Fair Rosamond and Robin Hood

A Letter To – Joseph Biden – President of The United States of America

Re: Establishment of an Creative American Diplomatic Culture

Dear Mr. President;

I am one of millions of loyal Americans who are happy to see you RESTORE the mission of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin in establishing a Democratic Diplomacy with our allies in Europe. After World War 2, Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt, established The British Defense Staff – Washington, in order to keep the bond made to defeat the enemies of Democracy. Since Trump got elected, I have been trying to find out what became of this organization. I believe it should be revived – and enhanced – so average citizens can take part, and demonstrate their commitment in defeating tyranny. What I would like to see is a joint Hands Across The Water Letter addressed to ‘The People of China’ apologizing for trading aggression leading to The Opium Wars. We – were wrong! We can learn lessons from History.

When Britain became a world power, thanks to the East India Company, certain men and women involved with letters, art, music, and drama – joined forces to MAKE a Modern British World Culture that would be representative of the British Creative Soul. Being the world’s foremost merchants, did make friends all over the world – and enemies. One attempt was to author and produce a opera to rival Italian operas. The opera ‘Rosamond’ was a disaster, and ended England’s only attempt to become the equal of what came out of Venice. However, there was a success story. Catherine Tofts, who played Queen Eleanor, married CONSOL Smith, who had an estate in Venice, where he developed the Art of British Diplomacy of The Arts.

This morning while searching for the short stories of my grandfather, Royal Rosamond, I came upon a image from a newspaper advertising a musical about Robin Hood, and a drama about Henry and Rosamond. My mother, Rosemary, and my aunt Lillian, both dated Errol Flynn who played Robin Hood. When he came to the Rosamond house early one morning, to serenade all four Rosamond daughter, my grandmother, Mary Magdalene chase his out with a broom, while in her long white nightgown. In this, act, a long creative tradition, continues.

Royal was a writer, and good fiend of Dashiell Hammet. He self-published books on his Ozark ancestors – who were real Rednecks. The Republican Christian-right has employed Rednecks, and Cowboys to give themselves – extra ownership of America. They bid Trump to retreat from the world, and wage a sick holy crusade against the Democratic Party. Our enemies took note of this covert Civil War, and now – ATTACK! Putin threw a book at you – and us – titled ‘The Little Golden Calf’ . In answer to this, glove across the face, I summon – with a whistle – Fair Rosamond and Robin Hood, who have joined forces. They are The People’s Champions. Lady Marian and Rosamond have been compared.

In 1970, I did a painting of my muse, Rena Easton. When my sister saw it, she took up art and became the world famous artist, Rosamond. Christine Rosamond Benton married into the Benton family of artists. I am inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites, as was N.C. Wyeth, whose illustrations of Robin and King Arthur, were the models Hollywood employed to make the magical and daring epics that We Young Americans beheld – and were inspired to fight for our Freedom – because we believed we had the very best reasons to do so.

Mr. President, I beseech your help in establishing a Creative Diplomatic Service, so Lovers of Liberty will forever be able to put forth our best reasons, and own those reasons, so we can not just reject the offering of tyrants, but………own what has always REPLACED TYRANY!

Yours Truly

John Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press

A bonny fine maid of a noble degree,
With a hey down down a down down
Maid Marian calld by name,
Did live in the North, of excellent worth,
For she was a gallant dame.

For favour and face, and beauty most rare,
Queen Hellen shee did excell;
For Marian then was praisd of all men
That did in the country dwell.

‘Twas neither Rosamond nor Jane Shore,
Whose beauty was clear and bright,
That could surpass this country lass,
Beloved of lord and knight.

The Earl of Huntington, nobly born,
That came of noble blood,
To Marian went, with a good intent,
By the name of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood and Maid Marian | Robbins Library Digital Projects (rochester.edu)

Rosamond (opera) – Wikipedia

Addison and Clayton both objected to the new practice of having parts of operas performed in London sung in Italian; they felt that the texts used should be examples of the finest literary English.[2]:31 Addison however followed the norm of Italian opera by having three male and three female characters.[1]:98

In 1705 Clayton had enjoyed considerable success with his opera Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus which had run for twenty-four nights in its first season, as well as eleven nights the following year.[3][4] There were three further performances in 1707, but by that time Antonio Maria Bononcini’s Camilla had appeared on the stage, and the public appetite for a better musical experience had moved on.[5]

The cast of Rosamond was Francis Hughes (King Henry), Catherine Tofts (Queen Elinor), Richard Leveridge (Sir Trusty), Miss Gallia (Rosamond) and Miss Lindsey as Grideline.[6] This was the same cast as had performed Arsinoe, suggesting that Addison was seeking to introduce his English libretto to a company of singers who had already shown they could achieve great success.[7]

The action is drawn from the poem The Death of Rosamond by Thomas May. It concerns the story of Rosamond Clifford, mistress of Henry II of England. A jealous Queen Elinor poisons her but she recovers, and Henry repents of his sin.[6] While Queen Elinor regains her husband’s love by appealing to his sense of destiny, a comic subplot involves Sir Trusty and his wife Grideline, and the interplay between the two is similar to the ‘split-plot’ plays of John Dryden.[8]

The opera emphasised the importance of unity and Britishness, contrasting the gentle character of Rosamond with the vengeful French queen. It was accompanied by a prologue that compared Marlborough to Henry II, and at the climax of the story the sleeping Henry sees a vision of the future of the spot where he is resting and a huge plan of Blenheim Palace is unfurled on stage.[7]

Joseph Smith often known as Consul Smith, (c. 1682 – Venice, 6 November 1770), the British consul at Venice, 1744–1760,[1][2][3] was a patron of artists, most notably Canaletto, and a collector and connoisseur, banker to the British community at Venice and a major draw on the British Grand Tour.[4] His collection of drawings were bought for George III of Great Britain and form a nucleus of the Royal Collection of drawings in the Print Room at Windsor Castle.[5]

Catherine Tofts or Katherine Tofts (died 1756) was the first English singer who sang Italian opera in England.[1]


About 1704, the competition between Tofts and Margherita de l’Épine was in earnest. Perhaps to illustrate the famed rivalry, Marco Ricci painted L’Épine with her back to Tofts, in the composition Rehearsal of an opera (c.1709) .[2]

Jonathon Swift has a short poem about Mrs Tofts in his “works” which talks of her beauty. It is thought however that the verse was written by Alexander Pope.[3]

Tofts quit the stage in 1709 and married Joseph Smith, English consul at Venice.[1] They had a son but he died as when still a child and Catherine became mentally ill. She died in 1756 and her husband married again the following year.[4]


Smith the collector[edit]

Joseph Smith, a man of obscure origins, was educated at Westminster School before travelling to Venice. Smith took up residence in 1700 in the import-export trade and merchant banking house of Thomas Williams, the British consul; he eventually headed the partnership of Williams and Smith and made a modest fortune.[6] His reputation was as a passionate collector,[7] of paintings and drawings – both of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century masters and of living artists – and of manuscripts and books, coins and medals, and engraved gems.[8] Beside Canaletto, among the living painters whom he patronised were Francesco Zuccarelli, of Florence, and the Venetian Giuseppe Zais. His favoured architect for rebuilding the façade of his palazzo was Antonio Visentini.

Smith and the Pasquali press[edit]

It was his pleasure to issue lavishly-printed books in extremely limited editions, for which he had the services of Giovanni Battista Pasquali, whose press he bankrolled.[9] A reproduction of Boccaccio‘s Decamerone from the Pasquali press, guided by Smith, was so exact a facsimile of the rare edition of 1527 that only close examination tells them apart. A Catalogue Librorum Rarissimorum[10] was in fact a partial catalogue of the outstanding rarities in Smith’s own library; the first edition consisted of twenty-five copies.[11] A second edition (1737) adds thirty-one titles. A general catalogue of his library was published in 1755.[12]

Smith’s patronage[edit]

Smith’s central role in the network of patronage of painters in eighteenth-century Venice, in which he created a market in the taste for vedute, was as the prime facilitator of purchases made by the British aristocrats passing through on the Grand Tour. As the agent for Canaletto for several years circa 1729–35, he virtually controlled the artist’s output, to the benefit of both; it was Smith who arranged for Visentini to engrave thirty-eight of Canaletto’s views in 1730,[13] and Smith who encouraged the artist to make his successful trip to London in 1746. Smith himself was a passionate collector of contemporary Venetian painting and drawings, of etchings and engravings. In 1768 he published a facsimile of the original edition of Andrea Palladio‘s I quattro libri dell’architettura of 1570. In 1762 Smith sold the vast majority of his books, gems, coins, prints, drawings and paintings – including many works by Canaletto – to the young George III for £20,000. The books today form the nucleus of the King’s Library, now transferred from the British Museum to the British Library, while the Royal Collection retains his other treasures.

Musical Smith[edit]

Smith’s other passion was for music, which he indulged in part by marrying the noted but temperamental soprano Catherine Tofts (c.1685–1756). She had been the first true prima donna in London, who had introduced Italian opera in Thomas Clayton‘s Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus (1705), the first Italian-style opera heard in England, and Bononcini‘s Trionfo di Camilla (1706), and who arrived in Venice in 1711, where Smith immediately made her his wife.Capricco of Mereworth Castle (cropped at right), by Antonio Visentini and Francesco Zuccarelli, commissioned by Consul Smith, 1742 (Royal Collection)

“Consul” Smith[edit]

His appointment as British consul was gazetted on 24 March 1743, Old Style (1744 by modern dating),[1] after which he was the “Consul Smith” whose name appears in every history of eighteenth-century British collecting and art patronage. He retained the post until the accession of George III in 1760. In expectation of his appointment Smith purchased outright the Palazzo Balbi on the Grand Canal, which he had heretofore been renting, on 20 April 1740. Soon thereafter he commissioned Antonio Visentini to redesign the façade in the Palladian style. Smith, who was in correspondence with the “architect earl”, Lord Burlington, was as devoted to Palladio as any of his British visitors: in the 1740s he asked Canaletto (whose agent he had been for many years) to paint the principal buildings by Palladio in Venice. A production of the Pasquali press was a facsimile of Andrea Palladio’s Quattro libri dell’Architettura, as it had been printed in Venice, 1570, but presented as an eighteenth-century bibliophile felt it ought to have been printed in the first place, on fine paper with generous margins and engravings substituted for the original woodcuts. Further neo-Palladian structures in a veduta ideata fantasy setting commissioned by Consul Smith are the series of eleven paintings commissioned in 1746[14] from Francesco Zuccarelli and Antonio Visentini showing English Palladian structures in idealised fantasy settings.[15]

Smith’s summer villa in the terraferma was at Mogliano Veneto; it does not survive.

Dispersing the collections[edit]

George III began to form his library by purchasing Smith’s in virtually its entirety in 1765, for £10,000; they form that part of the British Library known as the “King’s Library”.[16] Smith did not stop collecting: the dispersal of his second collection of books by auction in London, took thirteen days in January–February 1773.[17]

Many of Smith’s paintings also went to the British Royal Collection, through the mediation of James Smart Mackenzie, brother of Lord Bute.[18] The collection is celebrated for its dazzling series of Venetian views by Canaletto, together with other Italian views by Canaletto and works by Sebastiano RicciFrancesco Zuccarelli and Pietro Longhi. On a more workaday level, there are numerous architectural drawings of sixteenth-century architecture at Venice and at Vicenza made in the studio of Antonio Visentini that are scaled in British feet and must have been intended for some British milordo.[19]

A generous selection of his manuscripts were purchased by Lord Sunderland for the library at Blenheim Palace, which was dispersed in turn in the nineteenth century.


At quite an advanced age, the widowed consul Smith, his wife having died in 1746, married a sister of John Murray, resident at Venice and afterwards British ambassador to Turkey. His grave was on the Lido, where Goethe, travelling in the late seventeen-eighties, stopped to pay respects: “to him I owe my copy of Palladio, and I offered up a grateful prayer”.[20] The palace that he owned in Venice is now known as Palazzo Smith Mangilli Valmarana.

Rosamond (opera) – Wikipedia

Master of the Queen’s Music (or Master of the King’s Music, or earlier Master of the King’s Musick) is a post in the Royal Household of the United Kingdom. The holder of the post originally served the monarch of England, directing the court orchestra and composing or commissioning music as required.

The post is broadly comparable to that of poet laureate. It is given to people eminent in the field of classical music; they have almost always been composers. Duties are not clearly stated, though it is generally expected the holder of the post will write music to commemorate important royal events, such as coronations, birthdays, anniversaries, marriages and deaths, and to accompany other ceremonial occasions. The individual may also act as the Sovereign’s adviser in musical matters. Since 2004 the appointment has been for a fixed term of ten years rather than for life, as previously.

Robin Hood – Wikipedia

Wyeth in Camelot – Nick Louras

Genesis of The Royal Janitor | Rosamond Press

China, Its Military Might Expanding, Accuses NATO of Hypocrisy (msn.com)

Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus by Thomas Clayton was the first Italian-style opera (in English) to be staged in England.[1] It premiered at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 16 January 1705.[2] There were various historical women named Arsinoe, but from the mid seventeenth-century the name became popular for fictional characters who, like the title-role of this opera, bore no relation to any of them.[3]

Catherine Tofts or Katherine Tofts (died 1756) was the first English singer who sang Italian opera in England.[1]

Joseph Smith (art collector) – Wikipedia

History of foreign relations of China – Wikipedia

East India Company – Wikipedia

Originally chartered as the “Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East-Indies”,[6][7] the company rose to account for half of the world’s trade during the mid-1700s and early 1800s,[8] particularly in basic commodities including cottonsilkindigo dyesugarsaltspicessaltpetretea, and opium. The company also ruled the beginnings of the British Empire in India.[8][9]

Hillary Clinton says Republicans have been flirting with Putin’s authoritarianism by denying 2020 election results (msn.com)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday said there are people within the US who doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s work for him by continuing to cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election. Her comments came as President Joe Biden held a historic summit with Putin in Geneva, Switzerland.

China’s former leader, Deng Xiaoping, famously used an old proverb to describe the country’s foreign policy after the end of the Cold War: “Hide our strength, bide our time.” Those days are long gone.

China now faces a world that increasingly views its economic and military might as a threat that must be confronted, as NATO’s leaders made clear in their summit in Brussels.

While China poses virtually no direct military threat to Europe, which is NATO’s home field, it can now flex its military power in ways that were unimaginable only a few years ago — not only in Asia, but also globally.

Wyeth in Camelot

Posted on  by Nick Louras

I have previously noted my affection for the golden-age American illustrator Newell Convers Wyeth (1882-1945). His luminous interpretations of boys’ adventure novels from Treasure Island to The Last of the Mohicans have been imprinted on the imagination of several generations.

Wyeth did his best work illustrating Medieval romances, which is not surprising given that his mentor Howard Pyle specialized in the genre. In 1917 Wyeth followed up his breakthrough edition of Treasure Island with a subject previously popularized by Pyle himself: the adventures of Robin Hood.

Robin Hood And His Merry Men
Robin and His Mother Go to Nottingham Fair
Robin Meets Maid Marian
Robin Hood and His Companions Lend Aid to Will o’ th’ Green
Little John Sings a Song at the Banquet
The Passing of Robin Hood

The same year Wyeth tackled the great chivalric subject: King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Boy’s King Arthur was a loose adaptation of Malory by the American poet Sidney Lanier, first published in 1880.

Today the book is mostly remembered for Wyeth’s illustrations. One can see the lingering influence of the Pre-Raphaelite artists on Wyeth via the Brandywine School where Pyle taught.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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