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Friday, 1 March 2019

Thomas Dudgeon and his Scottish Dioramas (13)


Featuring  The Royal Diorama of Scotland and Birrell's Grand Diorama of Scotland


Brodick Castle Arran Marine Waterfront, 1878. Thomas Dudgeon. An example of Thomas's paintings in Scotland.

 Neil (my husband) has been researching Scottish history, and my Mother's family history for over 30 years. He also has a of of Scottish blood running through his veins. A labour of love I guess you could say. When I started collating the mountain of Neil's research on Thomas Dudgeon, and then commenced writing this story, I realised just how much Thomas's extensive talent as a Landscape and  Scenic artist were showcased and publicly appreciated during the 1800's.  I was rather daunted by the task of writing about his accomplishments as I'm not an artist and honestly dear reader, at one stage I felt quite overawed when I realised how much he must have travelled and how hard he worked to achieve what he did, and provide for a family. I also thought that writing this story may become a bit laborious, however to the contrary I have really enjoyed delving into the many stories surrounding Thomas and his family (my ancestors).  I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I have enjoyed writing it, and as much as Neil  has enjoyed researching it. As I write this, the research continues.

Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond from Mt. Misery 1878, Thomas Dudgeon. An example of  Thomas's Scottish paintings
Maybe TD (Thomas Dudgeon) had a clone, however he did have assistants and these artists were vital  to the enormous creative output he achieved. He became highly acclaimed for his work on The Irish Dioramas (Corry), the Royal Diorama of Scotland (Birrell & Lamb), and the Great Diorama of Scotland (Birrell) and  these are what I am exploring now. However all of his other landscape paintings are still sought after by collectors. The two TD paintings displayed above were acquired by a wonderful woman named Mary, and on her blog, "Lost Vaudeville" Mary describes how much she admires Scottish landscape paintings and how she was thrilled to acquire two of Thomas Dudgeon's Scottish paintings:-

"Many of his artworks seem to tell a story, or have figures featured in them going about their daily lives in the 19th century". 

So what was a Diorama? This successful concept was invented by Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre in collaboration with Charles Marie Bouton. Movement of the painted scenes was the difference between a Diorama and the usual still exhibition of Panoramas. The use of large transparent paintings and the clever manipulation of coloured screens and various shutters, so that the direction of light could be controlled,  meant the scenes could be illuminated from behind or in front, or to just one part of the picture, enabling various effects and transformations to be achieved. (Barnes, John, 1967.) The subjects of the dioramas were generally landscapes and architectural views, which were Thomas Dudgeon's forte, and why he was commissioned to paint many of the scenes for the Scottish and Irish Dioramas. When the Dioramas were first opened by Daguerre and Bouton in Paris in 1822 and in London in 1823, buildings were specially designed to accommodate them. However as Dioramas became more popular and started touring, many buildings were modified  as the Diorama exhibition developed into a show with spectacular music and entertainment, prize givings and lectures.

Christmas time is traditionally Pantomime time in the UK, and at the beginning of December 1867, in Glasgow, Scotland at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Mr. Davis has produced his first pantomime, called "Harlequin Graceful, or the Fair One with the Golden Locks". The scenery was painted by our Thomas Dudgeon, Mr. Toland, and assistants. The first painted scene announced: "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year" with a painting of Father Christmas with a long white beard, and surrounded by Christmas good cheer. The entire pantomime was very favourably reviewed in the newspapers. (Glasgow Herald, Dec. 10, 1867.) This was probably the last work TD completed in Glasgow and indeed Scotland for a while as his adventures now take us to Ireland.
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My Great Grandmother,  Ellen Stella Fawcett Douglas Dudgeon, (Granny) was born in Belfast, Antrim, Ireland on the 3rd February, 1868. Thomas Dudgeon, Esq. and Agnes Dudgeon were her parents. I  need to weave Granny's story into Thomas's life now, as she is intrinsic to a lot of his activities and who he was.

In April 1868,  two months after Ellen Stella's birth, The Belfast Newsletter wrote:
There is at present being painted in this town by well-known artistes a diorama of Scotland, principally illustrative of Queen Victoria's visits. It is being executed on a grand scale; and, when painted, will form a series of the finest and most interesting views of Scottish towns and scenery ever executed."

Then in 1869, Thomas is engaged in the production of  an entirely new diorama of Irish scenery for Dr. Corry . By November 1869, the Diorama was almost entirely finished and ready for exhibition in the Victoria Hall in December. For my full story of the Irish Diorama that I wrote in Post 12, click here.

"THE CHARGE OF ARSON AGAINST A PUBLICAN", 1870

It's January 1870, and Thomas and his family are still living in Belfast. This is  confirmed by the account  of an arson court case involving  Mrs. Bingham, a publican, at which Ellen Stella's mother, Agnes Dudgeon, was a witness. Mr. Harriet Bingham, publican, Pilot Street, was brought up on a summons, on remand, charging her, on the complaint of Sub-Inspector French, with having, on the 13th January, 1869, unlawfully and maliciously setting fire to her house with intent to defraud the Scottish Fire Insurance Company. Sub-Inspector French was present, and Mr. Harper appeared for the defence.

The following is an extract from that court case, printed in the Belfast Newsletter, on May 7, 1870.

"Agnes Dudgeon, examined by Mr. McLean - I live in 18 Copeland Street. My husband's name is Thomas Dudgeon. He is an artist. We have been in this country for about two years. In the latter end of August I went with my husband and family to lodge with Mrs. Bingham. We had two rooms and a drawing-room.We left early in December. About a fortnight or three weeks before we left the house she borrowed a wedding ring, a keeper, five sheets, a vest of my husband's,  three volumes of the History of Scotland, a jacket of my own, and two wrappers belonging to baby. Her niece took them to the pawn. I relieved the ring, but have not got the other things since. I asked her for them several times, but she put it off, and never gave me them." The baby was Ellen Stella.

  I think it is interesting that three volumes of the History of Scotland were included in the possessions that were "borrowed". I know that these would have been treasured by Thomas and essential to his research and preparation for painting the Scottish Diorama.What a loss. Agnes's testimony at the court case then recollects that whilst she was there, a little boy brought a policy of insurance. Mrs. Bingham said she might burn the house as soon as she liked, but she then said that was a joke. Agnes then said You must not burn Mr. Dudgeon's box, to which Mrs' Bingham replied that if she did she would pay her for it. Agnes replied,  "I would never be able to get out with the children. " This is an important piece of information as it proves that there were two children living with Agnes and Thomas at the time of the court case, Ellen Stella Dudgeon, and Agnes McIndoe Plunkett, her first born daughter by Capt. James Plunkett. If you would like to read the full story I have written about Capt. James Plunkett, please click here.

Agnes continued to testify in court that:- When Mrs. Bingham, James Moore, and I were in the kitchen some one said I should have a burned chemise. Mr. Moore then went out, and Mrs. Bingham said to me, "Mrs. Dudgeon, it was all a bit of fun." I said, "Mr Dudgeon and the children would not get out." and Mr. Moore said in Mrs. Bingham's presence, "There will be a fire escape." Mr. Moore kept a public house near Mrs. Bingham's house. Agnes replied to Mr. O'Donnell, My husband was at work. To Mr. McLean - When I left the house I left my eldest little girl [Annie] behind me. The morning after that conversation Mr. Moore brought the child to my new lodgings, at my request. I went back many times to Mrs. Bingham's after I left. The drawing-room was not so well furnished as it had been. The pictures were gone, and also the window-blinds. I was in Mrs. Bingham's bed-room, and it was the same as when I left. 
To Mr. Harper - The conversation I refer to about the burning took place when the policy came in, that was in October. Mr. Moore read the policy. She did not pay much attention to me since the fire. A detective officer was at my house only once. I have no expectation of getting payment. (Belfast Newsletter, May 7, 1870.)

On May 26th, 1870, the Belfast Newsletter  reported again on the case against Mrs. Bingham on the Charge of attempting to defraud an Insurance Company by setting fire to her house. The time frames provided by the court case have been very useful in identifying where the Dudgeon family was living at that time, and the list of contents "borrowed" is also relevant. However Mrs. Bingham, guilty or not was actually acquitted by the judge of the charge of arson, as she and her two children and her two nieces scantily dressed in night attire were rescued from the fire though the window of the premises.

One newspaper report says that on Wednesday night at 41 Pilot Street, Sub-Constables Martin and Geddes, while on duty in Pilot Street, saw smoke billowing out of the house of Mrs. Harriett Bingham. They placed a ladder against the side of the house, and searched for any occupants. They found them asleep in bed in an upper room, unaware of the fire in the house. They were brought down the ladder and taken to a neighbours house. Five lives were saved thanks to the police.The fire brigade arrived in half an hour.  Mrs. Bingham then asked James Henry, a junior Accountant, to write to the editor of the Belfast Newsletter on the same day, thanking Sub-Constable Robert Martin, of Dock Street Station, for risking his life to save  her life, the lives of her two children, and her two nieces. (Belfast Newsletter, 15th January, 1870) However the court case revealed some discrepancies with this story. Thankfully though the Dudgeon family weren't in the house at the time of the fire.

The judge, Mr. O'ODonnell couldn't believe that she would run the risk of being accused of murder as well by causing a fire with her children in the house. These days there might have been a little more psychiatric intervention in that whole case to determine if Mrs. Bingham needed treatment as the conflicting testimonies were just a little bit suspicious, don't you think?

Mr. Thomas Birrell, Alexander Lamb and the Royal Diorama of Scotland

  I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Thomas Birrell,  a close business associate of Thomas Dudgeon's, and quite the entrepreneur. I was fortunate to recently find an  article written by Damien Kimberley (2016), titled The Lion Bicycle Company of Coventry and Wolverhampton.  Damien has been researching the bicycle trade in Coventry, Warwickshire, and in the process unearthed some interesting information about Thomas Birrell, who was part owner of the Royal Diorama of Scotland and also a bicycle manufacturer in Coventry and Wolverhampton.


West side of Broadgate & Cross Cheaping, c1860s
The west side of Broadgate & Cross Cheaping (Coventry, Warwickshire ), as it would have looked in Birrell's time (From Coventry Past & Passing)
 Photo courtesy of Coventry Archives.
Birrell was born at Strathaven, Lanarkshire, Scotland, in 1828 (according to the England Wales Census, 1881.) By the 1860s he was living in Belfast, Ireland, employed as a "photographic artist" and living with his Irish wife, Annie.

 'The Royal Diorama of Scotland' consisted of a series of Scottish painted scenes of famous landmarks - the work of Thomas Dudgeon (1805-1880) and assisted by J.A. Keith. The Diorama made its debut at Victoria Hall, Belfast, then onto Wellington Hall, Liverpool. Although initially managed by C.E. Rainforth, by the following year the proprietors were stated as being Thomas Birrell and Alexander Lamb.Damien Kimberley, July 2016.

So now I am sure that leading up to the birth of his daughter, Ellen Stella, in Belfast in 1868, Thomas has been working for Birrell and Lamb, painting the scenes for The Royal Diorama of Scotland, with the assistance of  Keith. The Diorama was completed and premiered in Belfast in 1868, before travelling to the United Kingdom.

The following is a timeline of where Birrell & Lamb's  Royal Scottish Diorama travelled to in the United Kingdom from 1868. It's not totally inclusive but certainly gives us an idea of the busy life experienced by those touring with the Diorama.

Liverpool, England. Thursday, 31st December, 1868 - Wellington Hall (better known as Prince Patrick Hall), Camden Street.
This was the first public exhibition of the Diorama, and a very big deal in Liverpool. The hall underwent extensive alterations for the show. Thomas Dudgeon of Glasgow,  and his assistants, were given full credit in the editorial for the magnificence of the paintings. It was logistically feasible that Liverpool was chosen as the first public performance in the UK, as the Diorama would have come over on a ship from Belfast to Liverpool.

Glasgow, Scotland. Tuesday, 13th April, 1869 - Hengler's Grand Cirque (Circus), West Nile Street, Glasgow. Hengler's Circus opened in Glasgow in 1867 on the site of the former Prince's Theatre in West Nile Street.  - This fine diorama was exhibited for the first time in the Circus, West Nile Street, last night. Painted views of the most remarkable places in Scotland, principally the work of Mr. Dudgeon.  (Excerpt from North British Daily Mail, Glasgow, in Aberdeen Free Press, 11th August, 1869.)

Glasgow, Scotland.  Tuesday, 27th April 1869 - It's been two weeks and the first Scottish exhibition of the Diorama is still showing at the Circus.
Of all the many dioramas which during the past few years have sought the patronage of the public, none better deserved it than that now exhibiting in the Circus, West Nile Street. Alike in the choice of its illustrations, and in the manner in which these illustrations have been treated, the Royal Diorama of Scotland is entitled to the highest praise.The picturesque city of Edinburgh, the busy commerce-loving Glasgow, and all the larger towns have each their due share of attention; and what is more characteristic of Scotland-its magnificent mountain, river, and lake prospects-is most admirably dealt with. (Glasgow Herald, April 27, 1869.)

On the 1st July, 1869, the boys belonging to the Industrial Brigade of Glasgow, were admitted gratis to Henglers Cirque, courtesy of Birrell & Lamb to attend the Diorama show. There were also about a thousand Sabbath school children attending as well whom  I'm sure were very well behaved, as the show was well patronised by the public as well. (Glasgow Herald, July 2nd, 1869)

Aberdeen. Tuesday, 17th August, 1869 - the Music Hall, Aberdeen, Scotland. For 2 weeks only.  The paintings executed by Thomas Dudgeon, Esq. stamp the painter as an artist of no mean order. (Aberdeen Free Press, 11th August, 1869.)

Dundee. Tuesday, 7th September, 1869 - Kinnaird Hall, Dundee. Including a view of Dundee taken from the Firth. (The Dundee Courier and Argus, Sept. 2nd, 1869.)

Edinburgh. Tuesday, 21st September-October 9th (approx.), 1869. Waterloo Rooms. The views most artistically executed by Dudgeon.( Provincial Theatricals, The Era, Oct. 10, 1869.)

Newcastle. Tuesday, 26th October, 1869. Music Hall, Nelson Street, Newcastle.  The Newcastle Courant, Friday, October 22, 1869. (Newcastle Guardian, Sat., Oct. 23rd, 1869.)

(At this point of the diorama tour, the Dundee Courier reports that the Diorama has been patronised by the Lord Provost and Magistrates of Glasgow, Perth, and Aberdeen and the Provost and Magistrates of Stirling and also by the officers of the 100th Regiment, the depot at Perth, and the Glasgow Highland Volunteers.)

Birmingham.  .......April, 1870. The Assembly Rooms.
There was an interesting letter written to the Editor of the The Era newspaper in London, on April 3rd, 1870, regarding an error the Birmingham newspaper correspondent had made. Have a read:
MR. EDITOR-Sir,-Your Birmingham correspondent has made a curious,but rather awkward blunder in noticing the Royal Diorama of Scotland, now exhibiting in this Hall. He states that it was painted by Messrs Wm. Gordon and Son, from sketches by Mr Sam Bough, A.R.S.A.. Now such is not the case. Our Diorama was painted by the veteran Thos. Dudgeon, of Glasgow, and assistants, partly from his own sketches and partly from photographs taken by our Mr. Birrell. It was first exhibited to the public on November 3d, 1868, and since then has been shown in the leading Scottish towns and cities. Yours, &c., B. and L. Sole Proprietors of the Diorama of Scotland.
There was a retraction by the Birmingham Correspondent where he said, " I was not aware that another Scotch Diorama was in the field, and the artist's names not being mentioned I concluded they were the same as noticed in the Edinburgh news of The Era of March 13th."

By 1871, Birrell is back in Scotland at Hamilton. His occupation was still the proprietor of the Diorama of Scotland and he now had two small children to care for.

1872 and the dissolution of a partnership

Thomas Birrell and Alexander Lamb were at the beginning of 1872 the joint proprietors of  the Royal Diorama of Scotland. However on July 30th, 1872, in the Partnerships Dissolved column of The London Gazette, this very important notice appeared:-

Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore existing between us the undersigned, Thomas Birrell, of Rothesay, in Scotland, but until the last few days resident in the city of Bristol, in England, and Alexander Lamb, of Glasgow, in Scotland, but until the last few days resident in the said city of Bristol, Proprietors of the Royal Diorama of Scotland (the firm being known as Birrell and Lamb, and the partnership business having for some time past and down to the 15th day of this instant June, been carried on in England), was dissolved by mutual consent, as from the said 15th day of this June instant; and notice is also hereby given, that the said Alexander Lamb will for the future be the sole proprietor of the said Royal Diorama of Scotland, and will continue the business connected with the same in England and elsewhere but will reside at Bothwell in Scotland, and will trade as Alexander Lamb, late Birrell and Lamb, on his own account, and it is requested that all debts due to the firm of Birrell and Lamb may be paid to the said Alexander Lamb, who will pay the debts due from that firm.- Dated [this 25th day of June, 1872.] Signed Thos. Birrell. Alexander Lamb.

Following the dissolution of the partnership, 40 new views for a new Scottish Diorama are being prepared by Thomas Birrell, and are to be exhibited first in Rothesay. He was spending a lot of time in a temporary shed erected at his home in  Barone Road in Rothesay, on the Isle of Bute at the entrance to  the Firth of Clyde in Scotland. One of the scenes is of Rothesay and its surroundings, taken from the centre of the Bay and yes dear reader, you guessed it, Thomas had been commissioned to do the paintings and is now working solely for Thomas Birrell.(Glasgow Herald, October 21, 1872.)

I can't find any documented evidence that Thomas and his family were living in Rothesay,  but it seems very likely that they spent the Scottish summer of 1872 there whilst Thomas worked on the Diorama. Rothesay was a popular tourist resort for Victorian day-trippers and bathers from Glasgow who could travel over there on a paddle steamer. The Comet, invented by Henry Bell,  first started operating on the River Clyde on the 10th August, 1812, and by 1872 the paddle steamers were doing a roaring trade. In this scene from a painting of the River Clyde painted by TD in 1857, paddle steamers can be clearly seen in the foreground.



Below is a photo of  three paddle steamers, the Eagle, Dunoon Castle, and Lancelot  at the Broomielaw Docks, Glasgow, taken around 1870. I would love to know if TD and his family went over to Rothesay on one of these. I think they would have.

The Eagle at the Broomielaw with Dunoon Castle and Lancelot around 1870. (Washington Wilson)
Rothesay also had a very favourable climate for those recovering from illnesses, compared to the rest of Scotland anyway.  The population of Rothesay had increased to 7,104 in 1851 with 632 houses listed. The Rev. John Wilson  observed in 1857 in the Imperial Gazeteer of Scotland, that this beautiful town boasted mansions and villas mainly built in Greenstone, belonging to the town's business class. The famous promenade and pier were built on reclaimed land from the mid-late nineteenth century, and I think they were built by 1872, as by 1882, a horse-drawn tramway was added to the promenade. By all accounts, Rothesay was a suitable city for the launch of the new Scottish Diorama and a very enjoyable place in which to live.

The Scottish Valuation Rolls for 1872-1875, record that Mr. Birrell owned two residences during those years at Rothesay, one at Barone Rd., and the other at Serpentine Road.  His residential address was Clutha Villa, Rothesay, Scotland. This photo shows how Clutha Villa looks today. The shed adjoining the house at the back may be the same one used for painting the new Diorama. Thomas, Agnes, Ellen Stella and Annie possibly lived in the house on Serpentine Road while the paintings were being completed after moving from Belfast, or perhaps they rented somewhere else on the island. It would be nice to know.

Clutha Villa, 37 Barone Road, Rothesay, Bute

The rear view of Clutha Villa
The new Scottish Diorama being painted in Rothesay was marketed as Birrell's Great Diorama of Scotland and Grand Scottish Concert Company (Title Registered), late of Birrell and Lamb's Royal Diorama of Scotland. Birrell placed  a Positions Wanted  Advertisement in The London Era newspaper, in August, 1872, calling for expressions of interest from vocalists, pipers and instrumentalists, a Mechanist, and men to work the picture and deliver the Bills who would wear Scottish Highland dress which would be provided. All these people were to form Birrell's  new Great Diorama company.  The show was to open in October 1872, presumably in Rothesay. I found it interesting that the Ad. also called for two first-class scenic artists, for three months, with travelling expenses paid for, and sobriety indispensable. Thomas Dudgeon was painting the new scenes for Birrell's Great Diorama in Rothesay, and then two scenic artists would travel with the show to repair and touch up the paintings when any damages occurred. He also asked for any Hall Keepers or Proprietors to advise when their premises would be vacant for shows.

1872 was an eventful year for Thomas Birrell, as he was also formally awarded with the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, with the Masonic Lodge. Thomas Dudgeon was also a practising Mason, having been registered as a Freemason with the St. Mark's Masonic Lodge in 1847. For the story of Thomas's life as a Mason please click here . This is in Post no. 6.

Alexander Lamb had been  touring his "Royal Diorama of Scotland" since he separated from Birrell. Ralph Hyde [2015] in his Dictionary of Panoramists of the English-Speaking World provides a concise account  of the success of the Dioramas:-
Birrell & Lamb's 'Royal Diorama of Scotland' was painted by Thomas Dudgeon. When Birrell and Lamb separated, Lamb toured the 'Royal Diorama of Scotland', whilst Birrell toured his own 'Grand Diorama of Scotland' . If you are interested take a look at the following list of when and where Lamb and Birrell toured their respective dioramas as an exhibition hall panorama, not a diorama, as listed by Hyde. The term "exhibition hall panorama" describes any moving panorama that was designed to be performed in any public place other than a theatre.
Exhibition Hall Panoramas:
(With Alexander Lamb): 'The Royal Diorama of Scotland', Edinburgh, 1869, Cheltenham, 1872, Egyptian Large Hall, Piccadilly [1873?].

 Birrell's Grand Diorama of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1872, 1887; Agricultural Hall, London, 1873; Royal Hall, St.Helier, Jersey, 1890.

1874

Birrell's newly refreshed Scottish Diorama  continued to travel throughout the British Isles, and opened at the Victoria Rooms in London in early January, 1874.

To accompany the beautiful scenic views of Bonnie Scotland, Birrell had a variety of supporting acts in his troupe - one of which was a pretty Scottish singer called Grace Wyse, who took the stage name of Griselda Weiss - the 'Scottish Nightingale'. (Damien Kimberley,  2016)
Griselda Weiss and Thomas Birrell were invited to sing at Covent Garden  whilst in London in January, 1874.

"Anything more positive as to the professional ability and reputation of these minstrels could not, we should think, be given than in the fact that Miss Griselda WEISS and Mr. Thomas BIRRELL (the enterprising proprietor) were especially engaged to sing at M RIVIERE'S promenade concert at Covent Garden on Saturday evening last, when we observe, they took a leading part in the performance, their names standing side by side with those of Mddle Carlotta PATTI, Mddle Victoria BUNSEN, and Miss Constance LESEBY. Miss WEISS has been termed "the Scottish Nightingale. (Historic Ride Society, c. 2019)

Birrell and the Scottish Nightingale inevitably became romantically attached, with his former marriage to his Irish wife Annie, falling apart. By December 1874, Birrell's Grand Diorama of Scotland  had reached the Corn Exchange, Coventry after a very successful tour. Birrell stopped touring with the Diorama for a while, and in April 1875 he became the landlord of the Coventry Cross Inn in Cross Cheaping.

The Coventry Cross Inn, Cross Cheaping, circa. 1875. (highlighted). Photo courtesy of the Coventry Archives.
This is where Thomas Dudgeon's artistic adventures with Thomas Birrell seem to cease, but not necessarily their friendship.

So what was the engaging Mr. Birrell up to now? In 1879,  Griselda Weiss had given birth to a daughter, named Margaret Griselda Birrell. The England and Wales Census records show that in 1881, Birrell was living at Tower Street, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, aged 53,  married,  and his occupation was a Concert Hall Proprietor.  However, he was also a bicycle maker in Wolverhampton, but not for long. A liquidation notice was published in the Birmingham Post of December 1882, citing that Thomas Birrell, bicycle-maker, and lessee of the Prince of Wales Concert Hall, Bilston Street, Wolverhampton, was filing a petition in the Wolverhampton County Court. The liabilities were estimated at about 3,500 pounds, and the assets at 500 pounds. Mr. Russell of (Messrs. Russell, Dickson, and Russell, accountants) was appointed receiver.

At this point I'd like to thank Damien Kimberley from Coventry,  for his exhaustive research into the business dealings of Thomas Birrell,  who had many adventures of his own, often connected to TD's adventures, and has proven to be a very interesting and enigmatic character in his own right.

By February 1884, Birrell and his company, were touring again with his own "Great Diorama of Scotland".

In 1891, The Census records register him living at Lodge Street, in Bristol, Gloucestershire, aged 63, now once again a Diorama Proprietor, and married to Griselda (transcribed as Grinelda in the FamilySearch online census). Margaret their daughter is now aged 12.

1874

Thomas Dudgeon is at work again as a Theatre painter in September 1874, but surely he has never stopped working. He is back in Paisley, at the Theatre Royal. Throughout the Summer he has been working on  decorating the stage and entire building of the the Theatre Royal, assisted by H. Smith also a scenic artist. Edmund Glover was the lessee of this great theatre. Thomas has been widely praised for painting a drop-scene for the theatre showing the River Clyde from Dalnottar Hill, and for painting a new drop curtain. Below is one of Thomas's watercolour paintings of "The Clyde from Dalnottar Hill"  dated 1876. The drop scene for the theatre would have resembled this painting. A print  of the oil painting was kindly sent to us by the Curator of British Art, Glasgow Museums Resource Centre, where the original is held. This was one of TD's favourite scenes to paint.

Watercolour entitled "The Clyde from Dalnottar Hill" by T Dudgeon, 1876
 Robert Tannahill, who founded the Paisley Burns Club,  was a well know Scottish poet born in Paisley in Castle Street on 3rd June, 1774. Tannahill also a musician, wrote "Thou Bonnie Wood of Craigielea" the tune which was later modified to become the the music for the famous Australian bush ballad "Waltzing Matilda" which is also thought of by many Aussies as being the unofficial Australian National Anthem. It's a great song that all Aussies connect with. I am quite excited to realise that during these renovations,  Thomas painted a new drop curtain in the Theatre Royal in commemoration of the centenary of Tannahill.

In the centre is a shield bearing a portrait of the poet, supported by Fame, which is heralding the praises of the bard; and on either side of the shield are views of Tannahill's well, birthplace, and several other well-known spots in Paisley. Paisley Herald, Sept. 19, 1874.

1877

Thomas obviously still had lots of work lined up. He was employed by Messrs. Strange and Wilson to paint the splendid new scenery for "A Christmas Carol", based on the Charles Dicken's Christmas tale, which started a show including various performances by Strange and Wilson's Aetherscope & Spectral Opera Company. The show opened in Nottinghamshire at the Albert Hall, on Friday, April 6th, advertised under Easter Amusements in the Nottinghamshire Guardian newspaper. Later they played at the Large Room, Guildhall, in Cambridge from 25th September, 1877 for 11 nights. (The Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal, Isle of Ely Herald, and Huntingdonshire Gazette, Sept. 22, 1877.)

If you are wondering what this entertainment entailed you might enjoy this description, which was very innovative for the day.

"By means of these optical contrivances, angels are seen floating about, and gliding through walls; human beings vanish or appear at will; demons roll in mid-air; fairy subjects dance on walls and ceilings; spectres creep up walls and gyrate in space, and rapidly dissolves into another. In fact, the whole thing, from beginning to end, is a combination of wonders not easily to be described." (The Star, August 7, 1877)

Messrs. Strange and Wilson's Aetherscope is still on tour 3 years later in June 1880, at St. Julian's Hall, Guernsey in the Channel Islands. This hall was also incidentally the meeting place for the Mariners Lodge (168). The Masonic connections continue to be evident wherever Thomas is involved. It was reported in The Star newspaper, that at the conclusion of the Carol a grand illuminated spectacle of "The crypt of the Holy Sepulchree", painted by Thomas Dudgeon, Esq., was shown.

1878

Lamb's  Royal Diorama of  Scotland is back in Belfast, Ireland entertaining large audiences at the Victoria Hall. It is still owned solely by Alexander Lamb. No doubt it was  broadcast widely that this was the last  visit of the Diorama to Belfast, before it undertook an extended colonial tour to Australia, via New Zealand. (Belfast Newsletter, Nov. 25th, 1878, p.5.) I wonder if Thomas would have been working over there as well painting new scenes and touching up the Diorama.

1879, an awful year

  In 1879, Thomas requested that Ellen Stella and her Mother come over to Belfast in Ireland to be with him. This extract from her Memoirs refers to how Granny and her Mother revisited Ireland in 1879.

"My father went to Ireland to paint an old ruin of a Norman Castle. It is the oldest, or was, ruin in the Kingdom then. It was a lovely painting. Well, while he was there he wrote and asked Mother to come and bring me too so as I could see the house and room where I was born, also the Doctor and Nurse - Dr. Corrie and Nurse Dunn and the Minister that Christened me - the Rev. Dr. Cook, so we sailed for Belfast. (Granny DeLandelles memoirs, c. 1949)

Carrickfergus Castle is an old Norman castle dating back to 1177, and could be the castle ruin that Thomas was painting. It is situated in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, on the Northern shore of Belfast Lough.  Dr. Henry Cooke had already died by the time Ellen Stella and her Mother embarked on the voyage to Belfast, so it was a bronze statue in memory of Dr. Cooke that Ellen  and her Mother went to look at. He died on Sunday, 13th December, 1868, aged 84. An obituary to this great man was printed in the Dundee Courier and Argus newspaper, on Tuesday, December 15th, 1868.  Rev. Dr. Cooke was a highly respected Presbyterian minister belonging also to the Presbyterian Branch of the Reformed Church and was also the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland. The Rev. Dr. Knox and Rev. Wm Johnston of Belfast, had been appointed by the Presbyterian General Committee after a lot of debate,  to collect subscriptions from the Presbyterian public for a  Cooke Memorial, as well as a new Assembly Hall in Belfast, as part of two separate fund raising campaigns, which were very successful. The memorial statue of Dr. Rev. Cooke can still be found in Belfast to this day.


Bronze Memorial statue of Dr. Henry Cooke (1788-1868) in Belfast
It was there in Ireland, when Granny was aged 11, that the family found that she could sing. Granny's mother Agnes, had a lovely voice and had just sung the Jewel Song from Faust when she said, "Stella will sing better than I can when she has grown more. Come and sing Stella. Sing Killarney for those nice gentlemen" (Granny DeLandelles memoirs, c. 1949). So she did. That led to Granny having singing lessons later.

 "It was very rough crossing and my Mother was very seasick an d she caught a cold from which she died 10 days later,  but she kept up for a week and we saw White Abbey and Grey Abbey and went to lots of places and met heaps of nice people". (Granny DeLandelles memoirs, c. 1949)"

In Granny's words, Agnes was very hot and coughed a lot too, and Dr. Corrie sent her to bed. The next day she was much worse, and he got a nurse for her, but the next day she was very ill and Dr. Corrie gave her a draught, and she never woke from it. Sadly,  Granny's Mother died on the 2nd November, 1879 in Kearney's Building, Ballymacarrett, Belfast. Granny was aged 11. Agnes's death had a profound effect on Thomas, which Granny says in her diary he never really recovered from.  I'll talk more about Thomas and  Ellen Stella Dudgeon in the next chapter.

1885 in New Zealand

The Royal Diorama of Scotland is now in new hands, those of Mr. Geo. Lingard. His Royal Diorama of Scotland is showing at Abbott's Opera House in Auckland, New Zealand. Grand Opening Night was October 3rd.



 In December 1885, Mr. Geo. Lingard's Royal Diorama of Scotland, had arrived in the Southland of New Zealand, at Invercargill, New Zealand's southernmost and most western city. It was a great choice of venue and sure to attract crowds as many of the early immigrants had Scottish roots. Also, during the 1880's an export industry based on butter and cheese grew, encouraging a dairy industry, and combined with a burgeoning coal and timber industry, a commercial centre was rapidly developing. The Southland Times newspaper, the daily rag of Invercargill , reported that Mr. Dudgeon who painted the series, was something more than a scenic artist, having been a landscape artist of repute. Thomas was now receiving international acclaim for his painting of the magnificent Scottish scenes comprising the Scottish Diorama, and this surely was one of his greatest achievements. Interestingly though, scenes of Aberdeen were missing from the paintings. Madame Lingard was also on tour and played the piano and accompanied the vocalists very well. It was the holiday season and the residents of Invercargill were looking forward to the show at Sloan's theatre. December 26th, 1885, was the Grand Opening Night.


Sloan's Theatre, Invercargill, 1885.
1886 in Australia

By 1886,   Lingard's Royal Scottish Diorama had travelled to Australia, or the colonies as the British loved to call Australia in those days, and some still do.  It was mentioned in Queensland newspapers in Brisbane, Ipswich and Rockhampton as touring those places. Remember I mentioned previously in my last post (12), that Thomas had embarked on painting his third and most prolific artwork, the Royal National Diorama of Scotland, whilst in Ireland, presumably from photographs which he took over with him .These paintings became the Royal Scottish Diorama, comprising 80,000 feet of moving canvas, illustrating scenes strange, wonderful and sublime. (Queensland Figaro and Punch, Brisbane, Qld., Saturday, May 22, 1886, p. 839.) The Scottish Diorama showed at the Town Hall In Brisbane on Monday 24th May, 1886, returning to triumphantly recommence with Opening Night on Boxing Day Evening at the impressive Brisbane Town Hall in 1886. The Brisbane Courier Mail promoted the Boxing Day event as Lingard's latest Pictorial Enterprise, "The Royal Diorama of Scotland and Soudan War." (The Brisbane Courier, Saturday 25th December,1886, p. 8.)

The Diorama was constantly touring as The Launceston Examiner (Tasmania) reviewed that it showed to a packed house at the Mechanics' Institute on Monday 1st February, 1886.

On 30th June, 1886, The Diorama was exhibited in the Ipswich School of Arts (Queensland) to a crowded house. In addition to the entertaining musical items described in the review in the Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, 1 July 1886,  p. 5, mention is made of the very handsome and valuable gifts that were distributed to the audience. It's no wonder then that many persons wanting to attend were actually turned away from the doors as there was no room left. Everyone likes a freebie.

The Diorama had also toured Rockhampton in October, 1886, showing at the School of Arts. Gifts given out at this spectacular event included large vases, a large lamp, a silver tea and coffee service, and a silver butter bowl. There was also a special afternoon performance for the children from the Rockhampton Orphanage. (The Morning Bulletin, Wed. October, 1886.)

Many people contributed to the success of the Scottish Diorama, and perhaps one of the most affluent and influential  investors in it's development, Thomas Birrell, died in 1887, aged 69.

I hope you enjoyed reading this story, highlighting the artistic achievements of Thomas Dudgeon.

Best wishes

Pauline

Bibliography:
  1. Belfast Newsletter, Saturday, 7th May, 1870, issue 54705
  2. Belfast Newsletter, Thursday, 26th May, 1870, issue 54722
  3. Belfast Newsletter, Saturday, 20th April, 1868, issue 34128
  4. Belfast Newsletter, Saturday, 15th January, 1870, issue 54610
  5. Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday, November 9th, 1869, issue 54553
  6. The Dundee Courier and Argus, Tuesday, 15th December, 1868
  7. Liverpool Mercury, Thursday,  31st Dec, 1868, issue 6531
  8. Glasgow Herald, Tuesday, 10th December, 1867, issue 8715
  9. Glasgow Herald, Tuesday, 27th April, 1869, issue 9147
  10. Glasgow Herald, Friday, 2nd July, 1869, issue 9203
  11. Aberdeen Free Press, Wednesday, 11th August, 1869
  12. Paisley Herald & Renfrewshire Advertiser, 19th September, 1874
  13. Belfast Newsletter, Monday, 25th November, 1878
  14. Local failures. Birmingham Post, December 1882
  15. Granny DeLandelles memoirs, c. 1949
  16. Queensland Figaro and Punch, Saturday, May 22nd, 1886, issue 175
  17. The Brisbane Courier, Saturday, 25th December,1886
  18. Launceston Examiner, Tuesday, 2nd February,1886
  19. The Morning Bulletin, Wednesday, October, 1886????
  20. Queensland Times, Ipswich Herald and General Advertiser, Thursday, 1st July,1886
  21. Glasgow Herald (Glasgow, Scotland), Monday, 21st October, 1872, issue 10237
  22. The Cambridge Chronicle and University Journal, Isle of Ely Herald, and Huntingdonshire Gazette, 22nd September, 1877
  23. Nottinghamshire Guardian (London, England), Friday, 6th April,1877, issue 1654
  24. The Star (Saint Peter Port) England, Tuesday, 7th August, 1877, issue 24
  25. The Star (Saint Peter Port) England, Thursday, 10th June, 1880, issue 1
  26. The Dundee Courier and Argus, Thursday, 2nd September, 1869
  27. The Era (London, Eng.), Provincial Theatricals, Sunday, 10th Oct, 1869, Issue 1620
  28. The Newcastle Courant (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England), Friday, 22nd October, 1869, Issue 10163
  29. Newcastle Guardian, Saturday, 23rd October, 1869
  30. The Era (London, England), Sunday, 3rd April, 1870, issue 1645
  31. The Era (London, England), Sunday, 11th August, 1872, issue 1768
  32. The London Gazette, 30th July, 1872, issue 3418
  33. The Bristol Mercury, (Bristol, England), Saturday, 3rd August, 1872, Issue 4295
  34. Damien Kimberley, 2016.  The Lion Bicycle Company of Coventry and Wolverhampton in Historic Coventry. Articles.( https://www.historiccoventry.co.uk/articles/content.php?pg=lion-bikes). Accessed 18th February, 2019.
  35. Barnes, John, 1967. Precursors of the Cinema: shadowgraphy, panoramas, dioramas and peepshows considered in their relation to the history of the cinema. Saint Ives, Cornwall, Barnes Museum of Cinematography.  (Catalogue of the collection, Part 1. The Mitchell Library)
  36. Rothesay Valuation Rolls, 1872-1875
  37. Auckland Star, 25th September, 1885.
  38. Southland Times (Invercargill), 28th December, 1885, issue 90101.
  39. Farminer, Andrea, Dr. and Miller, Robin. 2016. Invercargill City: Central City area. Heritage Buildings Re-Assessment. https://icc.govt.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Heritage-Building-Report-2016.pdf  (Accessed 23/02/2019)
  40. Hyde, Ralph. [2015] Dictionary of Panoramists of the English-Speaking World. http://www.bdcmuseum.org.uk/uploads/uploads/biographical_dictionary_of_panoramists2.pdf (Accessed 25th February, 2019)
  41. "England and Wales Census, 1881," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2 SBLR : 13 December 2017)
  42. "England and Wales Census, 1891," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:WYlL2M: 11 December 2017)
  43. "England and Wales Census, 1901," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XS2C3B: 8 April 2016)
  44. "Social whirl in the 1870s: 8th January, 1874". Historic Ryde Society, http://www.historicrydesociety.co.uk/social-whirl-in-the-1870s/, 2019
  45. Lost Vaudeville: Blanche Townsend's postcard collection from her time in the Vaudeville circuit. ( https://lostvaudeville.wordpress.com/2018/03/15/the-talented-thomas-dudgeon)

Saturday, 26 January 2019

(Post 12) Thomas's Irish Dioramas: The Great Diorama of Ireland, Ireland: its scenery, music, and antiquities, Ireland in Shade and Sunshine


Image result for victoria music hall belfast
The Victoria Hall, Belfast

It has been a few years since I have looked at this chapter of Thomas Dudgeon's story. I've added a few more details as more information becomes available and I've made a few improvements.
If you are reading this and have any further details to add I would love to hear from you.You can email me in the box on the side of the blog, or leave a comment at the bottom of this post. Click on the electronic title link at the top of the post, scroll down and you will find the Comments section at the bottom. I hope to hear from you.

The Great Diorama of Ireland and  Ireland: its scenery, music, and antiquities, 1865

If you would like to read an abstract of this post (no. 12) before committing to reading the whole chapter, click here.

It's 1865 in Belfast, Ireland, and the moving picture scenes called Dioramas have become the fashionable entertainment to headline in theatres and music halls. Thomas Dudgeon was one of the team of artists commissioned to create dioramas for the 1865 Christmas theatre season in Ireland and travelled  there to re-paint the Great Diorama of Ireland, later renamed Ireland: its scenery, music, and antiquities for the new show. The show opened at the Victoria Hall, Belfast, previously called the Victoria Music Hall, on Monday evening, November 13, 1865. Thomas was given full credit on the advertising as the eminent artist who entirely re-painted The Great Diorama.

The diorama provided a magnificent moving display of Irish scenery as a backdrop to the performances of Mr. and Mrs. J. F. O'Neill, who performed "inimitable Hibernian sketches", and to various other artists who sang songs, duets, and quartets etc. (Belfast Newsletter, Nov. 9, 1865.) Historical and descriptive handbooks were handed out in the hall. To celebrate this debut event, there were even fashionable mid-day performances on Fridays at 2.30 pm at the cost of 2s. for Reserved Seats, 1s. for the Body of the Hall, and 6d. for the Gallery.

Dioramas had been around for sometime before 1865, but no-one had embarked on a diorama depicting Ireland and its spectacular scenery like Dr. Thomas Charles Stuart Corry.  A born showman and well-known medical identity in Belfast, he took on this challenge and initially hired Mr. T. H. Connop to produce his first diorama entitled Ireland: its scenery, music and antiquities.

Mr. Connop had spent some years travelling throughout Ireland, selecting and sketching appropriate scenes worthy of painting. Then in 1864, after 12 months work of painting the diorama onto canvas, he had a private rehearsal in the Victoria Hall, Belfast on Saturday, 24th December. The "New Diorama of Ireland" show opened to the public at Victoria Hall, on the following Monday, 26th December 1864, at 8pm. (Belfast Newsletter, 26th December, 1864.)

"Dr. Corry's Diorama" or moving pictures consisted of reams and reams of canvas painted with scenes familiar to Irishmen everywhere - The Giant's Causeway, Shane's Castle, Carrick-a-rede, Dunluce Castle, Galway City, Limerick City, Drogheda, Armagh, Tara, Dublin City, Belfast, ..., the Lakes of Killarney, the Gap of Dunloe, Glengariff and many others.(Woodside, 1997-2008).

The diorama painted on canvas, was attached to huge rollers situated on each side of the proscenium or stage, and out of view of the audience. As it unrolled, it moved across the stage revealing the painted pictures of Ireland. A musical show on stage was choreographed to accompany each individual scene as it unfurled. Dr. Corry  wrote one song in particular which was very popular with the audience, named "Who'll Buy a Box of Specimens" which was sung by Nellie Hayes as the picture of the Giant's Causeway was being shown. (Woodside, 1997-2008). In 1879, Dr. Corry published a volume of "Irish lyrics, Songs, and Poems", which was printed in Belfast by D. and J. Allen. He was such a  talented fellow.

Following the success of the "New Diorama of Ireland"  in 1864, for which he became well known, Mr. Connop retired from producing further dioramas, and was honoured at a benefit at the Victoria Hall, on 15th February, 1865. (Belfast newsletter, 15th Feb. 1865.) He died six years later on the 9th August, 1870 in Belfast. Perhaps he was starting to suffer from ill health at the time of the benefit.

Due to the wear and tear on the diorama and Mr. Connop leaving the Victoria Hall Thomas did a complete repaint of the scenes during 1865 in readiness for the new show opening on the 9th November, 1865. It is hard to imagine that Thomas could have repainted every single scene attributed to this diorama, because of its enormity. However, he may have needed to as the painted scenes could only last for one season due to the rolling and unrolling of the painted canvas across the stage. Artists in those days were masters at copying other works of art and creating paintings from sketches so it is feasible that he recreated the paintings from  Mr. Connop's originals. Or did he just touch them up? Perhaps Thomas was recommended to Dr. Corry  by Mr. Connop to refurbish, and touch up his original diorama. It is most likely that he was one of the original artists hired by Dr. Corry along with other artists and Mr. Connop had overall charge of the scenery painted.  Dr Corry no doubt had the final say as to which scenes made it into the final diorama.

1866. Dr. Corry's Travel Guidebook based on the Great Diorama of Ireland

Ireland: its scenery, music, and antiquities. (Third edition.) [With plates, including a map.] Thomas Charles Stewart Corry. ISBN 10: 1241338531 / ISBN 13: 9781241338534. Publisher: London: British Library, Historical Print Editions, 2011. Originally published in 1866.

A common occurrence with dioramas at this time was that the paintings were published in illustrated tourist guidebooks.  In 1866, Dr. Corry produced a small travel book of 26 pages called Ireland: Its Scenery,  Music, and Antiquities, produced from either Mr. Connop's original paintings or from Thomas Dudgeon's paintings, I'm not sure. Of course I would like to think this little book includes some of Thomas's paintings. It was originally published in 1866, and has now been reprinted as a 3rd edition in 2011, by the Historical Print Editions Section of the British Library in London and is still in print. Publishing details are below if dear reader you would like to purchase a copy.


On Christmas Day, 1866, there was an interesting testimonial in The Era newspaper where Dr. Corry paid tribute to the Musical Director of the Diorama, Daniel Holmes, Esq.

Testimonial.-9, Clarendon Place, Belfast, Christmas Day, 1866. Dear Sir, I beg to forward you a Gold and Bog-Oak Medal, of Irish manufacture, as a slight token of the high estimation in which you have invariably been held by me as a Pianist and Composer, and also as a gentleman, since you first became Musical Director to the National entertainment, "Ireland: Its Scenery, Music, and Antiquities." Trusting you may be long spared to wear it. I am, dear Sir, yours sincerely, 
DANIEL HOLMES, Esq.                                                               THOS. CHAS. S. CORRY, M.D.
(The Era, January 6, 1867.)

Now that his Diorama of Ireland is featuring in the show, Ireland: its scenery, music, and antiquities, besides painting the occasional new Irish scene for the Diorama, Thomas could be more flexible with his time. It seems that he spent Christmas 1866 in Glasgow, and then was busily painting the scenery for a charity show at the Queen's Rooms, in aid of the Convalescent Fever Home and a Sick Children's Hospital. The show was billed as the Grand Fashionable Amateur Dramatic Performance, by the Members of Harcourt Beauty (Bland's) Dramatic Class. The Play was Sheridan Knowles' The Hunchback, followed by the Laughable Farce of Betsy Baker. I love the note at the foot of the playbill. "Carriages ordered at eleven." (Glasgow Herald, Jan. 25th, 1867.)

On the 7th May, 1867, an advertisement in the Glasgow Herald announced that the new show at the Circus, Hope Street, Glasgow (Scotland) was IRELAND: ITS SCENERY, MUSIC, AND ANTIQUITIES. The Diorama and the cast have travelled to Glasgow for a limited season only. Dr. Corry is still the originator and sole-proprietor and the Manager is Mr. D. Holmes. (Glasgow Herald, May 7, 1867.) The following Advertisement confirms that the Diorama and the show have gone on tour, and are destined for America:-

1867

PARTNER WANTED.-THE PROPRIETOR of the National Entertainment "Ireland: It's Scenery, Music, and Antiquities" , being unable to leave this country in consequence of other avocations, is desirous to meet with a suitable party who would accompany the Exhibition to America. For terms and further particulars, address "Diorama, care of Mr. D. ALLEN, Arthur Square, Belfast." 5213. (Belfast Newsletter, June 7, 1867)

It's October, 1867, and after travelling throughout England,  Dr. Corry's Diorama show, Ireland: It's Scenery, Music and Antiquities is in Leicester, England, at the Temperance Hall, finishing it's season on Saturday, October 19th. The playbill quoted that the colossal paintings, executed in the highest style of art, were painted from sketches recently taken on the spot in Leicester, expressly for this exhibition, by Dudgeon, Phillips, Knell, and Connop.  The wording in the playbill, implies that the paintings in the Diorama were a collection by various artists, expressly for this exhibition. It is fair to presume that the four artists had all been involved at various times with the Diorama from its inception. Of course each new audience needed to feel that it was a new show just for them, and sometimes a painting of the city where the Diorama was showing was unveiled before each show. So, the advertising machine of the day in depicting the paintings as being recently taken from sketches on the spot, was partly correct in that the majority of the paintings were the originals with a few new ones exhibited  for the enjoyment of local audiences. (Leicester Chronicle, October 19, 1867)

The last work that Thomas did in Scotland in 1867 was the painting of the theatre scenery for the Christmas pantomime, called "Harlequin Graceful, or the Fair One with the Golden Locks, or the Great Giant Gorgibuster, and the Monarchs of the Fairy Fishes",  produced by Mr. Alfred Davis, the sole lessee and manager of the Prince of Wales' Theatre. The playbill for the show acclaimed the triumphant success of the pantomime, brilliant scenery, rapturous applause, and the first grand illuminated performance of the pantomime to be on Saturday, Dec. 21st. (Glasgow Herald, Thurs. Dec. 19, 1867.)

Thomas and Agnes Pollock returned to Belfast in late 1867. Agnes was pregnant with her second child. By February 6th, 1868, Ireland: It's Scenery, Music, and Antiquities, still billed as the Great National Entertainment, Ireland, had already been showing at the Victoria Hall for 6 weeks.

"The view is said to be most accurate, and to give the beholder a vivid representation of the leading thoroughfare of the town. The warehouses on either side, with all their architectural embellishments, can be plainly discerned. The display of goods in some of the windows is also clearly shown, and some sign-boards over doors can be read without difficulty. (Belfast Morning News, February 3rd, 1868.)

 In readiness for the seventh week of Ireland: It's Scenery, Music, and Antiquities, and to continue to attract the local audiences of Belfast, Thomas Dudgeon, Esq. (according to the newspaper advertisements) and his assistants had been hard at work painting a new scene of Belfast for the local audiences. This additional attraction of a new Belfast painting for the show, was a view of Donegall Place, Belfast, taken from Castle Place. There was also to be a complete change to the musical programme advertised as commencing in the Seventh week of Triumphant Success. (Belfast Newsletter, Feb. 6, 1868.)  A new painting by Thomas, a new musical programme with no expense spared by Dr. Corry, and re-engagement of Master B. O'Lynn, and the Diorama Show has a rebirth for the commencement of the seventh week.

1868

There has also been another birth. On 3rd February, 1868, beautiful little Ellen Stella Douglas Faucets Dudgeon, my Great Grandmother, and an Aquarian as am I, was born to proud parents, Agnes Pollock "Dudgeon", and Thomas Dudgeon, in Belfast.  The Dudgeon family, including little Ellen Stella, Agnes and Thomas and Annie McIndoe Plunkett,  are still in Belfast in 1870 as a court case involving Agnes as a witness is being heard. The 1871 Scottish census records that Thomas is in Bishop Auckland and Agnes, Annie, Ellen Stella and Thomas's son, Thomas Dudgeon, from a previous relationship, are back in Glasgow.

Dr. Corry is still intent on taking his Great Irish Diorama to America. Thomas was dispatched to Dublin, to make a sketch of the the O'Connell Monument in Glasnevin Cemetery, to be painted and included in the Diorama for it's improvement and attractiveness for the American audiences, and the Irish Catholics who had emigrated there. Glasnevin Cemetery, first opened in 1832,  is officially known as Prospect Cemetery, and is the largest non-denominational cemetery in Ireland. Daniel O'Connell was a champion of Catholic rights, and the establishment of the Glasnevin Cemetery was largely due to O'Connell campaigning for a graveyard where both Irish Protestants and Catholics could be buried with dignity.

Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin, Ireland. The round tower in the centre stands over the tomb of Daniel O'Connell.
This is the monument  Thomas was sent to sketch.

However, when Thomas arrived at the cemetery, he discovered to his dismay that the project wasn't approved by the cemetery authorities, as Dr. Corry hadn't met the appropriate protocols of applying to the Cemeteries Board in advance for permission. Corry wasn't impressed, and wrote a letter to the Editor of the Nation Newspaper, in protest. (Nation, May 22, 1869). Wealth, influence and perseverance are a successful combination, and by October, 1870, Dr. Corry's Diorama of Ireland , is showing at the  Brooklyn Atheneum, New York, USA. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper reported that thousands were flocking nightly to the Brooklyn Atheneum, to see the Green Isle once more. (October 17, 1870). By February, 1871, the Diorama of Ireland as a backdrop to Ireland: It's Scenery, Music, and Antiquities is showing at the Apollo Hall, New York.

The following excerpt from W.G. Lyttle's Biography confirms that the Great Diorama, did actually tour America. Wesley Greenhill Lyttle, a newspaper editor, accountant, but most of all an entertainer, was a lecturer with Dr. Corry's Irish Diorama company, which toured Britain and America  with the show entitled "Ireland, its scenery, music and antiquities".

Lyttle had been a lecturer in Dr. Corry's Irish Diorama company which toured Britain and America with a show entitled "Ireland, its scenery, music and antiquities". The show featured large limelight views of of Irish beauty spots, illustrated in prose, verse and song. For most of the 1870s, Lyttle lived in Belfast where he began to write and perform his humorous monologues". (Robinson, Kenneth, 2008. W.G. Lyttle [Biography] in The Ulster-Scots  Language Society.)

Ireland in Shade and Sunshine: a second diorama, 1869

In December 1869, whilst the Great Diorama with Ireland: it's scenery, music and antiquities was touring England extensively, and still riding on a wave of popularity, Dr. Corry had embarked on a new project, a 2nd Diorama of Ireland, called Ireland: in Shade and Sunshine. He wasn't afraid of hard work, was he?

The Belfast Newsletter, Issue 54553, during November 1869 wrote:
"Belfast is becoming somewhat celebrated for its production of dioramas. Thomas Dudgeon, Esq. the able artist, who is at present engaged in the production of an entirely new diorama of Irish scenery for Dr. Corry, so deserving of encouragement for his laudable efforts in bringing before the public the classic and picturesque scenes of Ireland's history."
"The diorama [of Ireland] is nearly completed and will be ready for exhibition in the Victoria Hall next month. It will be illuminated with magnesium light, and all the recent improvements and appliances in dioramic effects will be brought into requisition to stamp the second Diorama of Ireland one of the most beautiful and life-like ever presented to public criticism."

Illumination by magnesium light was relatively new to create special effects, and  a big crowd pleaser at the time.  Thomas had obviously impressed Dr. Corry with the high standard of his paintings used in the first Great Diorama, as he employed Thomas to paint 40 new scenes for Ireland: in Shade and Sunshine. Following a private gala function for invited guests only, to launch the new Diorama, The Belfast Newsletter published a flattering review of Thomas's depiction of Irish scenes through his art.

"On Saturday evening the new series of paintings, by T. Dudgeon, Esq., intended to illustrate Ireland in shade and sunshine, were unfolded for the first time before a select audience, who, through the kindness of Dr. Corry, were favoured with private invitations. The scenery of Ireland must at all times be interesting." (Belfast Newsletter, Dec. 13th, 1869.)

At this point in time, as his descendant, I feel so proud of what Thomas Dudgeon has achieved. The Belfast Newsletter appeared to take great care to give an honest interpretation and account of the openings of new shows, artworks and the artists themselves. The art critic was very careful not to compare which of the two dioramas was superior in it's quality, however  praised Thomas's work at the private launch of Ireland in Shade and Sunshine, as reflecting "the utmost credit on the artistic skill of Mr. Dudgeon, as well as of  the enterprise of the spirited proprietor."  I wonder if Thomas rushed to read the reviews of his work in the newspapers in the morning, and if he did the amount of space granted  in the December 13th edition of the Belfast Newsletter, to quite generously review his work should have pleased him immensely. I hope he had a huge smile over his visage for the whole day. The review took care to name most of the locations of the Irish scene paintings scrolling across the stage in Dioramic procession, and there are too many of them to include all of the locations featured here. The following are a few of my favourite excerpts from the review which demonstrate the fine calibre of Thomas's work:

"The Diorama opens with a magnificent view of Dublin, exhibiting in one view College Green, Trinity College, the Bank of Ireland, the statues of Goldsmith and Burke, Carlisle Bridge, and Sackville Street. the onlooker then gets a view of the interior of the House of Lords on the last night of the Irish Parliament. where...he will see tapestries representing the Battle of the Boyne and Relief of Derry, and portraits of Lord Castlereagh and other members of the House."

"The Lakes of Killarney are then made to pass in review in all their beauty and sublimity. In one of these views there is very skilfully introduced a vision of The O'Donohue and his fairy horseman (a popular tradition of the district), which produces an effect of a startling character."

"The second part of the Diorama opens with views of Valentia Bay and Island, Limerick, Connemara, Galway, Devenish Island, the famous Lough Derg, and St. Patrick's Purgatory, the ruins of Donegal Castle, the Maiden City (with a fine view of the bridge), Dunlace Castle, when the visitor is presented with a magnificent sketch of the Giant's Causeway." The reviewer mentions where the Giant's Causeway is painted by sunset, and a rather curious optical illusion is produced for the spectator.

Following these flattering reviews of the private launch, the new Diorama opened to the public at the Victoria Hall the following evening. Despite the dreadful Irish weather, a crowded audience attended the first night and according to the press, showed their appreciation with frequent enthusiastic applause. (Belfast Newsletter, Dec. 14th, 1869.) It was another well choreographed show, accredited to Dr. Corry,  including an interesting  lecture by Mr. Keith, and Irish vocals by Mr. Barry Aylmer, Miss Marian Isaacs, and Miss Cary Henry (of Belfast), who attracted encores for several of their pieces. Such a successful opening is every entrepreneur's and every artist's dream.

Newspaper clippings from American papers, advertise that the new Diorama, "Ireland in Shade and Sunshine" after a successful season in Ireland, has been shipped to America and is successfully touring Philadelphia, U.S. On the 22nd April, 1871, the New York Clipper newspaper confirms that Dr. Corry's show is still popular, and is touring Philadelphia, U.S.:

Dr. Corry's Diorama of "Ireland in Shade and Sunshine" continues to be well patronised, and the vocal and instrumental concert given forms a very pleasing feature at the Assembly Building, Philadelphia. (New York Clipper, 22nd April, 1871.)

Royal National Diorama of Scotland

Whilst in Ireland, Thomas embarked on his third and most prolific piece of work, the Royal National Diorama of Scotland, presumably from photographs or sketches which he took over with him to Ireland. The Belfast Newsletter in 1869 described how Thomas Dudgeon Esq. had painted the Diorama of Scotland here, and was engaged in the production of an entirely new diorama of Irish scenery for Dr. Corry.  An excerpt from Granny's diary confirms that  Thomas painted scenes from photographs, and in those days all landscape artists were quite adept in this practice. There will be more  about the Royal Diorama of Scotland in a future post.

Granny says:

'Well now I will go back to Chichester. After my father had painted the little picture he was doing he was asked to paint a large picture of Rooks Drift in Africa where the Prince Eugene had been killed. They brought him photos of it all and drawings too, so he undertook it and did it. Rooks Drift was a farm and the Prince Eugene was killed there. The front of the picture showed the farm as it was in all its beauty and the back was where it was set on fire by the Zulus. The flames looked so real. I can't describe it as I would like to but even though I was so young, I knew it was wonderful. In London there was a great deal of praise given to it in the morning papers."

 At this point Granny was old enough to be aware of what paintings Thomas was working on. The dioramas, personal paintings and commissions he obtained would have been seen by Ellen Stella and  imprinted on her memory. They were probably discussed around the dinner table each evening, and the whole family would have been aware of  current projects. Hence she refers to many paintings of Thomas's in her Memoirs, some of which were most likely to be included in his Dioramas. Granny's description through a daughter's eyes of his work and travels together with newspaper reports, provide us with a valuable insight to Thomas's talent and reputation as a hard working and very much admired landscape artist.

Bishop Auckland, 1871

As mentioned above, in the 1871 Scottish Census, Agnes Pollock "Dudgeon", Annie McIndoe Plunkett, and Ellen Stella Dudgeon are living back in Glasgow, at 332 Georges St. However Agnes is recorded as Agnes Plunkett, her assumed name in Scotland following her relationship with James Plunkett, before she met Thomas. Following the success of his Diorama paintings, which are now either en route or have arrived in America for the show "Ireland in Shade and Sunshine", Thomas has moved temporarily to Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England, to work for the Masons. For more on the Bishop Auckland story, visit this link. The 1871 Scottish Census also records Thomas's son, Thomas Dudgeon, aged 19, as living with Agnes Plunkett and her two daughters as a boarder,  holding the profession of Panoramic  Assistant. He was starting to follow in the footsteps of his well known father.

1875, New Zealand and Australia

In 1875, Dr. Corry's vision for touring the great Irish Diorama to America has expanded, as In Shade and Sunshine emerges in New Zealand, rebranded as Baker's Grand Hibernicon and Panorama of Ireland In Shade and Sunshine.

BAKER'S GRAND HIBERNICON AND PANORAMA OF IRELAND In Shade and Sunshine, Painted on 6000 yards of canvas by the first artists of Europe and America. In conjunction with Baker's celebrated combination of IRISH DELINEATORS, VOCALISTS, AND DANCERS, Comprising Mr. Henry Baker, Lecturer and Balladist Mr. W. F. Baker, Popular Tenor Mr. Chas. Verner, [and others]. (Grey River Argus, Vol. XVI, Issue 2122, 28th May 1875, page 3.)

**News Alert:  The Great National Diorama of Ireland (in Shade and Sunshine) travels to Australia in 1880

Dr. Corry's  Great National Diorama of Ireland, or (Ireland; in Shade and Sunshine,) then travelled to Melbourne,Victoria, Australia in 1880, and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) and Courier Mail (Brisbane, Qld.) Newspapers had it advertised.  How Ellen Stella would have loved to see some of her wonderful father's work, perhaps touched up or copied by another artist by then, being exhibited on the stage in Queensland. It will be another 2 years before she takes that epic journey to Australia on the Selkirkshire and leaves her whole world as she knew it behind.

**News Alert: 1886 - Lingard's Royal Scottish Diorama, painted by Thomas Dudgeon, is on tour in Australia

Ellen Stella has by now certainly arrived in Queensland and has been living near Rockhampton for four years by 1886. Unfortunately though it seems that Granny never knew about the Great Scottish Diorama travelling to Queensland. She hasn't mentioned in it in her memoirs. More about that later.

St. George's Hall, commencing Saturday, 21st February, (1880) Dr. Corry's Great National Diorama of Ireland, the Diorama consists of 40  Magnificent paintings, illustrating the present and past glories of the Emerald Isle. The following unrivalled artists will appear:- THE MATTIE TAYLOR TROUPE, In their new and original entertainment, Mr. J. TAYLOR, Humorist and Wonderful Banjoist, Mrs. J. TAYLOR, Specialty Artiste, The CHILD WONDER, LITTLE MATTIE [and others]. 
The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848-1957), Tuesday 17 February 1880, page 8)

What became of the reams and reams of painted canvas after the touring of the Dioramas had finished? One of the originals was found in the loft of Kelly's Store, Bank Lane, Belfast by Joe Devlin and his mates, when Joe was Manager of the store at age 19, around 1890, only 6 years before Dr. Corry died.

"In our young youth, when our boyhood's friend, Joe Devlin was in charge of Kelly's Store in Bank Lane, we remember climbing with him to the loft above the shop to see and examine the great rolls of painted canvas, the rollers and the blocks and tacklings of all that was left of Dr. Corry's World-Famed Diorama. For many years it lay in the loft above the old store in Bank Lane, but what became of it we do not know." (Woodside, S.B. 1997-2008)


Kelly's Store



Joe Devlin, 13 February 1871-18 January 1934,
 At age 19, in 1890, Joe Devlin had a gift for public speaking, and was President of a literary circle, the Sexton Debating Society. The Society was established in 1886 to commemorate the first Irish Nationalist election victory in West Belfast. It was named after Thomas Sexton, the West Belfast MP from 1892-96 who was its patron, and who was an early role model for Joe Devlin. The Society often invited distinguished people to lecture on subjects of Irish interest. They organised concerts, and sang Irish songs, and took themselves rather seriously. This is the kind of circle of young intellectuals that Dr. Corry would have supported and influenced, and the members would have been familiar with his publications and songs. Joe Devlin became a journalist and an influential Nationalist Party MP in the Parliament of Northern Ireland. He also helped to revive the Ancient Order of Hibernians (OAH), later becoming President after working as a journalist on the Freeman's Journal.

Dr. Corry must have had a connection with Kelly's Store and Joe Devlin to have placed his Diorama in the loft of the shop when the show had finished touring. Unfortunately,  a new owner of the store probably just threw the paintings out when the store was being remodelled and cleaned out, not realising their significance to the cultural history of Ireland.
.

 Bibliography:

  1. Belfast Newsletter, Monday, Dec. 26th, 1864, issue 32970
  2. Belfast Newsletter, 15th Feb., 1865.
  3. Belfast Newsletter, Thursday, Nov. 9, 1865, issue 33305.
  4. Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday, Dec. 20th, 1864, issue 32965.
  5. Woodside, Barry, c.1997-2008. Irish tokens by Davis & Waters http://www.iris-tokens.co.uk/davis%w.htm
  6. The Era, (London, England), Sunday, January 6, 1867. Issue 1476.
  7. Glasgow Herald, Friday, January 25th, 1867, No. 8442.
  8. Glasgow Herald, Monday, May 7, 1867, Issue 8546.
  9. Belfast Newsletter, Friday June 7, 1867, Issue 33854.
  10. Leicester Chronicle, Saturday, October 19, 1867.
  11. Belfast Morning News, Monday, February 3rd, 1868.
  12. Belfast Newsletter, Thursday, February 6, 1868, Issue 34061.
  13. Nation 1842-1897, May 22, 1869, p. 12.
  14. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Monday, October 17, 1870, Vol. 30, No. 246.
  15. Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday, November 9th, 1869, issue 54553
  16. Belfast Newsletter, Monday, Dec. 13th, 1869, issue 54582.
  17. Belfast Newsletter, Tuesday, Dec. 14th, 1869, issue 54583.
  18. Glasgow Herald, Thursday Dec. 19th, 1867, Issue 8723.
  19. Robinson, Kenneth, 2008. W.G. Lyttle [Biography]  in The Ulster-Scots  Language Society,  http://www.ulsterscotslanguage.com/en/texts/biography/w-g-lyttle/, Accessed 20th June, 2015
   19. Corry, Thomas Charles Stewart. 3rd ed. Ireland: it's Scenery, Music and Antiquities. London:               British Library, Historical Print Collections, 2011. Originally published in 1866.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Bishop Auckland and Theatre Corner 1871 (11)

Post 11

For the full story on Thomas's work in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England click on this link:

Thomas  isn't a resident in the house at 331 Georges Street, Glasgow, Scotland with Agnes Pollock and the children, on the evening of the 1871 Census, he is working in Bishop Auckland, England.

 The Bishop Auckland Census recorded Thomas as living as a boarder at 5 Adelaide Street, and working as an Artist. Neil and I travelled to Bishop Auckland, County Durham, and located the site of the boarding house where he lived on the corner of Adelaide Street.

Adelaide Street corner, the site of the boarding house where Thomas
lived in Bishop Auckland, England.
Photo Copyright (c) Neil McNee 2014



In 1871, the Masonic Music Hall, a melodrama theatre, at the junction of Newgate Street and South Church Road, Bishop Auckland, England, was undergoing alterations by architect Mr. W. V. Thompson. There is little doubt that this is where Thomas was engaged working at the time of the 1871 Census, whilst Agnes and the children, including Ellen (Granny) aged 3, were living up in Glasgow, Scotland. There were mouths to feed. His perspicacity in finding worthwhile employment is again demonstrated, and perhaps Thomas's Masonic connections helped  to gain this commission, however it would have been  a lucrative project for him to be working on.


The Plaque commemorating the performers, lessees, theatre staff and audiences
of the Former Eden Theatre, 1892-1974, the Masonic Music Hall 1865-1874,
and the Theatre Royal 1874-1892.
Photo Copyright (c) Neil McNee 2014

For the full story on Thomas's work in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England click on this link:

Keywords:

Theatre Corner - Bishop Auckland, England
Eden Theatre, Bishop Auckland - History
Frank Matcham - Architect
Stan Laurel
Laurel and Hardy
1871 Census - Scotland
Scottish Census - 1871
Theatre Royal, Bishop Auckland


Monday, 8 June 2015

The Great Diorama of Ireland and Ireland: it's scenery, music and antiquities (a summary and links to Post 12))


The Great Diorama of Ireland, and Ireland: it's scenery, music and antiquities, 1865. (A summary of Post 12)

This is a summary of the complete story of the Great Diorama of Ireland. The full story is currently being updated by me and will be available for reading again soon.

Keywords:
Kelly's store, Bank Lane, Belfast
Dr. T. C. S. Corry
Thomas Dudgeon
Ellen Stella Douglas Fawcett Dudgeon
Joe Devlin
Mr. Connop
New York Clipper Newspaper
The Great Diorama of Ireland
Ireland: in Shade and Sunshine
Ireland: it's scenery, music and antiquities
Royal National Diorama of Scotland
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bishop Auckland
The Masons, Bishop Auckland

Summary:

For the complete story click on this link:

Belfast, Ireland in 1865,  and the moving picture scenes called Dioramas have become the fashionable entertainment to headline in theatres and halls. Thomas Dudgeon was one of a team of artists commissioned to create dioramas for the 1865 Christmas theatre  season in Ireland and travelled there to re-paint the Great Diorama of Ireland, later renamed Ireland: it's scenery, music, and antiquities for the new show.

The show opened at Victoria Hall, Belfast on Monday evening, November 13, 1865. Thomas was given full credit on the playbill as the eminent artist who entirely re-painted The Great Diorama.The diorama provided a magnificent moving display of Irish scenery as a backdrop to the performances of Mr. and Mrs. J.F. O'Neill, who performed "inimitable Hibernian sketches" and to other various performers who sang songs, duets, quartets etc. (Belfast Newsletter, Nov. 9, 1865.) Historical and descriptive handbooks were handed out at the hall. To celebrate this debut event, there were even fashionable mid-day performances on Fridays at 2.30pm at the cost of 2s. for Reserved Seats, 1s. for the Body of the Hall, and 6d. for the Gallery.

Dioramas had been around for sometime before 1865,but no-one had embarked on a diorama depicting Ireland and its spectacular scenery like Dr. Thomas Charles Stuart Corry. He took on this challenge and hired Mr. T.H. Connop to produce a diorama entitled Ireland: its scenery, music and antiquities. Connop produced this diorama in 1864 and had a private showing in the Victoria Hall, Belfast on Saturday 24th December, 1864. It opened to the public on the following Monday, 26th December 1864.

It can be surmised that due to the wear and tear on the diorama and Mr. Connop leaving the Victoria Hall, that Thomas Dudgeon had done a complete repaint  in readiness for the new show opening on the 9th November, 1865.  It is hard to imagine that Thomas could have repainted every scene attributed to this diorama because of it's enormity. However, he may have needed to as the painted scenes could only last for one season due to the rolling and unrolling of the painted canvas across the stage.

Thomas and Agnes Pollock returned to Belfast in late 1867. Agnes was pregnant with her second child. By February 6th, 1868, Ireland: It's Scenery, Music, and Antiquities, still billed as the Great National Entertainment, Ireland, had already been showing at the Victoria Hall for 6 weeks.

There has also been a birth. On 3rd February, 1868, Ellen Stella Douglas Fawcett Dudgeon, my Great Grandmother, was born to proud parents, Agnes Pollock "Dudgeon" and Thomas Dudgeon, in Belfast.

By October, 1870, Dr. Corry's Diorama of Ireland is showing at the Brooklyn Atheneum,New York, USA.

A common occurrence with dioramas at this time was that they were published as tourist guidebooks and this happened as Dr. Corry produced a small travel guide book called Ireland: its scenery music and antiquities, which is still in publication and available for purchase.

Thomas impressed Dr Corry who employed him to produce a 2nd diorama called, Ireland: in Shade and Sunshine.

Royal National Diorama of Scotland

Whilst in Ireland, Thomas embarked on his third and most prolific piece of work, the Royal National Diorama of Scotland, presumably from photographs which he took over with him to Ireland. An excerpt from Granny's diary confirms that  Thomas sometimes painted scenes from photographs, and in those days all landscape artists were quite adept in this practice. Granny says:

'Well now I will go back to Chichester. After my father had painted the little picture he was doing he was asked to paint a large picture of Rooks Drift in Africa where the Prince Eugene had been killed. They brought him photos of it all and drawings too, so he undertook it and did it. Rooks Drift was a farm and the Prince Eugene was killed there. The front of the picture showed the farm as it was in all its beauty and the back was where it was set on fire by the Zulus. The flames looked so real. I can't describe it as I would like to but even though I was so young, I knew it was wonderful. In London there was a great deal of praise given to it in the morning papers."

Bishop Auckland, 1871

By 1871, Agnes Pollock "Dudgeon", Annie McIndoe Plunkett, and Ellen Stella Dudgeon are living back in Glasgow, at 332 Georges St., according to the 1871 Scottish Census. However Agnes is recorded as Agnes Plunkett, her assumed name in Scotland following her relationship with James Plunkett, before she met Thomas. Following the success of his Diorama paintings, which are now either en route or have arrived in America for the show "Ireland in Shade and Sunshine", Thomas has moved temporarily to Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England to work for the Masons. For more on the Bishop Auckland story, visit this link.

What became of the reams and reams of painted canvas after the touring of the Dioramas had finished? They were found in the loft of Kelly's Store, Bank Lane, Belfast by Joe Devlin and his mates, when Joe was Manager of the store at age 19, around 1890, only 6 years before Dr. Corry died.

"In our young youth, when our boyhood's friend, Joe Devlin was in charge of Kelly's Store in Bank Lane, we remember climbing with him to the loft above the shop to see and examine the great rolls of painted canvas, the rollers and the blocks and tacklings of all that was left of Dr. Corry's World-Famed Diorama. For many years it lay in the loft above the old store in Bank Lane, but what became of it we do not know." (Woodside, S.B. 1997-2008)

For the complete story, click on this link:

Best wishes

Pauline