Wildlife at the Mausoleum

The title of Earl of Kilmorey was created in 1822 for Francis Needham, former MP for Newry. He was succeeded by his son, Francis Jack Needham (1787-1880), whose final resting place is the Kilmorey Mausoleum, on the northern edge of the St Margarets area of Twickenham, near the boundary with Isleworth.

The Environment Trust is holding an Open Day here today to introduce us, the public, to the local wildlife, and to offer a guided tour of the Grade II listed structure. You can learn about the hedgehog population of Barnes, and how to build a bee nursery, then sit under the trees with a slice of banana bread and tea from an enamelled tin mug.

Martyn Day (see Weekender: Martyn Day, musician, 67 in The Guardian, 24/2/2012) and a colleague from the St Margarets community give a highly entertaining presentation that takes us inside the Mausoleum itself.

Needham married his first wife, Jane Gun-Cuninghame, in 1814. They had four children, and separated in 1835. Jane died in 1867.

Lord Kilmorey scandalised Victorian society by “eloping” to France with his ward, Priscilla Anne Hoste (1823-54), when he was in his late fifties and she was twenty. Her father had died when she was small, when Kilmorey was made guardian of Sir William Hoste’s six children. Priscilla’s mother, Lady Harriet Walpole, “allegedly was careless of her relations with Lord Kilmorey”.

The couple returned to England a year later, and their son Charles was born in Cross Deep House (demolished 1906, situated opposite Radnor House, which Kilmorey may also have owned or occupied), Twickenham, on the 19th July, 1844.

In 1846, Needham moved downstream from Cross Deep to Orleans House. That house in turn he sold in 1850 to Marie Amelie, widow of Louis Philippe (see post of 30/6/19). Moving still farther downstream, he bought St Margaret’s House, formerly the country seat of the Marquess of Ailsa. The House gave its name to the area; in 1854, the St Margaret’s Estate was laid out for building family houses, becoming one of the first garden suburbs, and modern St Margarets dates from the arrival of the railway. The Ailsa Tavern is over the road from the Mausoleum.

Needham had demolished and rebuilt St Margaret’s House by 1852. At about the same time he bought and lived in Gordon House (then known as Railshead). Having for a period been part of the Brunel University site, it is now a gated luxury development once more.

Priscilla died at their London home in 1854, of “a disease of the heart”. The Kilmorey Mausoleum, a handsome structure in the Egyptian style, was commissioned by Kilmorey in the 1850s, and originally erected in Brompton Cemetery to receive Priscilla’s coffin, with the inscription “Priscilla, the beloved of Francis Jack, Earl of Kilmorey”.

Following her death, Needham treated Charles as his favourite, taking him everywhere with him. He sold St Margaret’s House and leased out Gordon House, moving to Woburn Park, Chertsey, and taking the mausoleum with him.

In 1867, Needham married Martha Foster (she survived him, living until 1908). The newly married couple and the mausoleum returned to Gordon House. As Kilmorey Road now crossed his estate, the Earl, there is good evidence to suggest, had a tunnel constructed beneath it to facilitate access to the mausoleum from his house. The 2nd Earl of Kilmorey died at his home in 1880 and, as planned, his remains joined those of Priscilla in the Kilmorey Mausoleum.

William Logsdail: “Greek Theatre, Taormina, Sicily”

Raby, P: “Samuel Butler”, p279, writing of 1901:

“Butler’s journeys were ritual retracings of his personal map of Europe…:

“…We went to Trapani and up the mountain, saluting all our friends; then through Castelvetrano back to Palermo and on through Catania to Taormina where we found William Logsdail, the painter, with his family…”.

(Logsdail (1859-1944) lived and painted in Venice from 1881-1887 and from 1892-1901. After spending two years around Taormina, Sicily, he and his family returned to England, settling in what is now Talgarth Road, West Kensington, in the Barons Court area.

In 1903, Logsdail made his home No 5, St Paul’s Studios. This was one of a row of eight artist’s houses completed along Colet Gardens in 1891 by Frederick Wheeler. Their top floors were dedicated studio space, with huge round headed windows to allow maximum natural light to flood in, and overlooking the extensive grounds of St Paul’s School.)

The root of psychotherapy

Etymologically speaking, that would be psyche, of course, from the Greek psukhe – breath, life, soul – via Latin, to appear in English in the mid 17th Century, meaning some variation of the innermost self. (Some authorities say that the word passed directly from Greek to English in the 16th Century.) Karl Friedrich Canstatt coined the term psychosis in his Handbuch der Medicinischen Klinik (1841). Freud first used the term psychical analysis in his article on The Neuro-Psychoses of Defence (1894).

On its Mythical Quest page, the British Library recounts The Tale of Cupid and Psyche:

“Psyche’s quest to win back Cupid’s love when it is lost to her first appears in The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius in the 2nd century AD….

….In her search for him she undertakes a series of cruel and difficult tasks set by Venus in the hope of winning him back.”.

A matter of days ago, musical duo Iamthemorning released their new single, Song of Psyche. Vocalist Marjana Semkina explains:

“The song is vaguely based on a story of Cupid and Psyche, originally written by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (Platonicus) for his Metamorphoses in the 2nd century and borrowed by the Pre-Raphaelites for their paintings.

It’s a story of a beautiful mortal woman, who had to go all the way to Hell to earn her place next to her lover Cupid. She’s sent to the Underworld by Aphrodite, who really isn’t expecting her to come back, to retrieve a box filled with beauty ointment from Persephone, but Persephone puts eternal death-like sleep in the box instead.

Curious as she is, Psyche opens the box and falls asleep – and then Cupid comes to rescue her…”.

Looking at Waterhouse’s painting of 1903, Psyche Opening the Golden Box, do you hold your breath?

Maya Angelou: “Every person needs to take one day away”

From 1867, Samuel Butler studied at Heatherley’s art school in Newman Street, London. John Butler Yeats was a younger fellow pupil, and wrote: “We were art students and tried to be Bohemian, or would have done so had not Butler been one of us.”.

Henry Festing Jones (1851-1928), an English solicitor and writer, is remembered as Butler’s friend and posthumous biographer. He wrote:

“The school skeleton was always getting knocked about, and no wonder; the students used to dress it up in the costumes and dance with it.”.

The picture’s title was intended to be “Tinkering a Skeleton”, featuring old Tom, an assistant at the art school. By the time it was completed, old Tom had been replaced by the Principal, and the title became “Mr Heatherley’s Holiday: an incident in studio life”, the private joke being that Heatherley reputedly never went on holiday.

Elinor Shaffer comments: “The classical and the popular gothic are in dialogue in this painting.”.

Butler listed the painting’s failure to sell as one of his reasons for abandoning painting to concentrate on writing. Raby, p146:

“….he had the pleasure of seeing “Mr Heatherley’s Holiday” hung in the Academy. On June 10th, 1874 he sailed for Montreal.”.

“So hot it is almost collapsing”

That’s the glass, not the weather – in Kew Gardens today there is a pleasant, light drizzle.

I’ve come to see the exhibition by Dale Chihuly, “Reflections on Nature”, which continues until 27th October. Thirty two glass artworks are displayed in thirteen locations within the walled boundaries of the gardens, indoors and out. In addition, there is a stunningly lit, extensive display in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art of earlier and smaller works by Chihuly.

Giovanna Dunmall reviewed the exhibition when it opened in mid April, for Wallpaper* magazine. She observed that Dale (“I never met a color I didn’t like”), the Seattle based glass pioneer, has always pushed the boundaries of glass, blowing it until it’s impossibly thin. He is creatively motivated by the notion of pushing glass to the edge of its technical abilities, when it is “so hot it is almost collapsing”.

The artist was joined at the press view by his wife, Leslie, who told Giovanna that the exhibition is a way of “bringing art lovers to gardens and garden lovers to art”.

“Twilight In the Wilderness”(1860), Frederic Edwin Church

Raby, P: “Samuel Butler”, p77:

“….Each moment I felt increasing upon me that dreadful doubt as to my own identity – as to the continuity of my past and present existence – which is the first sign of that distraction which comes to those who have lost themselves in the bush. I had fought against this feeling hitherto, and had conquered it; but the intense silence and gloom of this rocky wilderness were too much for me, and I felt that my power of collecting myself was beginning to be impaired.”.

Rites of Passage

The influence of Samuel Butler (1835-1902) has been observed in the writing of George Bernard Shaw, H G Wells, Lytton Strachey, the Woolfs, E M Forster, Ivy Compton Burnett, Robert Graves, and James Joyce.

On the last day of September 1859, having quarrelled with his father, the Rev Thomas Butler, over issues of faith and ordination, he embarked for New Zealand, where he would remain until 1864.

Butler’s biographer (1991), Peter Raby, concludes Chapter 5:

“When he finally went to bed, for the first time in his life he did not say his prayers. The rites of passage had begun, and the ties with Langar were loosened further. “The night before I had said my prayers,” he recorded, “and doubted not that I was always going on to say them, as I had always done hitherto. That night, I suppose, the sense of change was so great that it shook them quietly off.”.

In William Golding’s “Rites of Passage” (1980), he describes being aboard a ship motionless at sea:

“Now and then some sea creature will shatter the surface and the silence by leaping through it. Yet even when nothing leaps there is a constant shuddering, random twitches and vibrations of the surface, as if the water were not only the home and haunt of all sea creatures but the skin of a living thing, a creature vaster than Leviathan.”.

Dr Raby continues in Chapter 6:

“New Zealand held out to young men the promise of freedom: “They were all so delighted with the prospect of the untrammelled life before them that they felt it necessary to make some gesture of contempt for the conventions they had left behind, so the first evening ashore they built a huge bonfire, piled on it their top hats and tail coats, and danced in a ring round the blazing fire.”.”…

…Washing his hands before dinner at the Mitre, he was disconcerted to overhear through the scrim partition a snatch of conversation:

“Have you washed yet?”


“Don’t you mean to wash this year?”


When his neighbours turned out to be clean and respectably dressed, he realised they were sheep farmers talking shop.”.

On his first expedition, in April 1860, Butler commented:

“….”If a person says he thinks he has seen Mount Cook, you may be quite sure that he has not seen it. The moment it comes into sight the exclamation is, “That is Mount Cook!” – not “That must be Mount Cook!” There is no possibility of mistake.”.”.

”The King of Voix Mixte”*

*Oren Lathrop Brown (1909-2004)

Claudel Callender, musician of Montreal, wrote an obituary for Oren Brown which described him as a pioneer in the field of voice therapy. He quoted Dr Robert T Salatoff, who wrote, “He was one of the first singing teachers to work regularly in a medical setting, collaborating with an otolaryngologist long before interdisciplinary approaches to voice training teams were popular.”.

In “Discover Your Voice” (1996), Oren Brown wrote:

“Another analogy is that of the fairytale princess locked in a tower with no means of escape except a spool of thread. By holding on to one end, she could drop the other end to her prince waiting below. He could then attach a stronger thread which the princess could then pull up to her balcony. By gradually increasing the strength of the thread he attached, she could eventually gain a rope of sufficient length and strength to hold her…

…I hope you have deduced from this discussion on resonance that it has a great deal to do with what is called power.”.

Spools of suffering

Pictured: Sigmund Freud with grandsons Ernst and Heinz Halberstadt.

Sigmund and Martha Freud named their fifth child Sophie, after the niece of Freud’s Hebrew teacher, and evidently she was her mother’s favourite. Sophie married the portrait photographer Max Halberstadt, a distant relative of the family. On 11th March, 1914, their elder son, Ernst, was born, making Sophie’s parents into new grandparents.

Stephen Frosh, reviewing Daniel Benveniste’s “The Interwoven Lives of Sigmund, Anna and W. Ernest Freud”, wrote in the Times Literary Supplement in June 2015:

“The best known moment of W. Ernest Freud’s life came when he was just eighteen months old, in September 1915, and still called by his original name of Ernst Wolfgang Halberstadt. Grosspapa Sigmund visited his daughter Sophie in her home in Hamburg and watched his little grandson at play. Ernst’s simple game has become the most famous one in the history of psychoanalysis, and was made to bear an enormous weight of meaning in Freud’s book Beyond the Pleasure Principle (1920) – a book which delivered a radical refashioning of drive theory.”.

Ernst would “take a wooden reel and throw it into his curtained cot, so it would disappear from sight. “O-o-o-o”, he would say, which his mother and grandfather translated as “fort”, “gone”; and then with a “joyful “da” “, he would draw the reel out again into the light….Now we see it, now we don’t; an infantile game that can sum up a whole lifetime…

…..Sophie’s death destroyed the family and the prospect of ever recovering the lost haven. It was very sudden – she was ill for just five days – and very cruel; she was just twenty six years old and pregnant with her third child. Freud was devastated….(he wrote) to Sandor Ferenczi, “Wafted away! Nothing to say”. This last sounds like the child’s perspective, fort and fort again…

…And then the turn of the screw: in 1923, aged only four, the angelic little brother was also lost to “military tuberculosis”…

….Freud commented, “For me, that child took the place of all my children and other grandchildren, and since then, since Heinerle’s death, I have no longer cared for my grandchildren, but find no enjoyment in life either”.”.

Carol Ann Duffy’s four stanza poem “War Photographer” opens with the lines,

“In his dark room he is finally alone

With spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.”,

and closes with:

“From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where

He earns his living and they do not care.”.