, one of Queen Elizabeth's royal footmen was demoted from Buckingham Palace for his "party trick of pouring booze into the corgis' food and water" and watching them "staggering about" with relish.

In 2007, the Queen was noted to have five corgis, Monty, Emma, Linnet, Willow, and Holly; five cocker spaniels, Bisto, Oxo, Flash, Spick, and Span; and four "dorgis" (dachshund-corgi crossbreeds), Cider, Berry, Vulcan, and Candy. In 2012, Queen Elizabeth II's corgis Monty, Willow, and Holly appeared during the brief James Bond sketch when Daniel Craig arrived at Buckingham Palace for a mission to take the queen to the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony. Monty, who had previously belonged to the Queen Mother, and one of her "Dorgis" died in September 2012. Monty had been named for the horse whisperer and friend of the queen, Monty Roberts. As of November 2012, it was reported that Elizabeth owns two corgis, Willow and Holly, and two Dorgis, Candy and Vulcan. It was reported in July 2015 that the Queen has stopped breeding corgis as she does not wish any to survive her in the event of her death. Monty Roberts had urged Elizabeth to breed more corgis in 2012 but she had told him that she "didn't want to leave any young dog behind" and wanted to put an end to the practice.

The dogs have traditionally been buried at the royal residence, Sandringham estate in Norfolk, at which they died. The graveyard was first used by Queen Victoria when her Collie, Noble, died in 1887. In 1959, the Queen used it to bury Susan, creating a cemetery for her pets.However, Monty was buried in Balmoral estate.

On several occasions, the Queen or her staff have been injured by the corgis. In 1954, the Royal Clockwinder, Leonard Hubbard, was bitten by Susan upon entering the nursery at the Royal Lodge, Windsor. Later in the same year, one of the Queen Mother's corgis bit a policeman on guard duty in London.

In 1968, Peter Doig called for the royal staff to put up a "Beware of the dog" sign at Balmoral after one of the corgis bit the postman. In February 1989, it was reported that the royal family had hired an animal psychologist to tame the dogs after they developed a habit of nipping them and the staff. In March 1991, the Queen was bitten after trying to break up a fight between ten or so of her corgis. She had to have three stitches to her left hand. John Collins, the Queen Mother's chauffeur, had to have a tetanus injection after he also tried to intervene. In 2003, Pharos, a tenth-generation offspring of Susan, was put down after being mauled by Princess Anne's English bull terrier Dottie. Anne arrived at Sandringham to visit her mother for Christmas and the corgis rushed out of the front door as they arrived. It was reported that "Dottie went for Pharos, savaging the corgi's hind legs and breaking one in three places."

The royal corgis are known all across the world and are closely associated with the Queen. The corgis have had numerous items dedicated to them, in particular being the subject of many statues and works of art. Because of the Queen's fondness for the Welsh Corgi, an increased number of corgis were exhibited in the 1954 West Australian Canine Association's Royal Show.Queen Elizabeth II’s crown coin KM# 1135, made of copper nickel of size 33 mm, issued during her Golden Jubilee year, shows the Queen with a corgi.

Monday, 16 April 2018

Remembering The King Who Invented Ballet, BBC4 / VIDEO: BBC The King Who Invented Ballet

The King Who Invented Ballet, BBC Four
David Bintley takes a look at Louis XIV's impact on classical dance
September 2015 marks the 300th anniversary of the death of King Louis XIV of France and this documentary looks at how Louis XIV not only had a personal passion and talent for dance, but supported and promoted key innovations, like the invention of dance notation and the founding of the world's first ballet school, that would lay the foundations for classical ballet to develop.
Presented by David Bintley, choreographer and director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the documentary charts how Louis encouraged the early evolution of ballet - from a male-dominated performance exclusive to the royal court to a professional artform for the public featuring the first female star ballerinas. The film also looks at the social context of dance during Louis XIV's reign, where ballets were used as propaganda and to be able to dance was an essential skill that anyone noble had to have.
As well as specially shot baroque dance sequences and groundbreaking recreations of 17th-century music, it also follows Bintley as he creates an exciting new one-act ballet inspired by Louis XIV. Danced by 15 members of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, The King Dances features an original score by composer Stephen Montague, designs by Katrina Lindsay and lighting by Peter Mumford and receives its world premiere on television directly after the documentary.

Louis XIV, the King of France from 1643 to 1715, was a ballet enthusiast from a young age. In fact his birth was celebrated with the Ballet de la Felicite in 1639. As a young boy, he was strongly supported and encouraged by the court, particularly by Italian-born Cardinal Mazarin, to take part in the ballets. He made his debut at age 13 in the "Ballet de Cassandre" in 1651. Two years later in 1653, the teenage king starred as Apollo, the sun god, in The Ballet of the Night or in French, Le Ballet de la Nuit. His influence on the art form and its influence on him became apparent. His fancy golden costume was not soon forgotten, and his famous performance led to his nickname, the Sun King. In the ballet, he banishes the night terrors as he rise as sun at dawn. His courtiers were forced to worship him like a god through choreography. They were made clear of the glory of King Louis XIV and that he had absolute authority both on and off the dance floor. The ballets that young King Louis performed in were very different from ballets performed today. The form of entertainment was actually called ballets d’entrées. This refers to the small divisions, or “entries,” that the ballets were broken up into. For example, Le Ballet de la Nuit, comprised over forty of such entries, which were divided into four vigils or parts. The whole spectacle lasted 12 hours.

Throughout his reign, Louis XIV worked with many influential people in his court dances. He worked alongside poet Isaac de Benserade, as well as designers Torelli, Vigarani and Henry de Gissey, which made fashion and dance closely interlinked. Possibly his greatest contribution to the French court was bringing composer/dancer Jean-Baptiste Lully. Louis supported and encouraged performances in his court as well as the development of ballet throughout France. Louis XIV was trained by Pierre Beauchamp. The King demonstrated his belief in strong technique when he founded the Académie Royale de Danse in 1661 and made Beauchamp leading ballet master. King Louis XIV’s and France’s attempt to keep French ballet standards high was only encouraged further when in 1672 a dance school was attached to the Académie Royale de Musique. Led by Jean-Baptiste Lully, this dancing group is known today as The Paris Opera Ballet.

The king was very exacting in his behavior towards his dancing. In fact, he made it a daily practice to have a ballet lesson every day after his morning riding lesson. As the French people watched and took note of what their leader was doing, dancing became an essential accomplishment for every gentleman. Clearly ballet became a way of life for those who were around King Louis XIV. If one looked at the culture of seventeenth-century France, one saw a reflection of an organized ballet that was choreographed beautifully, costumed appropriately, and performed with perfect precision.[according to whom?] Louis XIV retired from ballet in 1670.

Jean-Baptiste Lully
Perhaps one of the most influential men on ballet during the seventeenth century was Jean Baptiste Lully. Lully was born in Italy, but moved to France where he quickly became a favorite of Louis XIV and performed alongside the king in many ballets until the king’s retirement from dance in 1670. He moved from dancer for the court ballets to a composer of such music used in the courts. By the time he was thirty, Lully was completely in charge of all the musical activities in the French courts. Lully was responsible for enlivening the rather slow stately dances of the court ballets.[3] He decided to put female dancers on stage and was also director of the Académie Royale de Musique. This company's dance school still exists today as part of the Paris Opera Ballet. Since dancers appeared in the very first performances the Opera put on, the Paris Opera Ballet is considered the world’s oldest ballet company. When Lully died in 1687 from a gangrenous abscess on the foot which developed after he stuck himself with the long staff he used for conducting, France lost one of the most influential conductors and composers of the seventeenth century. However, Lully did not work alone. In fact, he often worked in collaboration with two other men that were equally influential to ballet and the French culture: Pierre Beauchamps and Molière.

Pierre Beauchamps
Beauchamps was a ballet-master who was deeply involved with the creation of courtly ballets in the 1650s and 1660s.However, Beauchamps began his career as the personal teacher to Louis XIV. Beauchamps is also credited with coming up with the five fundamental foot positions from which all balletic movements move through. Beauchamps techniques were taught throughout France in secondary schools as well as by private teachers.[5] Contemporary dancers would astonish Beauchamps at their ability to have 180-degree turnout. Beauchamps dancers wore high-heeled shoes and bulky costumes which made turnout difficult and slight. One of the first things that Lully and Beauchamps worked together on was Les Fêtes de l’Amour et de Bacchus, which they called opéra-ballet. The opéra-ballet is a form of lyric theatre in which singing and dancing were presented as equal partners in lavish and spectacular stagings. The Les Fêtes de l’Amour et de Bacchus, one of their first and most famous collaborations, consisted of excerpts from court ballets linked by new entrées stages by Beauchamps. Customarily, King Louis and courtiers danced in the court ballets; however, in this new form of entertainment, the opéra-ballet, all of the dancers were professionals. Beauchamps not only collaborated with Lully, but he also had the great privilege to partner with Molière during his lifetime.

Beauchamps also originated the Beauchamp-Feuillet notation, which provided detailed indications of the tract of a dance and the related footwork. Starting in 1700, hundreds of social and theatrical dances were recorded and widely published in this form. Although this has been superseded in modern times by even more expressive notations, the notation is sufficiently detailed that, along with contemporary dancing manuals, these dances can be reconstructed today.

Molière was a well-known comedic playwright during that time period. He and Beauchamps collaborated for the first time in 1661, which resulted in the invention of comédie-ballet. His invention of comedies-ballets was said to be an accident. He was invited to set both a play and court ballet in honor of Louis XIV, but was short of dancers and decided to combined the two productions together. This resulted in Les Facheux in 1661. This and the following comédie-ballets were considered the most important advance in baroque dance since the development of Renaissance geometric figures.[6] One of the most famous of these types of performances was Le Bourgeois gentilhomme, which is still performed today and continues to entertain audiences.[1] The idea behind a comédie-ballet was a combination of spoken scenes separated by balletic interludes; it is the roots for today’s musical theatre. Many of Molière's ballets were performed by Louis XIV. According to Susan Au, the king's farewell performance was Molière's Les Amants magnifiques in 1670. Not only were these types of performances popular in the courts, but they helped transition from courtiers being the dancers to using actors and professional dancers, soon to be known as ballerinas.[1] The comédie-ballets helped to bring understanding between the court and the commoners as the transition from court ballets to a more common place ballet occurred.

With Molière writing the dialogue and directing, Beauchamps choreographing the ballet interludes, and Lully composing the music and overseeing the coming together of all the dancers and actors, these three giants of men worked together to create many beautiful pieces of art for King Louis XIV.

Ballet originated in the Italian Renaissance courts of the 15th and 16th centuries before it had spread from Italy to France by an Italian aristocrat, Catherine de' Medici, who became Queen of France. In France, ballet developed even further under her aristocratic influence. The dancers in these early court ballets were mostly noble amateurs. Ballets in this period were lengthy and elaborate and often served a political purpose. The monarch displayed the country's wealth through the elaborate performances' power and magnificence. Ornamented costumes were meant to impress viewers, but they restricted performers' freedom of movement.

The ballets were performed in large chambers with viewers on three sides. The implementation of the proscenium arch from 1618 on distanced performers from audience members, who could then better view and appreciate the technical feats of the professional dancers in the productions.

French court ballet reached its height under the reign of King Louis XIV. Known as the Sun King, Louis symbolized the brilliance and splendor of France. Influenced by his eager participation in court ballets since early childhood, Louis founded the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Dance Academy) in 1661 to establish standards and certify dance instructors. In 1672, Louis XIV made Jean-Baptiste Lully the director of the Académie Royale de Musique (Paris Opera) from which the first professional ballet company, the Paris Opera Ballet, arose. Lully is considered the most important composer of music for ballets de cour and instrumental to the development of the form. Pierre Beauchamp served as Lully's ballet-master, the most important position of artistic authority and power for the companies during this century. Together their partnership would drastically influence the development of ballet, as evidenced by the credit given to them for the creation of the five major positions of the feet. The years following the 1661 creation of the Académie Royale de Danse shaped the future of ballet, as it became more evident to those in the French Nobility that there was a significant need for trained professional dancers. By 1681, the first of those who would now be called "ballerinas" took the stage following years of training at the Académie, influenced by the early beginnings of codified technique taught there.

The King Who Invented Ballet, BBC4
The programme is riveting, blending monstrous extravagance and social history
Martin Hoyle SEPTEMBER 11, 2015

Louis XIV may not have created ballet, admits David Bintley of the Birmingham Royal Ballet, but he was ballet’s first icon, as The King Who Invented Ballet (Sunday, BBC4 8pm) explains. Louis loved to dance, and his nickname “le Roi Soleil” seemed assured when as a 14-year-old the monarch appeared at the climax of a 13-hour spectacle, dazzling in gold, representing the sun dispersing the night’s blackness.

Follow that. And he did, creating the Grand Siècle which saw France’s apogee, its acknowledged greatness — but also bankruptcy, a legacy that would destroy his descendants.

Other creations included the Académie Royale de Danse and the school of the Ballet de l’Opéra where students still bow and curtsy to adults by royal decree.

The king gave up dancing after 75 roles in court spectacles but his influence continued and ballet spread to public theatres, with women also taking part. Above all, Louis established a style of grace and nobility, epitomised by the famous portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud in which the king is in fourth position, one leg forward, toes turned out.

Bintley was starstruck by Louis as a boy and his film combines history, dance, spectacle — a beautiful book of costume designs for his famous 13-hour allegory shows werewolves, an anthropomorphic chessboard, fantastics and grotesques — and music: years of research and informed guesswork are used to recreate the original orchestration for a recording. Locations include Versailles, Paris and Birmingham, where Bintley prepares his new ballet, The King Dances, inspired by Louis’ apotheosis as Sun King.

The programme is riveting, blending as it does politics and culture, monstrous extravagance and social history. It leads into a complete performance of Bintley’s ballet, whose premiere was greeted with a mixed reception in June. But some aspects — lighting ranging from Stygian to dazzling; Stephen Montague’s score easily combining baroque and modern — work especially well on TV.