The Wendlings of Penkill Castle

Tale of the Four Towers

by

Jon Presco

Copyright 2017

Christine Rosamond Benton was a New Pre-Raphaelite, like her brother. No other information is needed, for it places her in the cyber-tower at the New Penkill Castle in the Land of the New Wendlings located on the shores of Bodega Bay California.

Millions of people all over the world, will never enter a museum, or, ancient castle, on their two feet. Their fingers will take them there, and almost anywhere they want to go. How many explorers on the internet will visit the Buck Institute, or, Alcohol Justice? Where is the testimony of The Poor the Marine Community Foundation allegedly helped. Can we chat with them? Where is the Art, that is eluded to? Is it too much trouble to create a cyber-museum that caters to works of art done by Poor People?

Did you know the family of Robert Brevoort is connected to Leonardo Da Vinci’s portrait of Mona Lisa, that some art scholars suspect may be of Marguerite de Navarre who made Leonardo a guest in one of her splendid Chateaus. Unfortunately, this is a splendid family myth, that Robert Brevoort Buck, probably knows nothing about, and will be the crux of my books ‘Capturing Beauty’ and ‘The Story of Rosamond’.  This myth, now falls under my copyright! I win!

That is Bob Buck’s alleged kin standing tall on the façade of a building in Detroit – with cote of arms – that may not be applicable, unless……..Robert de Navarre come alive in an Epic Art Movie…..that will bring alive the children of Wendling Oregon, and William Morris, who was a great influence on J.R. Tolkein.

The proceeds of this movie will buy back Penskill Castle and render it into a Pre-Raphaelite Museum. Perhaps it can be dismantled and brought to the Land of the New Wendling in Bodega Bay, and thus ending the curse. My saga ‘The Four Towers’ will constitute the Tale of the Hobbits, Harry Potter, and Arthurian Romances in America, along with several Renaissances.

 

A painting of Fair Rosamund by Scott, hung on these castle walls.

Many of my Pre-Raphaelite heroes came to live and visit Penkill Castle where on the walls is a mural painted by Scott. You can see our family named carved in the tree.

Jon Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

Scott, William Bell; Fair Rosamond Alone in Her Bower; Glasgow Museums; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/fair-rosamond-alone-in-her-bower-85986

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marguerite_de_Navarre

As a guest of the king, who provided him with a comfortable stipend, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, connected to the château by an underground passage

A romantic Scottish castle, which became a shrine for the Pre-Raphaelite art movement, was sold yesterday to a private buyer.

The sale, to a Scots-born Canadian businessman, ends the hopes of Scottish heritage organizations who were trying to buy the 16th-century castle.

Penkill Castle, near Girvan in Ayrshire, a summer haunt for Victorian artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris, was sold by Elton Eckstrand, an American. An auction this month of many of Penkill’s paintings, ceramics and other objets d’art, ended the battle to keep the castle and its art under one roof. Heritage organizations, including the Penkill Trust, wanted the Government to buy Penkill as a heritage treasure trove. The contents sale, which raised pounds 98,593, effectively killed off the campaign.

Picture

Grade School
This picture was taken in 1946.The people that lived in the company houses had to leave when the mill shut down in 1946.

https://rosamondpress.com/2016/08/16/tigers-in-paper-houses/

https://rosamondpress.com/2016/05/16/joaquin-and-leonie/

https://rosamondpress.com/2014/04/03/to-the-rossettis/

https://rosamondpress.com/2013/08/05/joaquin-miller-and-william-morris/ 

miller2

William_MorrisChristine Rosamond Benton and I were drawn into Tolkien’s Trilogy. The artist known as ‘Rosamond’ could not put these books down, nor could I. This caused our mutual friend, Keith Purvis, a British subject, to comment;

“She doesn’t know these books are real.”

We three were original hippies who took the Lord of the Rings to heart as we modified the modern world, made it over more to our liking, we oblivious to what normal folk were about. This is exactly what William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brother and Sisterhood did. They – returned!

I discovered the Pre-Raphaelites in 1969 and let my hair grow long for the first time. I gave up drugs in 1967 and was looking for a spiritual format. I came under the spell of the Rossetti family who were friendly with Joaquin Miller. We Presco children knew Miller’s daughter as ‘The White Witch’ and we would call her for advice. Miller’s home ‘The Abbye’ was above our home in the Oakland Hills. Our kindred were friends of Miller, who was also a friend of Swineburn, who wrote ‘The Queen-Mother and Rosamund’ and ‘Rosamund Queen of Lombards. Tolkien was inspired by the Lombards.

Filed away in Rosamond’s probate is my plea to the executor to allow me to be my sister’s historian. I mention Miller and Rossetti. I saw myself in the role of Michael Rossetti who had his own publishing company. He published Miller and other famous poets. When I was twelve, my mother read evidence I might become a famous poet.

All my imput has been ruthlessly ignored, because petty un-creative minds have forced our families creative legacy down the tiny holes of their hidden agendas, into the mouths of worms and parasites, because these ignorant people sensed I and the real Art World, did not let them in the door – would never admit them into our circle, our ring of genius!

Jon Presco

http://www.ochcom.org/miller/

Copyright 2011

rossett9

Yesterday I received in the mail a book I ordered on E-Bay. I quickly scanned it to see if their were any illustrations or photographs. Then, I found it, what amounts to my personal Holy Grail. Joaquin Miller dedicated his book of poems ‘Songs of The Sun-Land’ to the Rossetti family that includes Gariel, Michael, and, Christine. Gabriel was a artist and poet, Michael, a publisher, and Christine, a poet.

“TO THE ROSSETTIS”

There is controversy over this dedication. Michael is against it. He is critical of Miller’s poems that takes the reader to the Holy Land. Joaquin is describing a personal relationship with the Savior that reminds me of how Bohemians and Hippies would view Jesus, he a Nature Boy of sorts.

Gabriel, who had Joaquin over to his house for dinner, where he met several members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood seems to address his brother’s objections in a letter, and gives a tentative go ahead. He talks about Miller sending him a photograph of himself and bids him to say a word or two at the bottom of it, that does not exist. This photo may be the famous one taken by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, who is better known as Lewis Carrol the author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. If Joaquin had glued this portrait to a piece of paper, then we might have seen it on the dedication page.

What is going on here is extremely profound. Miller has exported his vision and lifestyle to the England, where he wrote Song of the Sierras, and now he is importing to America a cultural brand that contains Grail and Arthurian subject matter that was at the epicenter of the work of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

The Rossettis may not have been too happy with Miller attaching himself to their star because the British are very protective of their culture. I wish I could say the same thing about the University of Oregon that is about to tear down homes that were once in the city limits of Fairmount, the city founded by Joaquin’s brother, George Miller.

The homes the Miller brothers lived in are registered and protected as Monuments. There is a Joaquin Miller State Park near Florence that was founded by George who also promoted the Winnemucca to the Sea Highway. There needs to be a Monument for George. I suggest the homes on Columbia Terrace be spared, and this city block declared a National Monument. I have suggested these homes be used to house homeless Vets going to college, but now I see a Free College on this site due to the student loan crisis.

This college will teach alternatives to prospective students of the UofO, such as having parents of students purchase a home in Eugene. In many cases a mortgage is cheaper than rent. Teaching your children how to get a job rather then attend college, will produce more home ownership that the UofO who promises jobs – that don’t exist!

The Miller Brothers were born on a farm near Coburg. They went into the world and achieved much. They are a cultural icon too Oregon and California. On page ten of the prelude, we read;

“By unnamed rivers of the Oregon north’
That roll dark-heaved into turbulent hills,
I have made my home….The Wild heart thrills
With memories fierce, and world storms forth.”

I once read that many college students didn’t know there was a Oregon, and if they did, they didn’t know where it is. The Rossettis more than likely read these words. Did they go to a globe to see where Joaquin and George live?
How many students at the UofO know who the Miller brothers were, and the Brotherhood.

Jon Presco

Copyright 2014

William Morris had a major influence on J. R. R. Tolkien. As John Garth points out, unlike most authors traumatized by the experience of World War I, Tolkien did not “discard the old ways of writing, the classicism or medievalism championed by Lord Tennyson and William Morris. In his hands these traditions were reinvigorated so that they remain powerfully alive for readers today” (40). His love of Morris, in particular, goes back to his undergraduate days when he turned from studying the Greek and Latin classics to the the northern traditions — the language and literature of the Scandinavian and Germanic past. According Garth,
William Morris, from the late 1870s on, decided to “remedy” the defects of the real historical record by producing specific works of “pseudo-history,” fully-fleshed stories that he could present as “re-discovered” manuscripts of ancient tribal lore. So eager were the Germanic speakers of 19th century Europe to know more about their ancestors, that sometimes even academically trained scholars would be fooled by the books Morris wrote, and asked him for his sources, and wanted to read the original saga manuscripts themselves. To which requests Morris replied “Doesn’t the fool realize, that it’s a romance, a work of fiction — that it’s all lies!” (from May Morris, daughter of W. Morris recollections).

https://rosamondpress.com/2013/08/05/joaquin-miller-and-william-morris/

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) died while guest of Marguerite and her brother, Francis I. They had been raised at Château d’Amboise, which belonged to their mother, Louise of Savoy. The king maintained his residence there and Marguerite maintained a residence nearby. During the first few years of the reign of Francis the château in which he lived reached the pinnacle of its glory. da Vinci had been the architect of a large château for them, among many other projects, and they provided quarters for him when he left Italy and joined her court. As a guest of the king, who provided him with a comfortable stipend, Leonardo da Vinci came to Château Amboise in December 1515 and lived and worked in the nearby Clos Lucé, connected to the château by an underground passage. Tourists are told that he is buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, adjoining the Château, which had been built in 1491–96.[8]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marguerite_de_Navarre

After the death of her first husband in 1525, Marguerite married Henry II of Navarre. Ferdinand II of Aragon had invaded the Kingdom of Navarre in 1512, and Henry ruled only Lower Navarre, the independent principality of Béarn, and several dependencies in Gascony. Approximately a year after the lead image (in the information box) that was painted by Jean Clouet, on 16 November 1528, Marguerite gave birth to a daughter by Henry, the future Jeanne III of Navarre, who became the mother of the future Henry IV of France.

Bewailing In my chamber thus allone
Despeired of all loye and remedye
For tirit of my ihoght/and wo begone

Scott first painted the subject of Rosamund in 1854, for exhibition in the Royal Scottish Academy. This version is later, but hard to date precisely. The legend of the fair Rosamund had it that she was a beautiful and virtuous woman, loved by King Henry II. Her bower was said to have been surrounded by impenetrable thickets of roses (in the language of courtly love, this represented chastity).

It hung at Penkill Castle, where it was painted. Penkill, in Ayrshire, Scotland, was the ancient family seat of Scott’s faithful friend, Alice Boyd. Scott visited annually until 1885, when he moved in permanently. He wrote: “The glen below the house was the most interesting to me, and revived my ancient landscape proclivities. Every summer for nearly ten years I painted there.” (Minto, vol. II, pp. 75-6) Scott was an intimate and faithful friend of Rossetti, also both poet and painter. Through Rossetti, Scott knew Holman Hunt, too, and contributed two poems to The Germ in 1850. However, because he remained in Newcastle until 1864, and because he was nearly twenty years their senior, he had no closer involvement in the affairs of the Pre-Raphaelites.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924022056786/cu31924022056786_djvu.txt

Penkill Castle is a 16th-century castle with later additions. It is situated around half a mile south of the village of Old Dailly, to the north-east of Girvan in South Ayrshire, Scotland.

History[edit]

The 16th-century tower was built by a branch of the Boyd family, relatives of the Earls of Kilmarnock, and extended several times. The original 16th century square three-storey tower was extended in the 17th century to create an L-shaped building. The castle later when into a decline, becoming near ruinous by the early 19th century. Starting in 1857, the site was drastically restored and a modern wing added on the east.[1]

The castle owner has been known as the Laird of Penkill, starting in the 16th century with Adam Boyd, 1st Laird of Penkill. The lairds were all men until the 14th Laird, the artist Alice Boyd, in the late 19th century. She is credited with extending the original castle grounds after she became laird.

The 16th Laird of Penkill, Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd, was also the last; she sold Penkill Castle in the 1980s. It was bought by an American lawyer, Elton Eckstrand, who further restored it.[2] In 1992 Penkill was sold by Eckstrand to Scots-born Canadian businessman Don Brown, then subsequently in 1993 to the then HTV Wales chairman and TV producer and director Patrick Dromgoole, and thus remains in private hands.

Penkill Castle played a minor part in the history of the British Pre-Raphaelite movement. In the late 1850s, the Pre-Raphaelite artist William Bell Scott began a liaison with Alice Boyd, whose brother was then the laird. Scott visited Penkill often and on one occasion painted a series of murals illustrating James I‘s poem The Kingis Quair in the staircase. Scott died at Penkill on 22 November 1890.[3] The castle was frequented by other Pre-Raphaelite artists and writers, including Christina Rossetti, who wrote of it: “Even Naples in imagination cannot efface the quiet fertile comeliness of Penkill in reality.”[4]

A romantic Scottish castle, which became a shrine for the Pre-Raphaelite art movement, was sold yesterday to a private buyer.

The sale, to a Scots-born Canadian businessman, ends the hopes of Scottish heritage organisations who were trying to buy the 16th-century castle.

Penkill Castle, near Girvan in Ayrshire, a summer haunt for Victorian artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti and William Morris, was sold by Elton Eckstrand, an American. An auction this month of many of Penkill’s paintings, ceramics and other objets d’art, ended the battle to keep the castle and its art under one roof. Heritage organisations, including the Penkill Trust, wanted the Government to buy Penkill as a heritage treasure trove. The contents sale, which raised pounds 98,593, effectively killed off the campaign.

Don Brown, the new owner of the castle, graduated in chemistry from Glasgow University in 1955 and then emigrated to Canada. He had been searching Scotland for his dream home with his fiancee, Leslie Lander. They live on a luxury yacht in Toronto harbour. The couple plan to marry in the new year and hold their reception at the castle.

Mr Brown said that if the castle had been put on the market in Canada it would have almost certainly been taken into public ownership because of its historical significance. His comment has brought even more embarrassment to the Scottish heritage organisations which failed to buy Penkill as a national asset.

The sale price is believed to be about pounds 400,000, close to the asking price. Dr Eckstrand originally wanted pounds 1m for Penkill but lowered the price to allow heritage groups a realistic chance to purchase it.

The sale will exclude certain art treasures that were not sold at the auction. It is understood that a painting by William Bell Scott, a double portrait of Spencer Boyd, the 14th Laird of Penkill and his sister, Alice, may be allowed to remain hanging in Penkill with Mr Eckstrand retaining ownership.

The painting is said to be cursed, a claim given credence by one owner who tried to remove it from the castle but collapsed and died.

Mr Brown, who through ownership becomes the 19th Laird of Penkill, said he did not believe in superstitions but he is understandably cautious about the Scottish legend.

about. This beautiful depiction of the poem by James I, the King’s Quair (ie quire or book), was viewed by our members in two groups. Parts of the mural are still lovely but many parts are requiring restoration. The mural was finished in 1868. Many Pre-Raphaelite adherents visited and stayed at Penkill and brought gifts. William Morris wrote this description of Penkill to his daughter: “The place is lovely. It lies on the hillside on a spit of ground with a beck running on either side. From the tower you can see the great wide Firth of Clyde – Ailsa Craig plain to see and the mountains of Arran in the distance.”

After his wife’s death, William Bell Scott came to stay with Alice and he designed the banqueting hall which was added in 1883-1885. William Bell Scott died in 1890 and Alice in 1897.
A happy chapter ended and Penkill passed into the Courtney Boyd family and near oblivion for 75 years.

In “The General Armory”, by Sir Bernard Burke, 1884, page 110, the following entry is recorded;  “Boyds of Trochrig”
Azure. a fesse chequy argent. and gu betw. two crosses
crosslet fitchee in chief, and as many stars in base of the
second.  Crest – A Sun dial or Motto – Eternitatem cogita.”

 

The first of the Boyds of Penkill was Adam Boyd, third son of Alexander, third Lord Boyd. Adam was the father of James, who became the first Laird of Trochrague. Adam Boyd is credited with having built Penkill Castle round about 1490. It is, however, more likely that he first went there shortly after his marriage in about 1532.  Indeed, this appears to be proved by certain among several hundred documents relating to Penkill in the 16th and 17th centuries, which were found in the floor of an attic in Ayr. The Marquis of Bute reviewed these old writs in a lecture to the Scottish History Society. Dated in 1563, one of these old papers is a Note of Assignation by David Muir in Kilkerran, in which Muir states that he had a right to the lands of “Pinkhill” (an old  spelling of the name) from which he states he was “wrongously ejected by Adam, his servants and

Photo:Alice Boyd 15th Laird of Penkill

accomplices in July 1532″ and he in 1563, claims “all the rents and profits of these lands for the past 31 years or thereby.” The 35 earlier writs dated between 1532 and 1563 mentioning Adam Boyd, mostly describe him as “in” Pinkhill and the preposition “of” then appropiate for ownership is not used, until later on in the 1560’s, though it does occur occasionally as early as 1544.  It would thus seem certain that though he was the first Boyd Laird, Adam Boyd in about 1532 occupied Penkill about 40 years after it had been built, and that his occupancy became fully recognized at law some 35 years later still, after settlement in the 1560’s of the dispute with Muir.

Photo: Spencer Boyd 12th Laird

The same documents show that in 1558 Adam Boyd’s neighbor Kennedy of Bargany attacked him at Penkill under cover of night, wounded 6 of his friends and besieged the Castle for 4 days to try and seize it and kill him. Boyd was rescued by the Earl of Glencairn and Lord Boyd, who missed this siege “and conveyit Adam with great difficulty forth of the same.”

These old writs show that Adam Boyd died in 1572 (not 1554 as stated in Seymour Clarke’s book) predeceased by his son Robert, and was succeeded at Penkill by his grandson Adam Boyd, whose tutor, discharged in 1580, was Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock.

Photo:  Spencer Boyd 14th Laird
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It  seems  Penkill Castle was purchased by an American, Elton A. Eckstrand,
in 1978.  Eckstrand, from Grosse Pointe, Michigan became the eighteenth laird of
Penkill.  Agents for the seventeenth laird,  Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd,  offered
Penkill for sale to the highest bidder together with a first option to purchase
its contents. The contents included a large collection of paintings, furniture,
clothing,  manuscripts,  china,  silver,  armor,  vases,  rugs, and the general
mementoes of centuries of castle life.   The castle was unoccupied for at least
a year before Mr. Eckstrand purchased it and was in need of some repair.

The London Times had an article entitled “Art Lovers Plead for Rescue of Castle
Treasures” relating to the tenuous fate of  Penkill Castle.  “In this condition
none of the art treasures will last very long…… Evelyn May Courtney-Boyd, a
distant relative of Alice Boyd….. now 84… She was described by friends as a
strange, impulsive, but generous woman, with no head for money, who continually
found  herself in  debt over her fuel bills, rates, and the like.”  The article
mentioned  those  who  had  contributed to the castles decline, among them pro-
fessors, a milk man, antiques dealers, and friends of  the  seventeenth  laird,
people  who  had  sought  to  gain at the castle’s expense. Of all those inter-
lopers, the “milk laird” as the Sunday Times referred to the local milkman, and
his  apparent  tangle  with  the alleged curse of Penkill most precipitated the
eventual  sale  of  the  castle.  The curse, as explained in the  village pubs,
dooms  to  certain  death  anyone who dares bring harm to Penkill, and I recall
reading in Alice Boyd’s diary written in the  1860s how,  when opening a window
one morning, she noticed a stranger impaled on a tree branch in the glen below.
Apparently  slipping  from the castle wall, this would be burglar had fallen to
his death.

The recent tale spawned by the curse concerns  milkman  Willie Hume, who in the
early 1970s, having long delivered Courtney-Boyd’s meager  dairy  requirements,
suggested that he would  be  delighted  to  furnish  her  with a  hot meal each
evening if he and  his  wife could occupy the empty gatehouse. Living alone and
apparently  lonely  in the  twenty-five room castle, the laird quickly accepted
the milkman’s offer.

At some time after his move to the gatehouse the milkman suggested to the laird
that  if  she  appreciated  his presence she would permit him to  purchase  the
gatehouse in order to ensure herself continued company. He  then  purchased the
dwelling for a nominal sum, and soon  made a  more  brazen  request:  He sought
permission for him and his wife to move  into  the  castle.  It  seems that the
evening  walk  up  to Penkill from the gatehouse was getting too  strenuous for
them. And move in they did.

Soon  paintings  from  the  Penkill  collections  began to appear in Scotland’s
auction rooms, and as has been related in news accounts,  one evening while the
milkman and a glasgow antiques dealer were  visiting the castle’s Rossetti Room
a most unusual event took place.  In this room hangs a painting by William Bell
Scott portraying the  fourteenth and  fifteenth lairds, Spencer and Alice Boyd,
atop one of Penkill’s  towers  overlooking  the  sea.  The painting is securely
fastened  to  a  fireplace  overmantel  and  carries  in  faint  gold  leaf the
inscription: “Move not this picture, Let it be, For love of those in effigy.”
The antiques dealer is reported to have expressed an interest in the painting
but, having noticed the warning and being aware of the castle’s curse, decided
to pass on the purchase.

The  milkman,  however,  who  was attempting to pry the painting from the over-
mantel with a poker,  began choking and fell to the floor.   He died later that
night of angina, and shortly thereafter his widow and the now largely dependant
seventeenth  laird  left  the  castle  abruptly and with few  possessions.  The
story goes that the milkman’s  widow inherited  from the  seventeenth laird the
proceeds of the castle’s  eventual sale,  purchased a  pub that failed, and  is
today  a  cleaning lady in a hospital near  Perth in Scotland.

The Topsaic Tapestries and Penkill Castle
Jan Marsh
Penkill Castle near Girvan in Ayrshire was the home of Alice Boyd and William Bell Scott, fellow artists and friends of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. After their deaths (in 1897 and 1890 respectively) its interior furnishings survived almost intact in a sort of ‘sleeping beauty’ manner until 1992 when most of the moveable items were dispersed following the sale of the property. Among these were some needlework wall-hangings designed by William Morris the existence of which like that of the great Red Lion Square chairs – long remained unknown. Morris and Scott first met in the late 1850s through their common acquaintance with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. By this date Morris had abandoned architecture in favour of art but was beginning to be known as a poet and author of medievalstyle tales, which Scott read and admired in 1856 in the Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, shortly before Rossetti, Morris, Burne-Jones and the rest began painting their famous Arthurian murals in the Oxford University debating chamber. Scott was invited to join this ‘jovial campaign’, but declined, being otherwise occupied, with his own sequence of historical pictures for Sir Charles and Lady Trevelyan at Wallington in Northumberland, and by his duties as principal of the government School of Design in Newcastle. Here in 1859 he met Alice Boyd, who was to become his lifelong companion in a virtual menage atrois with Mrs Scott. Before moving there permanently in 1864, he went to London once or twice a year to see friends and exhibitions. In 1861 he visited the Morrises at Red House, as he later described:
The only thing you saw from a distance was an immense red-tiled, steep and high roof; and the only room I remember was the dining room or hall, which seemed to occupy the whole area of the mansion. It has a fixed settle all round the walls, a curious music-gallery entered by a stair outside the room, breaking out high upon the gable, and no furniture but a long table of oak reaching nearly from end to end. This vast empty hall was painted coarsely in bands of wild foliage over both wall and ceiling. The adornment had a novel, not to say startling character, but if one had been told it was the South Sea Island style of thing one could have easily believed such to be the case, so bizarre was the execution.1
Scott’s memory made an amalgam of various rooms, but the impact, at once innovative and primitive, of the Red House interior decoration and furnishing is clear. Famously, Rossetti referred to Red House as ‘the Towers of Topsy’. Scott said it was built in the style of the thirteenth century. With its great wooden staircase, wall decorations and painted furniture, Morris’s home was envisioned in the
35
manner of a late-medieval dwelling. This fortuitously linked it with Penkill Castle, a genuine late-medieval building, which Scott visited for the first time in this same year, 1861, when the atmosphere of Red House was fresh in his mind. Four miles from the coast on a ridge of the Carrick Hills, Penkill was originally a square defensive pele tower, built or re-built in the sixteenth century, with ground-floor stabling and three rooms above. Later a similar wing was added on the north side, linked by a circular staircase tower in the angle, but all was in a ruinous condition when inherited in the 1850s by Alice Boyd’s brother Spencer, the latest laird of Penkill. Spencer Boyd was a woodcarver and antiquarian, who began to restore the fabric and re-furnish the castle with old oak furniture, armour and tapestries, aiming to re-create an authentically archaic interior. When Spencer died suddenly in 1865, Alice and Scott continued the restoration, turning Penkill into a summer residence, where they generally lingered until the first frosts. Scott developed his interest in mural art with an ambitious scheme ascending the restored and enlarged circular stairway, which illustrated The Kingis Quair, the fifteenth century poem written by James I of Scotland while imprisoned in England. The mural was completed by 1868, although both the spiral space and damp condition of the walls caused problems, and the work has seriously deteriorated.2 Though stylistically distinct, it must share its inspiration not only with the Oxford Union murals but also with the Sire Degravaunt sequence done in the summer of 1860 by Burne-Jones in the Red House drawing room, below the gallery described by Scott. Elsewhere at Penkill other mural decoration recalls Scott’s account of ‘bands of wild foliage’ on the walls and ceiling at Red House, in the shape of walls adorned with painted orange trees, window embrasures with scenes from Romance, and a vine-leaf trellis covering the main bedchamber. There are also occasional stencil motifs reminiscent of those at Red House. All is done in a consciously amateur manner and it is evident that no professional decorators were employed. Scott and Alice Boyd exhibited Morrisian tendencies in their liking for painted furniture, too; among Penkill’s possessions until 1992 was a carved and painted oak coffer, decorated with three figures and a quotation from Proverbs: ‘Better a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith’. This loosely relates to a number of other pieces produced in the Morris circle in the late 1850s and early 1860s: the heavy painted chairs decorated by Morris and Rossetti for Red Lion Square (now in the Delaware Art Museum), the great settle whose painted door panels by Rossetti are in the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the ‘Chaucer’ wardrobe painted by Burne-Jones for the Morrises (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford); the ‘Kind and Cruel Ladies’ cabinet painted by Burne-Jones (now in the V&A) and so on. There is also the built-in settle with its unfinished decoration in the Red House entrance hall. In terms of wall-covering there were also similarities with Red House. Unrecorded until 1991, the dining-room at Penkill had one wall entire1y covered with an original fabric ofnavy blue serge, embroidered in crewel wools with stylised flowers and motifs, worked in blanket and darning stitch, with couched stalks. Even cruder in execution, this strongly resembles the Daisy hangings designed by Morris around 1860 and embroidered on navy blue serge by Jane and her female companions for Red House, which were rediscovered in 1962 at Ke1mscott Manor
36
in five sections totalling 1.5 x 3.8m.3 The Penkill serge, loosely attached to battens on the roughcast walls of the pele tower, faded to khaki where it was exposed to the light, but in a few places survived in remarkably pristine form. As well as the piece on the main wall measuring approximately three by five metres, smaller sections hung over the windows and door. The motifs, mainly in red and white, were more thinly scattered than those of the Daisy, and we can presume it was worked by Alice Boyd during her sojourns at the castle; again, its technique is consciously rough and ready, as if stitched at speed. Most notably of all, also at Penkill for many years, were some fabrics which Rossetti called ‘theTopsaic tapestries’ in allusion to Morris’s nickname, and which following the sale of the castle were put up for auction at Christies in 1994. Now known as the Qui bien aime embroidered hangings, two of the four existing panels are now in the William Morris Gallery, in Walthamstow, London, and two remain in private possession.4 These have been identified as early Morris products, but their exact date of origin is unclear. The fabric was in place at Penkill by the late summer of 1868 when Rossetti saw it while staying with Alice and ‘Scotus’ (his nickname for Scott). In a letter to Alice of 17 November, after his return to London, Rossetti inquired whether some projected decoration had yet been completed: ‘I wonder has Scotus’ peppermintand-mud tint been applied to the wall surrounding the Topsaic tapestries – I saw it standing in tempting profusion ready for use’.5 Although not identical in style or workmanship, the Qui bien aime fabric from Penkill is comparable in execution to the If I Can hanging designed and partly worked by Morris himself in 1856-7, now surviving at Kelmscott Manor. In both, the linen ground is completely covered with flat stitching in crewel wool and the design comprises a regularly repeated motif and a short quotation, each derived from a medieval source. In the Penkill fabric, the full quotation is ‘Qui bien aime tard oublie’ (‘Who loves well forgets late’ or ‘Who loves best forgets last’)6 and the motif consists of a stylised fruit-laden tree and two herons taking flight. The inscription, in a ‘Gothic’ script similar to that used by Morris in his early calligraphy,? is placed on a scroll around the trunk of the tree. As they survive today, the background stitching is in mottled pinks, the motifs in faded green, yellow, grey and white, the lettering in black. The trees, scroll and bird motif are borrowed from ‘The Dance ofWodehouses’, a fifteenth century manuscript illustration in a copy of Froissart’s Chronicles in the British Museum,8 where such a design appears as a wall-covering alongside another that inspired the Daisy design. This source was a favourite with the Morris/Rossetti circle from at least 1858. However, according to Linda Parry, chemical analysis of the yarns in Qui bien aime has detected a synthetic violet dye which became available only in the early 1860s. Expert opinion had similarly identified the stitching ofat least three embroiderers, ‘one far more competent than the others’.9 An array of yarns appears to have been used for the background field, whiCh has faded in strips and patches not corresponding with exposure to light. As they survive, the Qui bien aime panels comprise two larger pieces measuring approximately 180 x 135cm and two thinner strips roughly the same height.lo They show signs of having been cut down and may originally have been part of a single piece six feet high and nearly fifteen feet wide. However, as Rossetti’s letter
37
refers to ‘tapestries’, by 1868 they presumably already consisted of more than one section. When rediscovered in 1991, the four panels were positioned on the walls and door-jambs in a passage connecting the original castle to the new hall designed by Scott. It would appear they were re-hung – and perhaps cut to size – in this location in 1885-6 when the new hall was built. Formerly – from at least 1868 they hung elsewhere; perhaps on the walls of the ante-room linking the circular stair with the first-floor drawing room in the pele tower. Rossetti’s letter indicates their dusky red tones were to be complemented by ‘peppermint-and-mud’ paint on the walls – presumably above the dado and below the top rail or frieze (commonly a space about six feet in height). It is also possible that the fabric originally hung in the drawing room itself, as in its original state the ‘tapestry’ was evidently a splendid sight, fully in keeping with the archaic atmosphere of the reconstructed castle. If the original placing of the hangings at Penkill is uncertain, their arrival there is even more so. From the limited information available, the ‘Topsaic tapestries’ were probably designed by Morris and produced by a small team of embroiderers not before ‘the early 1860s’ when the violet dye was introduced. The circumstances of their production are at present quite unknown. It is possible that, when Alice Boyd and Scott took over the re-furnishing of Penkill in 1865-6, they sought appropriate wall-coverings (paper not being practical on the uneven castle walls, even without the damp conditions) and turned to Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. (‘the Firm’), which from its foundation in 1861 advertised embroidery and wall-coverings among its products. However, although the period 1866-8 is the most plausible date for install’ltion at Penkill, the Qui bien aime design and execution do not accord with anything else produced by the Firm in the late 1860s, when it was occupied with prestigious commissions at St James’s Palace and the South Kensington Museum. It would appear far more likely that Boyd and Scott acquired, by purchase or gift, an item of earlier manufacture. Comparing Qui bien aime to If I Can, the Christie’s 1994 sale catalogue entry conjectured that stylistically the two were virtually contemporary, as the motifs and technique would indeed suggest; however, the later discovery of the violet dye indicates this cannot be the case. In her 1996 exhibition entry, Linda Parry notes that the Firm’s work on display at the 1862 International Exhibition included ‘antique-looking tapestry-hangings . . . effective in colour but of rude manufacture’.l1 She further notes that the Firm’s hangings were priced at £3 per square yard. Though Parry does not therefore identify these with Qui bien aime, the account she gives is an accurate description of their appearance, and it could be that the hangings shown at the International Exhibition remained with the Firm first in Red Lion Square and then in Queen Square until a new home in the shape of Penkill Castle presented itself a few years later. If so, Qui bien aime would have been produced in the early part of 1862, Morris employing a design that harked back to his first embroidery and commissioning a small team of stitchers, perhaps but not certainly including his wife Jane (who had her second child in March 1862 and was in any case at Red House). In view of the amount of work involved in such dense embroidering with an intricate repeating motif, if the Penkill pieces represent the whole of an originally single piece covering ten sq. yds., a price of
38
£300 does not seem unreasonable, although it would evidently have been a very large sum for a private customer. Until more information about the Firm’s early productions and sales comes to light, we cannot know whether such an account of Qui hien aime fits the facts. It is, however, also plausible to conjecture that Rossetti was responsible for the deal whereby the hangings travelled to Penkill, for as one of the partners in the Firm’s early years he was an active salesman for its products and services. He himself collected old furniture, fabrics and metalware – as shown in many descriptions of his house in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea – and at some stage he present an eighteenth century needlework picture showing Christ and the woman of Samaria to Alice Boyd.12 It is therefore easy to imagine him persuading her and Scott that the ‘Topsaic tapestries’ were just right for their castle walls. Morris himself visited Penkill in 1888, at the height of his involvement in the Socialist cause, while addressing political meetings in Scotland. ‘The place is lovely’, he wrote to his daughter Jenny:
it lies on the hillside on a spit of ground with a beck running on each side just like Naworth {the.home of the Earls of Carlisle in Cumbria]. From the tower you can see the great wide firth (of Clyde) Ailsa Craig plain to see, and the mountains of Arran lying in the distance: there were beautiful daffodils out in the woods, and more blackbirds than one could count.13
Sadly for present purposes, however, if he and his hosts remarked on the newlypositioned hangings, now 25 years old, no record was committed to paper, and their existence remained unrecorded for another century. As with the re-discovered Red Lion Square chairs, the re-appearance ofthe ‘Topsaic tapestries’ helps to build a vivid picture of Morris’s early aims and inspirations in decorative art, and underline the outlandish impression made by the first productions of the Firm.

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/fair-rosamond-alone-in-her-bower-85986

http://www.victorianweb.org/painting/scott/paintings/3.html

http://www.leicestergalleries.com/19th-20th-century-paintings/d/a-victorian-dressing-table-from-christina-rossettis-bedroom-in-penkill-castle-a/248591

http://www.leicestergalleries.com/19th-20th-century-paintings/d/a-victorian-dressing-table-from-christina-rossettis-bedroom-in-penkill-castle-a/248591

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuBai6HU9EM

http://www.morrissociety.org/JWMS/13.4Spring2000/SP00.13.4.Marsh.pdf

The Kingis Quair (“The King’s Book”)[1][2] is a fifteenth-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland. It is semi-autobiographical in nature, describing the King’s capture by the English in 1406 on his way to France and his subsequent imprisonment by Henry IV of England and his successors, Henry V and Henry VI.

http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924009773932/cu31924009773932_djvu.txt

When the lady departs, the narrator becomes desperately sad, and eventually falls into a trance. In a dream, he visits three goddesses, who address his love-problem. The first, Venus, admits that she has no authority in this case, and directs him to Minerva, who probes the nature of his love. Once satisfied that his desires are pure, rather than being simple lust, she advises him on the nature of free will, telling him that he must cultivate wisdom if he is to avoid being prey to changing fortunes. Finally, he descends to the earthly paradise, where he sees Fortune and her wheel, which fill him with fear. Fortune sets him to climb on her wheel, and as she pinches his ear, he awakes.

This print is based on a painting by the artist Arthur Hughes. Hughes, though not a member of the Brotherhood, was closely associated with the Pre-Raphaelites. He was friendly with Scott and Alice Boyd and visited them at Penkill, completing several paintings of the Castle.  It is very likely that the two figures in this picture are Scott and Boyd.

http://www.futuremuseum.co.uk/collections/arts-crafts/arts/artistic-communities/penkill.aspx

http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~clanboyd/page6.htm

http://www.ntsayrshire.org.uk/PenkillOuting.html

As part of a 1986 court settlement, the Marin Community Foundation was established which administers the trust, today valued at approximately $1 billion.[11] The settlement distributes 80% of the trust’s annual earnings to causes specific to Marin County. It divides the remaining 20% among three Marin County organizations:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/heritage-groups-lose-battle-for-romantic-castle-1566080.html

http://www.ayrshireroots.co.uk/Towns/Dailly/Penkill.htm

 Penkill Castle was built in 1470 A.D.
 just after the reign of  Robert the   
 Bruce.  It was a Scot's keep,with the 
 door about halfway up the wall and the
 only way in was by rope.On three sides
 of the castle the ground drops down   
 steeply which was good for defence.The
 only side that you could attack from  
 was the front entrance and that was   
 well defended because of small slits  
 in the walls from which  archers shot 
 their arrows.                         
  The old part of the castle has three 
 wings,and a tower was built in 1857 to
 join the wings.There is a stone statue
 of an owl which is about two feet tall
 sitting on the roof of the banquet    
 hall and there are more inside.These  
 are known as the castles symbols.     

http://www.futuremuseum.co.uk/collections/arts-crafts/arts/artistic-communities/penkill.aspx

The long dayes and the nyghtis eke
I wold bewaille my fortune in this wis?
For quhich agane distress? confort to seke
My custum was on mornis for to ryse
Airly as day/”o happy exercis?
By the come I to loye out of torment
Bot now to purpose of my first entent

(30)
Bewailing In my chamber thus allone
Despeired of all loye and remedye
For tirit of my ihoght/and wo begone
And to the wyndow gan I walk In hye
To se the warld and folk pat went forby
As for the tyme/”though I of mirthis fude
M.yght haue no more/- to luke It did me gude

(31)
Now was there maid fast by the touris wall
A gardyn fair? and in the corner/i set
Ane herber? grene with wandis long and small
Railit about/and so with treis set
Was all the place/-and hawthorn hegis knet
That lyf was non walking there forby
That myght within scars? ony wight aspye

• In drede is lightly stroked through.

 

1 8 THE KINGIS QUAIR— AMENDED TEXT

XXXII

So thik the bewis and the leues grene
Beschadit all the aleyes that there were,

And myddis euery herbere myght be sene
The scharpe greng suetg ienepere,
Growing so faire with branchis here and there,

That, as it semyt to a lyf without,

The bewis spred the herbere all about ;

XXXIII

And on the smalg grenfi twistis sat
The lytill suete nyghtingale, and song

So loud and clere the ympnis consecrat
Off lufis vse, now soft, now lowd among,
That all the gardyng and the wallis rong

Ryght of thaire song, and, in the copill next,

Off thaire suete armony, and lo the text :

XXXIV

[Cantus]

” Worschippeth, je that loueris bene, this May,
For of your blisse the kalendis are begonne.

And sing with vs, away. Winter, away !

Cum, Somer, cum, the suete sesoun and sonne !
Awake for schame ! that haue jour hevynnis wonne,

And amorously lift vp jour hedis all,

Thank Lufe that list 30U to his merci call.”

XXXV

Quhen thai this song had song a lytill thrawe.
Thai stent a quhile, and therewith vnaffraid.

As I beheld and kest myn eyne a-lawe,

From beugh to beugh thay hippit and thai plaid,
And freschly in thaire birdis kynd arraid

Thaire fetheris new, and fret thame in the sonne,

And thankit Lufe, that had thaire makis wonne.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to The Wendlings of Penkill Castle

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    I am applying for a grant so this information will have a home. A major university asks for this history – they do not know exists! Robert Brevoort Buck and the foundation he created won’t help me.

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