Monday, 21 February 2011

There be dragons.....

We've been to London twice in one week!  The first time was to go to the preview of an exhibition by a very old friend of mine - Romi Behrens.  The gallery is in Bury Street just behind the Ritz and it was lovely to see Romi and her family - we normally only see them down in Cornwall.

Here is Romi in the middle with her son Peter - it was so crowded that it was very difficult to get a decent photograph - I took this from the gallery.
Wonderfully colourful and joyous pictures.  I am pleased to say that we do have some of her paintings - she did a marvellous portrait of George some years ago and she painted me recently but she won't part with the picture! Just as well really as it is lifesize and goodness knows where we would put it!   Anyway, I do hope that she does well with her exhibition - there were certainly crowds of people there and we were very happy to be there.
As we walked back to Piccadilly station we passed the windows in Fortnum and Mason - a butterfly

 theme - absolutely delightful.  I haven't been in London at night  for ages and I found it so exhilarating. 
 But, as usual, it was lovely to get back home!   And then again yesterday we were just having our  mid-morning coffee and I suddenly remembered that 'Threads of Feeling' at the Foundling Hospital was going to finish in a week's time.  So we dashed off down to London again - as it was Sunday we could take the car in easily.   It is an amazing exhibition, very moving.  Scraps of fabric dating from 1740 when the Foundling Hospital opened and these small tokens were left with babies to identify them should the mother ever be able to return and claim her child.  There are over 5,000 swatches of fabric - making it the largest collection in the world of 18th century textiles.  The notes left with them are very poignant too.  There are so many untold  tragedies on those pages.

We were very fortunate in that there was an afternoon concert by the Chiltern Trio and so we sat and enjoyed some very charming Brahms and Mozart.  There is an interesting art collection and memorabilia from Hogarth and Handel who were both governors of the hospital - in fact, Handel left the manuscript of The Messiah to them.  And a splendid installation by VV Rouleaux who were one of the sponsors.

I had an ulterior motive in wanting to go there - I have a sneaking feeling that my great, great, great, great grandfather may have been a foundling.  His name ( and that of all the other greats ) was Lucking Capper Tavener.  Not exactly a usual name.   I've traced them all back but at the end of the 1700's the trail stops.  I have it in my mind that it was a 'made up' name such as was given to some of the orphans when they had run out of  ideas.   However, I soon discovered that the archives are not held there and I have to go to the London Metropolital Archives - so that may well be the next trip to the big city.
 In  January I wrote about the little teacosy cottage visible at the far end of our garden which was being re-thatched.  I ventured out into the garden one day last week and lo and behold -

There is a dragon on the roof!  At least, I think it is a dragon although it might be a stork.  I like to think it is a dragon and will keep the witches away.  It looks lovely and, as you can see, there was hardly a cloud in the sky that day.


  1. Good luck in tracking Lucking Capper Tavener... what a super name! That dragon is fabulous!

  2. Just to let you know I've recently been researching my family tree and I also have a Lucking Capper Taverner! He was born around 1800 and was the son of Jeremiah.

  3. Jane, Jane - how exciting is that! Please do get in touch with me - you've obviously found the missing link!