Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hudleston’s Garden from Brodie Castle or “We Agree to Disagree” : A (Virtual) Bun fight with the Theosophists Running ‘Blavatsky News’

Agree to disagree or disagree to agree, why quibble? More to the point, what makes Theosophists come down from the supposedly high ground which they occupy to take issue with an obscure blogger albeit one with a disclosed identity?! That is the subject of this blog post. (I say “disclosed identity” because the bloggers of Blavatsky News have a becoming or, as the case may be, unbecoming reticence about making their identities known, even in private correspondence with me, merely signing ‘Blavatsky News’).

So, what is the fuss about? It springs from an old post by me in this blog, right here : "One Touch of Adyar Changes us Forever " . It is a post, a very long one, about some topography in one corner of Madras, a bit of topographic reconstruction, with the use of a few period drawings, the writing of which I enjoyed immensely. That was in October, 2008, a long time back and almost forgotten.

Nearly two years later however, a blog styled Blavatsky News ran a post of its own (July, 2010) pointing out some “errors” in my blog post. Still later, by the end of April, 2011 to be precise, I stumbled on this blog post when looking up the famous William Quan Judge case (this is an early 20th Century case that broke the Theo Society up into rival factions). Blavatsky Noose (henceforth BN) seems to be a blog run by three people of a distinctly theosophical persuasion, these contributors styling themselves Jaigurudeva, Hari Hamsa and Padma (real or fictitious names, I can’t say).

The link to the BN post by Padma is here (http://blavatskynews.blogspot.com/2010/07/hudlestons-garden.html) and you can read the full post on the blog. The preamble to the BN post extracts from the mast head of my blog about “chattering aimlessly & pointlessly” and about the URL “gibber and squeak”. A nice touch that, a pointed and suggestive reference that sets the context for BN’s own post, never mind the relevance of the extracts to that post!! Point taken but that, in itself, is not the reason for the bun fight. It is the “errors” the BN post attributes to me. And BN’s bland insistence that it is right and will not publish a retraction.
A Backgrounder

This is going to be a long post about an even longer, previous post in this blog. Ideally, those with the inclination and time should read the original post. It is a long post but, I hope, an interesting one which describes some local history albeit in its own meandering way. For those without the time or the inclination, here is a brief statement of the problem so that they may be spared a reading of the original post :

That initial post was about a building called Hudleston's House which stands, to this day, in the estate of the Theosophical Society in Madras. Hudleston's is on the south bank of the river Adyar, thus facing north across the river. And I wrote about a view of the building, by one F J Delafour, taken from Brodie Castle on the north bank of the river. And the trivial argument between me and BN is about which building in the Delafour watercolour below is Hudleston's, the one on the left or the one on the right of the picture. That is all that this post is about!

Now, to the “Errors” in my blog post that BN points out :

1. That I “mistake Blavatsky Bungalow, acquired by the Society in the 20th century, for Olcott’s residence, the octagonal building near the headquarters building”.

2. That I am “in error about the state of the Hudleston building when it was purchased by Olcott and Blavatsky, mistaking the additions done after 1907 by Mrs. Marie Russak as part of the original structure”.

AND (especially)

3. That “in the watercolour …. by F. J. Delafour, …. …. …., Hudleston's Garden is the first building on the righhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift, and much the way the Theosophists must have seen it”. In my blog post I had said it is the building on the left.

“Error” 1 : Blavatsky Bungalow mistaken for the Octagon

This comment in the BN post was based on the statement in my blog post:

“a grand octagonal house which Col Olcott took for his residence, and the other, a still more spacious structure which is used as a guest house today. As you can see, the Octagon House is washing its face at the present time”

but the picture I provide is of Blavatsky Bungalow, which was not part of the original purchase.

Yes, BN is dead right, I am in the wrong . The picture above is of the Blavatsky bungalow (not part of the original purchase). I have admitted as much in my e-mail message to BN from which I quote below:

“it is very clear that I was wrong in describing in my blog as the Octagon, what is actually the Blavatsky Bungalow. Even though the pictures on the blog post are not necessarily to be read, in every case, with the text below, the picture and the text, in this specific case, do relate to each other. No disputing that and I will publish a correction in my blog.”

Sheer carelessness on my part, when writing a long post and wrapping pictures around the text, but I make no excuses. I am in error and admit my mistake, in all candour.

“Error” 2 : the Marie Russak (1907) additions in the Delafour drawing mistaken for the Hudleston building

This is what the original BN post says : “Unfortunately he is in error about the state of the building when it was purchased by Olcott and Blavatsky, mistaking the additions done after 1907 by Mrs. Marie Russak as part of the original structure.”

On a plain reading, the use of the words “state of the building” suggests that I had assumed in my blog post that the original Hudleston building has remained unaltered to this day. But I have said no such thing. On the contrary my blog post states, right above my long shot photo of Hudleston's : “you will see that the hocus-pocus or superstructure in my digicam shot, additions by the Theosophists to provide rooms for Annie Besant, is missing from the Delafour view of the 1840's. But if you can visualise the pile minus the superstructure, it is Hudleston's and the angles are about right.”

When this was pointed out to BN, I got a response with BN’s comments on the other two “Errors” but a response or explanation in respect of this “Error” 2 was discreetly avoided. Naturally because, whilst not mentioning Marie Russak (a rich American widow who in 1907 paid for and carried out extensive improvements on the river front of the structure) by name, I had clearly pointed out the additions made by her.

What Russak had done, in effect, was to build an extension spank in front of the original north front of Hudleston's but attached or connected to it by a small "bridge" or vestibule (see picture below which was in the original post but not discussed in the text). Still later, Annie Besant carried forward the "improvements" by the addition of a floor or two. The result is that you could no more see the original facade from across the river.

It is possible that BN's quibble was that I should have called my picture, from across the river in the original post(see below, after the "bridge" pic), "Russak's" and not "Hudleston's. That may well be the case in theospeak. But to expect me to conform would be mere hair splitting because the entire structure is one whole integral building which, for me and a number of others, is always Hudleston's (else, when describing the building, we would have to talk of the Russak wing, the Olcott modifications, the Besant floor for J Krishnamurti and so on!). Moreover, I do not have a Blavatskyan ability to conjure up either the "materialized" or "astral" forms of the north front as it was in 1856 or in 1882 in a pic taken in 2008. I can only snap what exists. And I have referred to the alterations or modifications. So, BN has, clearly, jumped the gun.

OK, round 2 to me.

“Error” 3 : Is Hudleston’s the Building on the Left or the Right of the Dealfour drawing?

“Error” 3 is a most interesting question, the deciding round as it were! Why? I will explain in due course but, first, a correction and then a recap of the purported “error”.

I should firstly say that I think the artist of the drawing below might be F J Delatour (with a T and not an F as in Delafour). Christies who auctioned the drawing in 2008, goofed up, I suspect, in reading the signature because there is no such name as DelaFour in the annals of Madras, as far as I have been able to check. I think he most likely was one Francis Delatour from the family which took part ownership in the old, and subsequently bankrupt, Madras firm of Arbuthnot & Co. His name appears in a few Madras listings of the period (and the family were given to variously spelling the name as Delatour, Delautour and even Lautour).

Now, if you see the Delatour picture above, there are two main buildings, to left and right, neatly bisected by the column in the foreground. There are also two hazy outlines of what look like outbuildings on either side of the building on the right. You can see them by zooming the image on the Christies site here : http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ZoomImage.aspx?image=/LotFinderImages/D50749/D5074958.

BN’s contention is that : “in the watercolour …. by F. J. Delafour, “The river Adyar, Madras, from the terrace of a villa,” circa 1836 (because Elphinstone Bridge, shown at the right edge of the picture, was not built until 1840, V. Narayan Swami believes the date to be 1856 not 1836 as given for it), Hudleston's Garden is the first building on the right, and much the way the Theosophists must have seen it.”

Hrrmph …. so, according to BN even my attribution of Hudleston House, the centerpiece of my blog story, as the building on the left of the pic is wrong!! Is that right (or left)? We will see.

When I protested that I am right about the building on the left being the main building, here is what BN wrote to me (and my responses are below each comment):
“In the matter of the building you identify as Hudleston’s Garden in the picture: if you insist that it is the building on the left of the column, then we must agree to disagree for the following reasons:

a. The octagonal bungalow is clearly shown in the picture on the right, as also the location of the main building to the guest house to its right.

The Octagon and the guest house that BN refers to are two buildings on either side of Hudleston's and they are not seen in the Delatour because of the tree line (alternatively, these two outbuildings were probably not in place in 1850 odd when Dleatour drew his view). That the distant (right of pillar) building in the drawing is Hud House because there are two outbuildings either side of it is a mere assertion by BN, which ignores the fact that, viewed from Brodie's across the river, Hudleston’s (OK, Russak's annex) is in the direct, dead straight, line of sight (whereas in the Delatour the building on the right of the pillar is on a sharp right diagonal, 75 degree, orientation). Per BN, these outbuildings are respectively the guest house and the Octagon. The outlines are so hazy, who is to know? And, more to the point, who is to say? One can certainly not discern the outlines of the Octagon and the structure on the right of the main building is too small to be the guest house. We need to dismiss this assertion as I will make clear in my responses below to BN’s further comments.

b. In a river view sketch of the property, published in The Path of New York, June 1892, as part of the series “Habitations of H.P.B.”, the main building is depicted in much the same way as the structure in the painting’s right.

BN is referring to a PDF document of The Path (a journal published by the very same William Judge in looking up whom I came across the BN blog) of 1892. You can reach it here : http://blavatskyarchives.com/theosophypdfs/the_path_v7_april_1892_march_1893.pdf
and pages 71 to 75 refer.

But, I publish, further below, the scans of the article, “Habitations of H P B”, referred to by BN. The article is so relevant in context, and a reading of it so essential to follow the argument, that I will provide my responses to this and the further two arguments of BN following those scans.

c. The building on the left in the painting features columns and a roof; descriptions of the building occupied by the Theosophists indicate no such addition (see Hodgson’s 1884 plan of the upper rooms). Are you saying that Hudleston’s Garden had such columns and roof and that by 1882 said columns AND roof were removed (in a building facing the river and the effects of the Madras monsoon!)? We have never seen that claim made before.

My responses to these queries appear below the scanned pages of the article “Habitations of H P B”.

d. And then what happened to the buildings on the right, if it isn’t the property occupied by the Theosophists? Walking along the river from the headquarters building to the bridge you will find no remnant of such a structure. Once you pass Arundale House, which was constructed in the 20th century, you will find no other building till you come to the main gate. Are you also saying that these buildings were also torn down, with nothing left of them, not even the foundations?”

Again, the scans of the article first and the answers to these (increasingly hectoring and grand inquisitorial) queries thereafter!

SCANS : Habitations of H P B

OK, I will deal with each of the above objections or “contentions”. And, if there is any reader still left at this point, I must crave his or her indulgence and attention given the apparent tedium of all this. (It is a tedium not of my making but one that arises from the convoluted and absurd arguments put forth by BN). Because what follows is really important for an understanding of the the way the main building developed over the years. And, of course, to settle the question of its true location (i.e, whether it is to the left or the right of the pillar in the Delatour picture).

First, then : BN b. In a river view sketch of the property, published in The Path of New York, June 1892, as part of the series “Habitations of H.P.B.”, the main building is depicted in much the same way as the structure in the (Delatour) painting’s right.

BN is referring to the picture, taken from a photo, on page 75 of The Path (the 5th of the scans above). Note that the operative term in the BN response is : "much the same way". But I am sorry, equivocation and hedging won't do when it comes to these things, either the two buildings (in the Path and the Delatour depictions), when compared, look the same or they don't.

They are two different buildings. All you have to do is zoom the 5th scan above and compare it with the zoom view of the Delatour in the Christies site here. The principal difference is that the two "towers" clearly seen on either end of the river front in the Path article picture (scan 5) are missing in the Delatour building on the right of the pillar.

There are 3 reasons why the two "towers" (and the superstructure or 'lean to' on the terrace in the scan 5 pic) are significant :

1. BN would do well to read page 73 of the scan (the 3rd scan above) which says, right at the top, that "Her (Blavatsky's) room was an addition to the building (Hudleston's) and in a way joined the two towers which rise at the back (the North or river front) corners at either end". Parentheses and words within them added by me for clarity. The Blavatsky chambers were added to the first floor level only in about 1883, post the 1882 purchase by Theo Soc.

2. Ergo , in Delatour's time (c. 1850 - 60) the lean to's on the top of the building (as seen in scan 5, between the two towers) did not exist. But the "towers' did.

3. BN is erring, by asserting that the Delatour buillding in the right of the pic is Hudleston's, in imputing to a mid 19th Century drawing certain additions (the 'lean to' or barsati or superstructure) made, post acquisition in 1882, by the Theosophists.

And, don't forget that the buildings in the two pictures look completely different, no question of "much the same way".

Now to BN's point c. : "The building on the left in the (Delatour)painting features columns and a roof; descriptions of the building occupied by the Theosophists indicate no such addition (see Hodgson’s 1884 plan of the upper rooms). Are you saying that Hudleston’s Garden had such columns and roof and that by 1882 said columns AND roof were removed (in a building facing the river and the effects of the Madras monsoon!)? We have never seen that claim made before."

Simple, the Hudleston building, even as it originally was (and before the Theosophists mangled the river front into a rabbit hutch), did have columns on both fronts. Here is a floor plan of the building as it was in 1882, the year the Theos purchased it (taken from the Theo Soc's own publication, a little booklet titled "Adyar : Historical Notes & Features upto 1934"). In this plan, the river front is the one at the top (and you can also see the outlines of the two "tower" wells at either end) :

And you can see that the building to the left of the pillar in the Delatour has two "towers" on the top of the roof. OK, but, as the Theo Soc booklet says, other than the ground storey, there was just the one room in one of the "towers' at the top of the building with the rest of the roof being flat. So, it is clear that Delatour put in a full first floor to add appeal to the drawing but retained the "towers" at the second storey or roof level. (Although this is a capriccio element in his drawing, he seems to have anticipated some of the additions to come!) That is one of my reasons for saying that Delatour has put Hudleston's in the left of his picture. The other reason is the very thing that BN objects to, the columns.

A Paragraph (with the I Floor Plan) added subsequently on the 6th May 2011) : I realised that I had not touched on a reference to the 1884 "Hodgson" Plan of the I Floor mentioned above by BN. This I Floor plan was made post the additions to the roof or 1st floor level carried out in about 1883.So, that plan is completely irrelevant to the debate because the Delatour drawing dates from well before 1884. I don't know which it is, whether BN is being merely specious or genuinely caught, transfixed in a theosophical time warp of 1882 - 84 in all the quibbles it raises. Anyhow, that famous "Hodgson" plan is reproduced below (note the two tower wells again) :

That leaves BN's objection "d. And then what happened to the buildings on the right, if it isn’t the property occupied by the Theosophists? Walking along the river from the headquarters building to the bridge you will find no remnant of such a structure. Once you pass Arundale House, which was constructed in the 20th century, you will find no other building till you come to the main gate. Are you also saying that these buildings were also torn down, with nothing left of them, not even the foundations?"

Ho! But I never did say nothing about the buildings on the right in my original blog post. And for good reason. Because, contrary to what you imply about those structures being part of the Theo estate (not to mention all that make believe about one of them looking "much the same way" as Hud house), I consider them to be buildings outside the estate and on the other side of the Elphinstone bridge.

Let us go back to the Christies zoom image of the Delatour. The bridge, at first glance, seems to stop midway on the river (before the stand alone big tree on the extreme right) but that impression is more apparent than real because the Adyar (being tidal at this point) is almost a kilometre wide. If one opens again the Christies zoom image , one can just about make out what could be the true land fall of the bridge, just in front of the big building. There is what looks like the final arch of the bridge just in front of the building and to the eastward of it.

So, what I can say is that this right hand side cluster of buildings in the Delatour are those further westward of the Theo estate boundary and the Elphinstone bridge. In support of this I go back to the article in the Path (scan 4 above) which clearly shows a building cluster to the west of the bridge. As the text on scan 4 (page 74) says : "the vicinity was once in great demand before the trade of Madras declined", a decline to which Arbuthnots, owned in part by the Delatours at one time, contributed.

Mind you, this is what I thought even when writing the first post but, not having held the drawing in the hand, I did not want to aver or sign in blood about this (which is why I avoided mention in my first blog post).

However, the more I think about this the more likely this seems to me to be the case. Because, looking through the little Theo Soc booklet mentioend above (Adyar Historical Notes), I came across what Annie Besant has to say about the view from her room on the top of Hudleston's :

Describing a pan view, east to west, from her window (the same set of rooms in which Blavatsky lived): "We see two large houses, nearly hidden by trees,beyond the bridge, and then more trees, hiding the western horizon".

A description that accords completely with the text and picture of the view across the bridge (page 74, scan 4) of the Path article:

So, I am more certain now than before that the structures on the right of the Delatour relate to the houses west of the Elphinstone. And I am emphatic in saying that this cluster has nothing to do with Hudleston House and its two outbuildings.

Art History, Topography & the Codicil in the BN Response

There, that is what I have to say in response to the BN criticisms of my blog post. Simple, right? One might almost say "Elementary .... etc". So, we are done and we can all get on with the rest our lives, can we?! Well, yes .... almost. But I must refer to a codicil in the BN reply (at the end of all the arguments dealt with here) :

"Yes, we understand, looking at European landscape paintings of India from this period, we are not looking at photographic representations. Your post made us reread the chapter on “The Indian Picturesque: Images of India in British Landscape Painting, 1780-1880,” in C.A. Bayly’s An Illustrated History of Modern India, Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1991, for which we must thank you.

The painting in question features much of the criteria described therein: India as Britons wanted to see it. So who knows what the building on the right was to represent (though it is very similar to the rectangular building facing the river, adjacent to Blavatsky Bungalow, with its columns and all). Perhaps the artist thought it this was a more suitable view from Brodie’s “Castle.”

Art history to the rescue, is it? Or insurance (i.e 'trust in God but tie the camel's legs also')?! Clearly, I detect more thana little uncertainty and hedging on the part of BN!! But who needs G H R Tillotson, C A Bayly et al, one might as well follow Shakespeare or Sheridan in the matter, for all the constructs art historians write (investing the artists with a 'romantic vision' which the artists themselves probably did not feel or share). BN would do better, but not much better, to read landscape history by W G Hoskyns or Oliver Rackham (though probably not Simon Schama)! Ideally, BN should study the Delatour drawing closely and relate it to the known topography of the place by stepping out of the hallowed precincts of Theo Soc into the real world across the river. I mean, BN ought first to understand the original Hud House structure thoroughly and then go and stand where the artist stood before twitting my post by airing such idiosyncratic and absurd arguments (which betray BN's poor knowledge of the Hudleston structure and location). Because I have got my facts and my topography right.

As I often say, the only way to understand or view a topographic drawing is to "focus, squint and (as it were) enter the picture"! It is only then that a whole world of depth and dimension and of topography and what the artist did to the topo, will open up. This internal evidence, related with the external (lie of the land) is, in my experience, the best way to understand what the artist was up to, art history be damned. It follows that I am no art historian, nor an expert on art, though I have, and have always had, a consuming interest in drawings and prints of the period.

So, I can say with confidence that Delatour was not imbued with any romantic vision when taking this view. His execution is faithful to the topography and the sweep of the river and includes the island in the foreground.. As I have discussed above, he has put Hudleston's exactly where it stands, i.e in the direct line of sight from Brodie Castle. And he has drawn the bridge and some distant buildings beyond the bridge (and beyond the Theo Soc boundary) in the right pespective and orientation (but, to appreciate this, one must stand on the terrace of Brodies where Delatour drew from). His only sin or caprice was to give Hudleston House an extra floor. And perhaps to conceal its outbuildings (the Octagon and the Guest House) behind the casuarina trees. Or may be they weren't built in 1850 odd when the drawing was done, we don't really know.

Here is a small strip from a Madras map of 1920 with me (it is a large map, 3 inches to the mile and a deadly accurate one, based on the usual cadastral triangulation). This section shows what I mean by the direct line of sight between Brodie and Hud House (the deviation from the straight and true being only a 5 degree diagonal) :

Before I move on to more general observations, I must thank Blavatsky News, though that is an amorphous, pompous name with which to sign off personal mails. I wish I knew which one of the three in BN was writing to me, may be it is a reply drafted by a committee of the three. It could be Padma, who made the original BN post but I am not sure. I am not even sure if Padma is a male or female, a real or fictitious name (though I asked about the latter). Which one then? Prompts me to recall the lines of Eliot :

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you
Gliding wrapt in a brown mantle, hooded
I do not know whether a man or a woman
—But who is that on the other side of you?

Well, regardless, I have to thank BN because that post (and BN's reluctance to publish a simple retraction) got me revisiting an old but favourite topic. I may write tongue in cheek about BN but that is only in an effort to liven up the post and to sustain the interest of any unsuspecting reader who may chance on this blog. In actual fact, I don't think this is a slanging match between us but, hopefully, it will be a joint effort to understand better the history of the building and the topography. I can see that the BN trio are committed to the building's heritage and history and that they are serious about what they write.

The Price of the Building in 1882

In the course of our mail exchanges, BN asked : "And why did Huddleston’s Garden come on the market so cheaply in 1882?"

My 'know it all' response was : "As to the price of the building in 1882, I think it was a high price given that there was no easy access in those days to the south of the river. Moreover, there was nothing in the Adyar Besant Nagar area, I am told, even as late as 1970 except waste land, gardens and fields plus a few settlements. It would seem to me that the price paid was high, i.e right."

Sorry BN, I now find that I had lied. There is a write-up by Col Olcott in the Adyar Historical Facts booklet which describes the purchase of the property in 1882 and I quote from it : ".... .... the price asked, Rs 9000 odd or $ 600, was so modest, in fact, merely nominal, as to make the purchase of it seem feasible even for us. .... .... .... .... The cheapness of the price is accounted for by the fact that the opening of the railway to the foot of the Nilgiri Hills brought the lovely sanatorium of Ootacamund within a day's ride of Madras, caused the high officials to spend half the year there, and threw theri grand Madras bungalows on a market without bidders. What I paid for Hudleston's Gardens was about the price of the old materials if the building should be torn down. In fact, that was to have happened if we had not turned up as buyers just when we did."

Thus Col Olcott on the price of the property. Yes, I remember another account (see my previous psot) stating there was a mortgage on the property for Rs 7500 or nearly 90 % of the price. That implies, firstly, that the property was bought by the Indians on spec (with a mortgage) and, next, that, since the mortgage outstanding was almost the market value, there was pressure to sell it for just enough to repay the mortgage and to cut losses.

Why Bother at all?!!

Alright, there we are but, paid servant and performing flea that I am (my each livelong day being usually spent in just keeping one step ahead of the game in the workplace), why spend so much time and effort on a blog post that few people, if any, will care to read? What can be the motive for writing and inflicting on the world a tedious piece on some remote topography which the world doesn't really need?

Before I explain, a picture or two. First, a shot of Hud House from across the river (filched from a travel site) :

See what I mean? Up close, Hudleston's river front, as modified by Marie Russak, Annie Besant and sundry others, maybe an architectural kitsch, thanks to the execrable, insensitive modifications. Fotunately, the foreground on the river side is so narrow that you are spared the full vista.

But at a distance, from across the river, in its riverine setting, framed against the blue Madras sky, the building has outline, a grand, compelling presence and it makes an emphatic statement. In fact, it speaks to one, as at once an eloquent and mute witness to the life and times in Theo Soc and as an inseparable, memorable part of the Madras skyline for nearly 200 years. Also, just look at the view from the building itself (pic "borrowed" from a Leadbeater site) :

When I see this building, it is forever Madras to me, a building that housed many an illustrious theosophist, a personal roll of honour that includes the kind, gentle Col Olcott, the great Annie Besant and the quiet, self effacing George Arundale not to forget J Krishnamurti. That is another reason, the most important reason, for dwelling at such length on its location, "wasting" my time and yours. I leave you with some more visuals (all of it plunder from the internet) :

Charles Leadbeater on the roof terrace of Hudleston's as modified and built over (c. 1915 I would think). See what I mean about the deplorable, makeshift architectural "improvements". Nevertheless a valuable pic, supposedly taken by J Krishnamurti.

The Messianic & the Saturnine : This one above is a favourite, showing J Krishnamurti (left) and Charles Leadbeater (right) on the roof of Hudleston's. Nitya, Krishnamurti's brother, is in the middle. Across the river can be seen Brodie Castle. Wish this picture, from a paperback with me, would reproduce better but this is the best possible.

These pics show how the character of the building has changed over the years. One thing hasn't changed though. I refer to the presence of the flying foxes or fruit bats (see scan 4 of the Path article above). I am pleased at their continuing adherence to theosophy as a sign that the Theo Soc has been taking excellent care of the eco system within the property, even if the fruit bats have more drastic methods of expresing their contempt for my blog (see end of previous post on the subject) than BN!


porky said...

Fascinating writing style and evidently all the time in the world to pursue it. One would need to have very little else to do to actually embark on wading through reams of prose on a silly little disagreement on something of this nature. Hope you're not planning on monetising the blog. You wouldn't get very far.

Sudarshan said...

Sorry, Porky, I overlooked your "smart ass" comment of Dec 2011 until now. Porky must be a pseudonym for Koot Hoomi or some such (I mean to say I suppose you could be one of the bloggers of Blavatsky Noose or a close associate).

You say : "evidently all the time in the world to pursue it .... (the writing of my post, you mean)" and "One would need to have very little else to do to actually embark on .... (Writing it.").

And I suppose you have nothing better to do than wade and read through it and all the time in the world to do so and post smart ass tuppeeny'orth comments of this kind.

I am a busy executive, Finance Director of a UK listed group of companies and always find the time to do my work and anything else that interests me. What do you do, other than theosophise and write "smart ass" comments such as hte ones I have quoted. You certainly seem to have all the time in the world to wade through everything on the Net but not enough capacity to assimilate or understand the content.

Will I decide to "monetise" this blog, as you put it? I will not but, whether or not I do, you are passing judgement on only yourself with such smart alec comments and NOT ON ME. Now get off my back and good riddance to you, you twerp.

waseem said...

You mentioned in the text: "Which brings me to the second drawing - for which I don't have an image but hope to get hold of a scan soon - which is General William Atkinson with His Wife and Family in the Grounds at Kamptee, Madras, dated 1856."

Have you got hold of this second drawing now? If so, please provide the link.

Sudarshan said...

Waseem : You seem to have posted your comment under the wrong post (the Huddlestone one) instead of in its proper place - the post on Arbuthnots and th Foncecas. Never mind, the answer is that : No, unfortunately not. I did get hold of the original Sothebys catalogue of 1993 hoping to find an image there but - unfortunately - there is no image in the catalogue, only a terse description which I have already reproduced in the post on the Arbuthnots. As auction houses do not reveal the names of the buyers at their auctions (nor could one expect them to retain file pics or records of addresses etc after nearly 25 years) I fear this image must remain unknown to us.

Also the description by Sothebys is wrong in that Kamptee is on the outskirts of Nagpur and nowhere near madras. But the General was of the Madras Army hence the Fonceca association.