jump to navigation

Admiral Collingwood: Of Flowers and DNA 18 April, 2014

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Family, General, Trivia.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

Just in time for the Easter holidays, I bring you a very mixed bag of interesting Collingwood titbits. And news coming from the Collingwood Society, but they get their own post.

First we have one which might be of special interest to the many admirers of Horatio Hornblower who read this blog. Your knowledge is needed!

A gentleman called Paul has contacted me with a question regarding Collingwood and flowers. He’s working on a project about flowers and their role in human culture. While reading “From Hornblower and the Atropos by C.S. Forester. The Companion Book club, London, 1954. (Originally published by Michael Joseph Ltd.) pp 137-8” he came across the following part:

Collingwood shook hands with him in the great cabin below. …

“Please sit down captain. Harkness, a glass of Madeira for Captain Hornblower. …”

It was an upholstered chair in which Hornblower sat; under his feet was a thick carpet; there were a couple of pictures in gilt frames on the bulkheads; silver lamps hung by silver chains   from the deck-beams. Looking round him while Collingwood eagerly skimmed through his letters, Hornblower thought of all this being hurriedly bundled away when the
Ocean cleared for action. But what held his attention most were two long boxes against the great stern windows. They were filled with earth and were planted with flowers – hyacinths and daffodils, blooming and lovely.

The scent of the hyacinths reached Hornblower’s nostrils where he sat. There was something fantastically charming about them here at sea.

“I’ve been successful with my bulbs this year,” said Collingwood, putting his letters in his pocket and following Hornblower’s glance. He walked over and tilted up a daffodil bloom with sensitive fingers, looking down into its open face.

“They are beautiful, aren’t they? Soon the daffodils will be flowering in England – some time, perhaps, I’ll see them again. Meanwhile these help to keep me contented. It is three years since I last set foot  on land.”

So Paul’s obvious question was: did the real Collingwood have flower boxes in the great cabin?

“Not that I know of”, was my reply; as much as I love the idea, I can’t really imagine that Collingwood would have had anything in the great cabin which could have slowed down or hindered preparations for battle. But maybe you guys know more than I do? Can you shed some light on this?

The possibly fictional flower boxes aside: do you know any other Age of Sail related tales which could help Paul with his work? If so, please do share here, or if you’d rather mail him personally, drop me a line, and I’ll put you in touch.

quarterdeck

Next I’d like to share some links with you which might be of special interest for those of you interested in genealogy and the various Collingwoodses who have contacted me through the years. They are an international lot! You can find them from Germany to Australia, and there’s even one in Japan! One of them, Gordon Collingwood, is a serious genealogist, and he has painstakingly pieced together over 50 separate branches of the Collingwood family tree, including the ancestors of Old Cuddy. You can visit his website here, but please note that you will need a user account to watch the content:

COLLINGWOOD ANCESTRY

Gordon has also started a DNA project:

COLLINGWOOD DNA PROJECT

He writes that his own DNA had been matched to another living Collingwood who has traced his family back to 1630 in Newcastle upon Tyne. So they both have Geordie roots! Feel free to contact him if you are a Collingwood (or related to a Collingwood) and would like to learn more.

paul_collingwood

Paul Collingwood – a chip off the old oak block?

(You won’t be surprised at all that Emma Collingwood’s DNA identified her as a direct descentant of Hieronymus Carl Friedrich Baron von Münchhausen…)

munchhausen

Münchhausen c. 1740 as a Cuirassier in Riga, by G. Bruckner

Advertisements

Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood: Wisdom will never go out of Fashion 7 March, 2012

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Family, Letters, Quotes, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want, Trivia, Vices and Virtues.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Vice Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood, 1st Baron Collingwood, died on 7th March, 1810 at the age of 61. Unfortunately, we couldn’t visit St. Paul’s Cathedral today as I’ve just started a new job, but be assured that “Old Cuddy” wasn’t deprieved of his annual gift of flowers. A very lovely flowerbox with red roses and berries, not unlike the one from last year, was placed on his tomb.

So rather than paying my respects in person, I’ll do so in writing. I won’t talk about naval battle strategies or politics, though. When asked why I took such an interest in some old admiral who died a gazillion of years ago, I usually say: “People with common sense never go out of fashion.” Collingwood was born in 1748, but had a more modern approach to many things and better understanding of human nature than a good number of people nowadays.

On 17 April, 1809, Collingwood wrote a letter to his daughters while aboard his ship, the Ville de Paris, anchored off Minorca. I dare say that we’d all live in a much better world if some of the advice he gave his girls was headed today. Actually, I petition for his pieces of advice to be printed on a 4x20ft banner and put up in the Houses of Parliament. I suggest neon pink vinyl, so that really nobody can miss it.

The education of a lady, and indeed of a gentleman too, may be divided into three parts; all of great importance to their happiness, but in different degrees.

The first part ist the cultivation of the mind, that they may have a knowledge of right and wrong, and acquire a habit of doing acts of virtue and honour. By reading history, you will perceive the high estimation in wihch the memories of good and virtuous people are held; the contempt and disgust which are affixed to the base, whatever may have been their rank in life.

The second part of education is to acquire a competent knowledge how to manage your affairs, whatever they may happen to be; to know how to direct the economy of your house; and to keep exact accounts of every thing which concerns you. Whoever cannot do this must be dependent on somebody else, and those who are dependent on another cannot be perfectly at their ease. (…)

The third part is, perhaps, no less in value than the others. It is how to practise those manners and that address which will recommend you to the respect of strangers. Boldness and forwardness are exceedingly disgusting, and such people are generally more disliked the more they are known; but, at the same time, shyness and bashfulness, and the shrinking from conversation with those with whom you ought to associate, are repulsive and unbecoming.

This quote was taken from the excellent book “The Five Hundred  Best English Letters”, selected and edited by The First Earl of Birkenhead, first published in 1931. I’d like to thank Esteven for the many hours of enjoyment I spent reading it.

Event: Record office lecture on Collingwood by Dr. Tony Barrow 8 April, 2011

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, Royal Navy, Talks.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
add a comment

On Friday, April 15 at 7.30pm, Dr. Tony Barrow will hold a lecture on

“Collingwood’s Northumbrians”

in the Parish Centre of Berwick.

Dr. Barrow will speak on the men from Tyneside and Northumberland who had social and family connections with Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood and how the latter supported them (or otherwise) in their naval careers.

Great subject, everyone is welcome,  admission is free and refreshments are available – so what are you waiting for?

Not-so-old Cuddy

( Source )

Letter by Collingwood up for auction: “Etc. etc. etc., Collingwood” 16 October, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, Lady Sarah, Letters, Quotes, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want, Trivia, Vices and Virtues.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

If you should have a spare £ 1’000.00 in your piggy bank (plus £ 2.20 for postage), you have the chance to become the owner of a letter Cuthbert Collingwood sent to Captain Hoste in HMS Amphion “by Hind”, reporting the presence of a French frigate at Palma, and ordering him to attack if the enemy ship “is found to be in a situation where she is assailable”. The letter was written “off Toulon, 4 May 1808”.

CLICK HERE TO HAVE A LOOK AT THE AUCTION

Letter from Vice Admiral Lord Collingwood to Captain William Hoste, 1808

As most of us very likely don’t have that amount of money to spend on letters, I recommend you purchase

THE OFFICIAL FESTIVAL BROCHURE

instead. It contains articles, never-before seen pictures and commentaries.

The price is £5.00 + £0.60 p&p in the UK, £5.00 + £2.00 p&p in the rest of Europe and £5.00 + £3.35 p&p if ordered from elsewhere in the world. Credit card orders may be placed by telephone 0191 – 2650040 (from overseas +44 191 2650040) or send an email directly to the publisher, Powdene Publicity, on info @ powdene.com – thanks!

This is a must-have item for all Collingwoodites!

From the written word to music: has anybody attended the event with The New Scorpion Band in Collingwood’s honour on the 9th October? I haven’t found any reviews so far; Ylla was there and commented on it, but if anybody else should have been there, please yell and let us know what it was like.

UPCOMING EVENTS

21st October is coming closer, and the good people of North Tyneside Council have organised

Toast the Admiral!

At 1200 midday on 21st October 1805, the opening salvo was fired in the Battle of Trafalgar as Vice-Admiral Collingwood’s Royal Sovereign came within range of the French ship Fougeaux. At 12.00 midday on this year’s Trafalgar Day, we will “raise a glass” to Collingwood’s memory at the monument in Tynemouth. This forms the last public event of the Collingwood 2010 Festival and everyone who is a follower of Collingwood and the Festival is welcome to attend.

Proceedings will start at 11.30am and the toast will be at 12.00 noon.

For more information, please consult the Official Collingwood 2010 Website.

“This forms the last public event of the 2010 Festival” – what about the future?

My health has unfortunately forced me these last months to cut back drastically on my time spent in front of a computer, TV set or anything else that’s flickering and blinking. So, until very recently, I’ve planned to stop updating this blog on Trafalgar Day and leave it up as a part of the 2010 celebrations; an archive, so to speak.

And then I thought: there are 8089230582395238 blogs in honour of Lady Gaga, but only one exclusively dedicated to Old Cuddy (to my knowledge, maybe there are 8709089080 others out there I haven’t found yet), get over yourself, woman!

So I’m very happy to tell you that not only “Old Cuddy” will stay, it will also be updated whenever I come across  something interesting and Collingwood-related.

Furthermore, I can confirm that laying flowers in front of Lord Collingwood’s grave at St. Paul’s Cathedral will become a yearly event.

Our dear regular reader ShipRat has posted a lovely excerpt recently from the correspondence between Collingwood and his wife, which I just have to share:

Queen, off Carthagena, Dec. 20, 1805.

“… The editors of the Naval Chronicle have written to me for the history of my life and progress, for which they are pleased to say the world is very impatient. Now this rather embarrasses me, for I never could bear the trumpeter of his own praise. So, to get rid of it as well as I can, I have employed _____ to write a history for me. For my birth and parentage he has selected two or three chapters of Bamfylde Moore Carew*: for my service in the ‘West Indies and on the Spanish main, he has good assistance in the History of the Buccaneers; and for my shipwreck he has copied a great deal out of Robinson Crusoe: all which, with a few anecdotes from the Lives of the Admirals, a little distorted, will make, I am inclined to think, a very respectable piece of biography.”

*i.e., “The Life and Adventures of Bampfylde Moore Carew, the noted Devonshire stroller and dogstealer”  (1745) a.k.a. “The Accomplished Vagabond”

He didn’t like to trumpet his own praise, but I think he can live with one wee blog. ;-)

Don’t forget the auction! Collingwood’s washstand has to go! 23 March, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Art, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, General, Nelson, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
add a comment

And for at least £ 36’000 – not a penny less! (The experts expect it to fetch £ 6’000 – £ 8’000, though…)

THE ‘NELSON TOUCH’ ARRIVES AT BONHAMS MARINE SALE

A remarkable variety of Nelson-related memorabilia, including a rare George III mourning ring, a collection of Baltic service dinner plates, and a silver urn given by Lady Emma Hamilton to her chemist, is being sold as part of The Marine Sale at Bonhams on 24th March 2010.

Of main interest to us here is of course

AN EARLY 19TH CENTURY COLONIAL TEAK GENTLEMAN’S BOW FRONT CAMPAIGN DRESSING COMMODE, VICE ADMIRAL COLLINGWOOD

You can see the complete catalogue for the auction here. And the catalogue is pretty much the only item I could afford!

Please also see the previous post on this auction.

Admiral Lord Collingwood 2010: Link Collection of Celebrations, Part 3 16 March, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, General, Online articles, Royal Navy.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Before we come to further online reports of the Collingwood 2010 Memorial Weekend, here’s a stunning picture of the (in)famous smoke ring during the Tynemouth salute; courtesy Captain Stephen Healy:

If that’s not the perfect 10 of smoke rings everywhere, then I don’t know what is!

COLLINGWOOD 2010 – MEMORIAL CEREMONY IN TYNEMOUTH
Report and pictures by Jen

Although all the official part was impressive, I think one of my favourite things was standing there on the monument afterwards and hearing a man beside me telling the lady he was with about how…

JournalLive: NORTH EAST PAYS TRIBUTE TO ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD

He was described yesterday as one of Newcastle’s greatest sons, a Northumbrian heart of oak, a great Englishman and a saviour of the nation.

COLLINGWOOD’S MONUMENT, TYNEMOUTH
Short report and pictures by Kathy

CELEBRATIONS – COLLINGWOOD MONUMENT AT TYNEMOUTH
Great picture taken by Allan

Not reports, yet still interesting:

Morpeth Herald: COLLINGWOOD – THE MAN WHO SAVED THE NATION

Author Andrew Griffin has welcomed the Collingwood Festival after writing a biography on the hero.

Morpeth Herald: HOTEL’S ADDING AN EXTRA TOUCH OF CLASS

You’ll be pleased to hear there’ll be a “Collingwood Bar” very soon!

It will have a seating and standing capacity of 200 and is scheduled to open on April 7, when a member of the Collingwood family will cut the ribbon, followed by an official opening ceremony on April 29.

Admiral Lord Collingwood 2010: Link Collection of Celebrations, Part 1 9 March, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, General, Online articles, Royal Navy.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
10 comments

Just returned home and try to make my way through a shipload of mails. For now, here’s the first part with links to reports about the Collingwood 2010 celebrations. More will follow.

First stop for all things “Collingwood 2010” is the official website, where you’ll find some great reports and pictures:

Collingwood 2010 Official Website: Morpeth opens the show …

… and Tyneside celebrates …

Check the website regularly for news!

BBC News: Trafalgar cannons fired to mark 200th anniversary

Cannons which last saw action at the Battle of Trafalgar are fired on Tyneside to mark the 200th anniversary of Admiral Lord Collingwood’s death.

BBC Gallery: Admiral Lord Collingwood celebrations

The Northern Echo:  Admiral Lord Collingwood celebrated on 200th anniversary of his death

Later, at the Tynemouth Collingwood Monument, the cannons from the Admiral’s Trafalgar flagship, Royal Sovereign, were “fired” – using pyrotechnics – to signal the start of a remembrance service. The cannons were last fired in battle on board Collingwood’s vessel Royal Sovereign as it led British ships in 1805.

Chronicle Live: Hero Admiral Lord Collingwood honoured

Captain Stephen Healy, chairman of the Collingwood 2010 Festival Committee, said: “The crowds were fantastic and the weather could not have been better. I think Admiral Lord Collingwood would have been quietly embarrassed by all the fuss we have made of him.”

JournalLive: North East pays tribute to Admiral Lord Collingwood

He was described yesterday as one of Newcastle’s greatest sons, a Northumbrian heart of oak, a great Englishman and a saviour of the nation.

JournalLive: Gallery – Lord Collingwood Anniversary

Thanks a lot to Jen for providing most of these links.

YOUTUBE

Luckily for those of us who couldn’t attend the celebrations ourselves, the ever-reliable public generously shared videos on youtube. Here’s one of the parade; just click the picture to watch it:

There’s more:

Gun salute from HMS Collingwood to Collingwood Monument, Tynemouth

And another one

Also, flowers have been laid at Admiral Lord Collingwood’s tomb in St. Paul’s; picture will follow soon.

And last but not least:

Admiral Lord Collingwood is the “Treasure of the Month” of the University of Newcastle.

Ladies and gentlemen, Collingwood’s washstand has landed! 26 February, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Art, Cuthbert Collingwood, Events, Family, Nelson, Royal Navy, things you don't need but probably want.
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

As announced before, Bonhams is holding a Marine Sale on 24th March, 2010. Up for auction are many interesting items (this is particularly amazing), but of course, of  main interest to us is

AN EARLY 19TH CENTURY COLONIAL TEAK GENTLEMAN’S BOW FRONT CAMPAIGN DRESSING COMMODE, VICE ADMIRAL COLLINGWOOD

With the owner’s family since September 1892, acquired from a dealer following a sale at Deal, in Kent of the effects of the late Vice Admiral Collingwood, by the family of the late Captain Anthony Cuthbert Collingwood RN (originally Denny), Vice Admiral Collingwood’s grandson.

You’ll find a detailed description plus pictures on Bonhams’ website. Just click the amazing flying washstand above.

The estimate for this formidable piece of furniture is £ 6,000 to £8,000. I’ll be grumpy as hell if it shouldn’t fetch more than Nelson’s pot de chambre. I wish I was rich, alas I’m not, so I can only hope this piece will find a good home – that mirror’s seen Collingwood’s face many times. A fascinating thought, isn’t it?

So – what did Collingwood look like? 10 February, 2010

Posted by Molly Joyful in Art, Books, Cuthbert Collingwood, Family, Lady Sarah, Letters, Trivia.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
8 comments

It’s not unrealistic to assume that some of the artists in the 18th century were flattering their customers. The absence of a smile, a clenched jaw and determined glare on a painting can be expressions of determination and a firm character or the artist’s attempt at hiding loss of teeth due to scurvy. Caveat visor.

But really, who could blame artist or customer; the wish to leave a positive image of oneself to future generations is timeless. If you’ve ever seen a picture of Madonna before and after photoshop-treatment, you know that photography can’t be trusted, either.

So, what about Admiral Lord Collingwood? Are we seeing his real face on the portraits?

I think it’s safe to say that the portraits of Admiral Lord Collingwood are more accurate than many others. While not without vanity (and really, who is!), he certainly wasn’t the man to insist on the “big hair” treatment. We know that he sent a portrait painted by Giuseppe Sorcevani to his wife Sarah, who hadn’t seen him for five years and was not pleased with the sight, to say the least. (Had she lived today, she’d probably posted a “OMGWTF” lolcat macro to her blog…)

Collingwood, who thought the artist was pretty much spot on with his portrayal, sent a snarky note to his dearly beloved:

I am sorry to find my picture was not an agreeable surprise (…) you expected to find me a smooth-skinned, clear-complexioned gentleman, such as I was when I left home, dressed in the newest taste, and like the fine people who live gay lives ashore. Alas! it is far otherwise with me (…) The painter represented me as I am, not as I once was. It is time and toil that have worked the change, and not his want of skill.
(ibid pp. 204-205)

We have to thank Captain Abraham Crawford for the following description of Collingwood. His memoirs are available for online reading here.

(…) At the time I write of, Lord Collingwood was between fifty and sixty, thin and spare in person, which was then slightly bent, and in height about five feet ten inches. His head was small, with a pale, smooth round face, the features of which would pass without notice, were it not for the eyes, which were blue, clear, and penetrating; and the mouth, the lips of which were thin and compressed, indicating firmness and decision of character. He wore his hair powdered, and tied in a queue, in the style of officers of his age at that time ; and his clothes were squared and fashioned after the strictest rules of the good old sea school, To his very ample coat, which had a stiff, standup collar, were appended broad and very long skirts—the deep flaps of his single-breasted white waistcoat, descending far below his middle, covered a portion of his thighs; and blue knee-breeches, with white stockings, and buckles to his shoes, completed his attire.

“Reminiscences of a Naval Officer, during the Late War” (1851) by Captain Abraham Crawford.
(Very special thanks to ShipRat for sending in this quote)

As this blog here is Very Serious Business, we went about the question of Collingwood’s looks with a strictly scientific approach. Means: we ran his portrait through the Facial Beauty Analyser. You’ll be pleased to hear that Admiral Lord Collingwood scored a stunning 8.94 points out of 10. That’s 0.01 point MORE than Orlando Bloom, and 0.29 points more than James D’Arcy.

Which proves – nothing. But it’s more fun than shovelling snow.