Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Life Drawing for Victorian Ladies


Corporal Shaw

I suppose some of us never really grow up. When serving, I visited my Regimental museum and among all the astonishing things to see and read was the story of Corporal Shaw.

It frightens me now that I should have learnt by heart the description of this regimental celebrity.

“..Corporal Shaw who cleft a scull so violently that the face fell off like a piece of apple”.

I have at last got round to reading, as time allows, a new book of my Regiment's History.

And there he is, Corporal Shaw, well documented, but without the line I quoted; perhaps too gory and school boyish to be included.

This excellent work by Barney White-Spunner, “Horse Guards”, (ISBN-13 978-1-4050-5574-1, Macmillan) reminds us that History books can be very interesting and captivating reading, even if you are not connected in any obvious way.

So for all you that are interested in Art, Corporal Shaw made a contribution too on this side of the English Channel!

He was according to The Household Cavalry Museum’s example above, posing as an artists’ model for ladies’ drawing classes.

This brings up an interesting point; we are sometimes led to believe that ladies were not allowed to attend life classes in Victorian England, so from that point alone this line is quite revealing!

I am indebted to General Barney and the Household Cavalry Museum for the use of this picture. A visit to The Museum is a must next time you are in London for all the family, and this book is an important addition to all respectable households.

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