Remembering John Charles Beswick

Remembering John Charles Beswick

Remembering John Charles Beswick: 5/10/1888 – 22/4/1917

A monument was unveiled last weekend commemorating 200 East Cork men who died in World War 1. This memorial was the culmination of three years of work by a group of local people. Continue reading

What is an Arboretum?

What is an Arboretum?

An arboretum is a collection of different trees that can be cultivated for pleasure and beauty – such as in a very large garden or plantation. Or it may be used for the botanical study of the tree specimens contained in it.  The name comes from arbor, the Latin word for tree.

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The Fernery at Fota

The Fernery at Fota

The Fernery at Fota House

In the second half of the 19th century there was a craze for ferns.  This obsession came to be known as ‘fern fever’ or pteridomania – named after the Latin name for ferns which is pteridophytes. Ferns were collected, studied and admired on a very, very wide scale.  As well as becoming a feature in gardens and as houseplants the fern was ubiquitous as a decorative motif.  Fern patterns could be found on glassware, china, fabric, pottery, stucco and much more.  In fact if you look carefully at the corbels in the billiard room in Fota – now the café- you can see ferns in the plasterwork.

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Dining Room Ceiling Detail

Dining Room Ceiling Detail

Plasterwork_DR

The Dining Room at Fota was created by the Morrisons (architects Richard and his son William Vitruvius) in the early 1820s; the plasterwork on the ceilings and frieze on the higher parts of the walls is very decorative. On the ceiling, the usual motifs associated with wining and dining – perfectly formed grapes and vine leaves – are in abundance.

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Charles Beswick’s School Atlas

Charles Beswick’s School Atlas

Charles Beswick's School Atlas

 

John Charles Beswick’s Philips’ London School-Board Atlas
Whilst research was being made for the Irish Heritage Trust publications Aspects of Fota, a very kind donation of archival material was made by a gentleman in England who had connections to the Beswick family. The Beswicks lived and worked on the estate around the turn of the 19th/20th century, William Beswick (b.1854) being Head Gardener.
Among the items donated is a school atlas which belonged to their youngest son, John Charles Beswick, born in Cork on the 8th October 1888. His name is inscribed and stamped on the title page of the book, published in 1901. Apart from being an interesting document in itself, where one can see the Ireland of 1901 with its then major rail and high ways, the atlas is part of a collection of items pertaining to Charles.

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Bust of a Lady with Ringlets

Bust of a Lady with Ringlets

Marble Bust of A Lady with Ringlets

Artist Unknown, 19th Century
White marble; 61cm high

As yet, we do not know very much about this charming white marble bust of a lady. She is young, likely in her twenties or thirties, and wearing both her hair and her clothing in a fashionable manner associated with the Regency period of c.1811-1820, so called when King George III was alive but considered unfit to rule, his son The Prince of Wales acting as proxy until made King George IV in 1820.

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David Barry, First Earl of Barrymore (1604-1642)

David Barry, 1st Earl Barrymore

Ascribed to T. Luigi (1604-1642), Oil on canvas; 88.5 x 81cm
Inscribed on canvas, top left “A 1636 AE. Ts. Mths 9 TL”

When this portrait was examined in preparation for the exhibition Portraits & People: Art in Seventeenth Century Ireland at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork in 2010, Director Peter Murray threw up several anomalies. The name plate informs the viewer that this is a portrait of David Barry, 1st Earl Barrymore, 1605-1642 (he was in fact born in 1604); the inscription on the canvas tells us that the sitter was aged 66 and 9 months at the time of painting, and yet the year 1636 would have made David Barry 32, making it all rather confusing …

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