Thursday, June 30, 2022

Madame Alexander's Marie-Antoinette Doll

 From The Sun:

The Madame Alexander Doll Company was founded by Beatrice Alexander in New York City in 1923. Since then, many kids (and adults) have collected the dolls - and you may be sitting on a goldmine depending on when it's from. Yesterday, the toys got attention in an episode of The Kardashians as Kris Jenner encouraged her daughter Khloe to get "all of them" while in a shop. She noted that they're her favorite dolls but very hard to find. Certain classic Madame Alexander dolls - especially those from the 1950s - can be worth thousands.

According to auction house Theriault’s, a doll in a blue period gown with the original box from 1951 once sold for $25,000. It was said to be "an exceptionally rare example that is perfectly-preserved", with a high cheek color. Meanwhile, a Marie Antoinette example has sold at auction for $20,000. (Read more.)

The Springtime That Never Came

 From One Peter Five:

The genre of a book-length interview has drawn many into its alluring clutches, and understandably so: it is a relatively easy way to write a book. Just pose a lot of timely, interesting, important questions, mixed in with some prompts for welcome autobiographical ruminations, to a person who likes to talk, and voila!, within some weeks or months, a manuscript will come forth. Thus, John Paul II published Crossing the Threshold of Hope in 1994.[1] More recently, Cardinal Sarah burst onto the scene with The Power of Silence, God or Nothing, and The Day Is Now Far Spent. Cardinal Burke joined in with Hope for the World and Cardinal Müller with the unimaginatively named The Cardinal Müller Report. Unfortunately, even Jorge Mario Bergoglio has entered the fray with meandering interviews that almost no one will read.

Unquestionably, the finest entries in the genre since Ratzinger are the book-length interviews of Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the lowest-ranking of all of the figures mentioned and yet the most bold, most logical, most comprehensive, and most traditionally Catholic of them.[2] Perhaps being an auxiliary bishop in the Siberian region has its advantages. Bishop Schneider, no stranger to readers of OnePeterFive, first did a major interview in 2018 with Dániel Fülep, Catholic Church, Where Are You Heading? (English translation available for free here). After that, two major interviews have been released in print: Christus Vincit, with Diane Montagna (Angelico, 2019), which currently has nearly 1,000 reviews at Amazon; and the book I am reviewing today, The Springtime That Never Came, with Paweł Lisicki (Sophia, 2021). I had the privilege of reading this text before it was published and must say that it is a sheer delight from start to finish, a worthy successor of Christus Vincit that develops further the argumentation of the earlier interview and covers new ground as well. It is a must-read.

The interviewer, Paweł Lisicki, is a major journalist and intellectual in Poland, an outspoken critic of liberalism in politics and in the Church. At the same time, he is a philosophical melancholic who would fit well in a Dostoevsky tale.[3] His personality shows in the questions he poses to Bishop Schneider, which are ruggedly honest, at times even slightly polemical, as if he wants to push the good bishop as hard as he can with the objections that can be raised either against the claims of the Catholic Church or against the solutions proposed by traditional Catholics. This is valuable: it means there are no lobbed softballs.

The “live” character of the book is well preserved. As Lisicki notes in his engaging introduction, the conversations took place in person, were recorded, and then transcribed. Pretty much everything was on the table; I cannot think of a single “hot topic” that was not broached.[4] The book is divided—a little arbitrarily, given that certain topics resurface throughout—into eleven chapters: 1. When Misfortune Looms; 2. What About Celibacy?; 3. The Gnostic Threat; 4. The Illusion of Progress; 5. Protestant Sources; 6. The Leftist Face of the Church; 7. How Many Religions Are True?; 8. Between Heaven and Hell; 9. Automatism and Anthropocentrism; 10. The Rupture of Continuity; 11. In an Orderly Formation. (Read more.)


The Disappointment of the Millennial

 From El Antiguo:

Imagine the dream of California represented in the Beach Boys and hippies confronted by homeless tent camps, giant corporations, and endless quinoa and acai bowl shops. Imagine loving New York or Paris only to find it overrun with tourists and unhappy people in hoodies. Imagine searching for the hard scrabble life of Appalachia, and finding meth labs and Wal-Marts. Imagine wanting England and finding nothing but kebabs, mosques, and football hooligans.

I’m not talking about a romanticized, idealized version of these places. If you come to Texas expecting nothing but cowboys, oilmen, and Indians, you will be sorely disappointed. But the fault is not in Texas; the vision you have of Texas has no basis in reality. Someone misrepresented Texas to you (in this case, and many others, the culprit is Hollywood). But in the examples above, I’m not talking about misrepresentation. These places really existed, and really were like this not that long ago. The sense of loss doesn’t happen when idealistic expectations meet gritty reality. The sense of loss occurs when gritty reality itself has shifted. And this reality has shifted recently.

This isn’t some fuming debate about authenticity. This is not nostalgia. This is not romanticism. This is not coming from hipsters. This is measurable, tragic change in the last decades of the twentieth century. (Read more.)

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Meanwhile, on the Upper East Side...

 From West Side Rag:

I’d had enough of crime on the Upper West Side. Enough of the muggings, the stabbings, the robberies of 90-year-olds, the terrorizing of street vendors, the McDonald’s shootouts, the street fights, the park hold-ups, the thefts of businesses large and small. So, last week, I hopped on the crosstown M72 to escape to the swanky Upper East Side, which I was sure would be safer. I’d seek refuge in my favorite French boulangerie/patisserie/tea room/ice cream parlor, Ladurée, on Madison Avenue, where I would indulge in a treat hard to find in most restaurants—coffee ice cream. There I would settle into a miniature Marie-Antoinette boudoir, adorned with silk draperies, swag-framed mirrors, and a velvet banquette facing a window display of beribboned gift boxes and made-to-order macaron trees, priced from $95 to $545. 

Now, I had read in the New York Post that last April, Madison’s high-end clothing stores had been hit by an illegal theft ring so massive that they were now locking their doors and opening only by appointment. But the authorities had since indicted the ringleader and forty-one accomplices, so shop owners were feeling less fearful. Anyway, those were high-end apparel boutiques; surely, one was safe in an ice cream parlor.

How wrong I was.

I had been going to Ladurée since 2017, and pre-pandemic, indulging in their over-the-top Café Liégeois—three scoops of coffee ice cream drowned in espresso and crowned with whipped cream and caramelized almonds. Now, post-pandemic and tightening my belt, I ordered only one scoop sans whipped cream and almonds, but still stylishly served in a bulbous silver bowl, with a tapered silver spoon and silver pitcher of espresso on the side. (Read more.)


Plan To Rig the 2022 Midterm Elections

 From The Federalist:

President Biden really does not want the public to know about his federal takeover of election administration. Dozens of members of Congress have repeatedly asked for details, to no avail. Good government groups, members of the media, and private citizens have filed requests under the Freedom of Information Act. Not a single one has been responded to. All signs indicate a concerted effort to keep the public in the dark until at least after the November midterm elections. The lack of transparency and responsiveness is so bad that the Department of Justice and some of its agencies have been repeatedly sued for the information.

When President Biden ordered all 600 federal agencies to “expand citizens’ opportunities to register to vote and to obtain information about, and participate in, the electoral process” on March 7, 2021, Republican politicians, Constitutional scholars, and election integrity specialists began to worry exactly what was up his sleeve.

They had good reason. The 2020 election had suffered from widespread and coordinated efforts by Democrat activists and donors to run “Get Out The Vote” operations from inside state and local government election offices, predominantly in the Democrat-leaning areas of swing states. Independent researchers have shown the effect of this takeover of government election offices was extremely partisan and favored Democrats overwhelmingly.

At the time the order was issued, Democrats were also hoping to pass H.R. 1, a continuation of the effort to destabilize elections throughout the country via a federalized takeover of state election administrations.

Biden gave each agency 200 days to file their plans for approval by none other than Susan Rice, his hyperpartisan domestic policy advisor. Yet fully nine months after those plans were due, they are all being hidden from the public, even as evidence is emerging that the election operation is in full swing. (Read more.)


In Defense of Men

 From Philosophy of Motherhood:

The last few years have been rough for men.  The #Metoo movement, Kavanaugh hearings, Women’s marches, and the ubiquity of the term “Toxic Masculinity” have been bad publicity for our brothers. While some of the criticism of male behavior has been justified and perhaps even necessary, it’s not hard to see tares growing among the wheat of righteous indignation. For instance, “man-hating” has now become more mainstream and normalized. As one sitting U.S. senator said in anger about recent sexual controversies, “Who is perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: just SHUT UP and STEP UP, do the right thing for a change.”  

For a change.  Maybe a little harsh? 

Looking at my life, I am surrounded by good men who work hard, love their families, and do so with very little recognition.  Most men I know try to live good moral lives, but they are imperfect. The truth is we are all capable of evil and goodness, and that capability has little to do with our sex. The world is not as black-and-white as protesters or activists like to imagine.  Too often, we women fail to see the weaknesses of our own sex or the strengths of the opposite. But headlines and initiatives send boys this clear message: “There is something seriously wrong with men.”

“The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties (or genders) eitherbut right through every human heart.” ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 

Of course, there are men falling short, and many women have good reasons for their prejudice.  There are abusive husbands, power-hungry male leaders, and shiftless young men.  We should not give these men a pass for their failures.  Many women, traumatized by tyrannical or mean-spirited fathers, lack the foundation a good father could have provided, so they see no reason to trust men. (Read more.)


Feminism has weakened women. From Denis Prager at Real Clear Politics:

In addition to providing the nation with another example of the Left's meanness, hypersensitivity and war on humor (unless directed at white males), this episode also reveals something important about feminism. In the true Orwellian spirit of the Left, the overriding claim of feminists that feminism empowers women is the opposite of the truth. Over the past half-century, modern feminism has not strengthened women, but weakened them. 

It is worthy to note that, except for Del Real, who called for civility and compassion toward Weigel, every Washington Post actor named in this story -- Felicia Sonmez, Matea Gold, Kris Coratti, Breanna Muir -- is a woman. That's why they were horrified by the joke. Few men -- despite the fact that feminist activism has also rendered a great many American men weak -- would find a similar joke about men offensive. Most men would find it funny.

For the record, every man I know is married to a strong woman. The notion that men are not attracted to (or are threatened or intimidated by) strong women is a feminist myth. While undoubtedly some men seek weak women, most men find weakness in women (as in men) unappealing.

In feminist Newspeak (Orwell's term for the totalitarian redefining of language), when applied to women, "strong" means "easily offended," and "perceiving oneself as a victim." Tragically, many women, especially young women, have come to accept those definitions of "strong."  No wonder the depression rates among young American women are the highest ever measured. (Read more.)


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Frederick II: The Philosopher King

Frederick II was the principle enemy of Empress Maria Theresa. From The Catholic Textbook Project:

Fritz at this time began writing letters to Voltaire; the two men’s correspondence would continue for 42 years. The crown prince’s letters showed the deepest respect for Voltaire, while the French philosophe came to honor Fédéric (as Fritz signed his letters) for his keen mind. Voltaire had great hopes that when Fédéric became king, he would be the wisest of rulers — the first true “philosopher king.”

While at Rheinsberg, Fritz wrote a book in which he presented his ideas of how a king should rule. Called The Anti-Machiavelli, the crown prince’s book rejected the Italian Renaissance philosopher Machiavelli’s notion that a ruler should do everything possible, even immoral deeds, to obtain and keep power. Rather, said The Anti-Machiavelli, a ruler should think of himself not as the master, but as the first servant of those over whom he rules. He should act toward them with “works of kindness, justice, and clemency.” This work enthused Voltaire, who had it published without revealing that its author was the crown prince of Prussia. (Read more.)


An Originalist Victory

 From City Journal:

Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are no more. Like Plessy v. Ferguson before them, Roe and Casey were constitutionally and morally indefensible from the day they were decided, yet they endured for generations, becoming the foundation of a mass political movement that did all it could to prevent their overruling. Thus, like the overruling of Plessy, the overruling of Roe and Casey was by no means inevitable; it was the result of a half-century of disciplined, persistent, and prudent political, legal, and religious effort. The victory in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was earned by the coalition of teachers and students, priests and parishioners, lawyers and politicians, who, through efforts as humble as parish potlucks and as prominent as federal litigation, brought about the most important legal and human rights achievement in America since Brown v. Board of Education.

To acknowledge this achievement is to acknowledge the constitutional theory around which the coalition that brought it about rallied for a half-century: originalism. It was originalism that the pro-life movement adopted after Roe and supported through the confirmation defeat of Robert Bork; the attempted defeats of Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh; and the setback of Casey. The goal of overruling Roe and Casey bound the conservative political movement to the conservative legal movement, and originalism was their common constitutional theory. Dobbs thus had the potential—as I argued in an earlier essay—to exacerbate the tensions over originalism within the conservative legal movement. It would be viewed as the acid test of originalism’s ability to translate theory into practice, and there would be no avoiding the stakes for the conservative legal movement in the case: “complete victory or crisis-inducing defeat,” as I put it. We now know that it was a complete victory, and it was, in large part, originalism’s victory.

Yet over the last few months, two arguments have been made by some within the conservative legal movement calling that conclusion into question: one from originalism’s critics, the other from originalists themselves. The first argument is that Dobbs is not much of a victory since it returned the issue of abortion to the political process rather than outlawing abortion altogether. The second is that the Dobbs majority opinion is not, in fact, originalist in its methodology, with the implication that, even if Dobbs is a victory, it is not a victory for originalism. Both critiques, explicitly or implicitly, deny that Dobbs represents a triumph for originalism.

Both critiques are mistaken. Dobbs is, without question, a triumph for originalism and a vindication of the support given to originalism by the conservative legal and political movements since Roe was decided almost half a century ago. (Read more.)


Fighting Catholic Gaslighting

 From Crisis:

My point is that we must fight this gaslighting. We are not being disobedient when we kneel for the Eucharist or sing Gregorian chant or ask to attend the Mass that nourished our ancestors for centuries. The good news is the long run is on our side. As Mass of the Ages shows—and I can’t urge you enough to see it—the Traditional Mass is the one doing what Vatican II hoped for: filling the pews with prayerful participation of Catholic families, especially the youth.  

The movie Gaslight ends with Ingrid Bergman realizing she has been sane all along and refusing to help Charles Boyer, who is carried to prison after his plot has been foiled. It may not be until our grandchildren’s or great-grandchildren’s time (after all, we’ve had sixty years of gaslighting), but we shall be proved sane, and there will be a happy ending. (Read more.)


From The Catholic World Report:

Loss of Latin: To be sure, the Council Fathers opened up the possibility for a greater use of the vernacular (e.g., in the Scripture readings, prayer of the faithful), but they were quite clear that Latin should not only be retained in the liturgy but that the faithful ought to be able to respond to the Latin prayers and sing the venerable Gregorian chants.1 Every major religion retains a place of honor for a sacral language, lest the pedestrian override the sacred.2  (Read more.)


Also from The Catholic World Report:

Many of the people who now call themselves traditionalists and who harbor some or all of the positions outlined above were people who a mere ten years ago would have been content with being called “conservative JPII Catholics”; they harbored no such deep resentments toward the Council and were quite adept at making the proper distinctions between the Council as such and the often silly adaptations that came after. They understood the need for ecclesial obedience and cohesion in the face of an increasingly hostile culture and found in Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI great figures of cultural resistance and stalwart defenders of orthodoxy. Some of them were active in the “reform of the reform” of the liturgy and were not the implacable enemies of the Mass of Paul VI they later became. The Lefebvre folks existed but were an extreme and marginalized minority and their “soft schism” was rejected by almost all conservative Catholics as a dead end. These conservative Catholics understood that there were still deep pathologies in the Church and much more work needed to be done, but there was confidence in the authority of Rome, that the center would hold and was holding, and that the Church would survive the centrifugal forces threatening to rip her apart so long as the Rock of Peter held firm.

What happened? (Read more.)


Monday, June 27, 2022

Dior Chairs and the Death of Design


From The Straits Times:

Philippe Starck made his name making everyday objects extraordinary, but the French designer and architect believes the "dematerialisation" of modern life will soon make such talents redundant.

"What is the future of design? Well, there isn't one, because you must understand that everything has a birth, a life and a death. And for design, it is the same," he said on the sidelines of the Milan Furniture Fair. He is there to present a new chair created for fashion house Dior, an update on the iconic version of the Louis XVI medallion chair that featured in the first boutique founded by Christian Dior in Paris in 1947. Starck, 73, is one of the most prolific inventors of his generation, designing everything from top hotels and best-selling furniture to juicers and toothbrushes. He believes, however, that the advance of technology means talents such as his may one day become redundant.

"We make everything disappear," he said. "Look at your iPhone - the number of products it replaces, it's extraordinary. Before, the size of a computer - it was a building, a suburban house. Now, it is embedded under the skin." (Read more.)


A Matter of Holiness

 From First Things:

My wife and I have a son with Down syndrome. Three of our grandchildren have disabilities that range from moderate to severe. They all deserve the gift of life. They all make their siblings more genuinely human by the treasure of their presence. So we feel an immense gratitude to San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone for speaking the truth and doing the right thing by excluding Speaker Nancy Pelosi from Communion in her home diocese.

Pelosi has been a high-profile, vigorous, privileged, and defiant supporter of easy abortion access for decades. Whatever her virtues may be, her record as a Catholic Christian on the matter of abortion is an icon of public hypocrisy. Thus, in our family, we feel an equally intense disgust—“disappointment” is too weak a word—for those persons both outside and, more repugnantly, inside the Church, who have criticized or attempted to undermine what Archbishop Cordileone has done. There comes a point in the work of Christian witness where otherwise-sensible concerns for prudence and the complexity of politics become indistinguishable from the temptation to fellow-traveling and cowardice. Church leaders, both here and abroad, might profitably take note.

In the Catholic context, what the Church expects from each of us in sorting through tough moral issues is to follow our consciences—but first to form our consciences intelligently and faithfully, in accord with Christian truth. Conscience needs to be fed, developed, and disciplined to discern what’s right. Then it needs to tell us what’s right, rather than what we’d prefer to hear. And what the Church asks is that, before we act, we at least make a sincere effort to consider and understand the truths that she teaches and why, and to try honestly to follow her wisdom. If we do that, we’ve done what our faith requires. This isn’t easy. In practice, it’s very hard, because serious thinking about anything is drowned out in our current culture by emotion, distraction, dumbed-down slogans, and noise.  

It’s our job as Christians to remove ourselves from those things, and to think before we act, so that when we act, we do so with our brain and an examined conscience, and not just with our bile and passions and the latest distortions from our mass media. We also need to pray for our country, and for each other, because we all very obviously need it. The nation we were six decades ago, and the nation we are today, are two very distinct creatures: similar on the surface, but different in substance. One of the differences is that we’re now wrapped in a nonstop, narcoleptic haze of consumer appetite that prevents us from understanding our situation and changing it for the better.  

As for the Church: Georges Bernanos, the great French Catholic writer, liked to describe her as a huge railroad company carrying people to heaven—but one that’s unhappily prone to train wrecks. Left to her human management, the Church tends to end up, in Bernanos’s words, as a giant pile of crashed locomotives and burned-out carriages. We owe our ecclesial leaders the respect due their offices and our obedience to authentic Church teaching. But it’s worth remembering that men like Gregory the Great, or Leo XIII, or John XXIII, or John Paul II, are the exception, not the rule. Most popes are good men, dedicated (if often forgettable) in their ministry. Others are less inspiring. Dante planted several bishops of Rome quite firmly in his Inferno.  (Read more.)


Updated Maps of Tectonic Plates

 From SciTechDaily:

New models that show how the continents were assembled are providing fresh insights into the history of the Earth and will help provide a better understanding of natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes.

“We looked at the current knowledge of the configuration of plate boundary zones and the past construction of the continental crust,” said Dr. Derrick Hasterok, Lecturer, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Adelaide who led the team that produced the new models.

“The continents were assembled a few pieces at a time, a bit like a jigsaw, but each time the puzzle was finished it was cut up and reorganized to produce a new picture. Our study helps illuminate the various components so geologists can piece together the previous images.

“We found that plate boundary zones account for nearly 16 percent of the Earth’s crust and an even higher proportion, 27 percent, of continents.” (Read more.)


Sunday, June 26, 2022

Interlude in Prague (2017)


 A movie that can be watched for the spectacle alone, or even just listened to.  From Chronicles of a Modern-Day Mozartian:

Interlude is historically book-ended by two performances conducted by Mozart at the Nostitz Theater (now known as the Estates Theater), although fictionally narrated. The film begins in December 1786 when Mozart is visiting Prague to conduct his opera Le nozze di Figaro and it ends with Mozart conducting the premiere of Don Giovanni on October 29, 1787.  The romance and tragedy that develops during the time between these performances is what inspires Mozart's writing for Don Giovanni.

 As advertised, Interlude is a fictional period thriller, so don't be surprised that the timeline, characters and script embody historical inaccuracies. Mozart, who was blonde and left-handed, is brunette and right-handed. While the Nostitz Theater is captured in the film's exterior shots, a nearby Baroque theater was utilized for the interior shots. You get the point. Although there is some historical authenticity and integrity to their approach, you'll enjoy this film best if you embrace it as entertainment and leave your historian hat at home!

With popular culture being saturated with the likes of Amadeus, its comparison to Interlude is inevitable. What binds the two is their overarching fiction sprinkled with fact along with the acute focus on an adversary. Amadeus gave us rival composer Antonio Salieri, who was a real colleague. An equally brilliant choice for Interlude is Baron Saloka, a malevolent aristocrat who although fictional, is representative of Mozart's biography.

Mozart dealt with his fair share of narcissistic and formidable members of the aristocracy who knew little about music, yet dictated his own through their wealth and influence. They were obstacles to navigate and overcome. Baron Saloka, in Interlude's fictional world, is just another pain in the Arsch for the Maestro (or is he?). While these affluent patrons were a means for his art, they were also a significant hindrance. Mozart spent most of his life creating within the framework of this patronage system, and eventually became one of the first artists to declare his independence from it. His emancipation informs part of Interlude's script. (Read more.)


Stolen Innocence: Exposing the Horror of Human Trafficking in the U.S.

 From Sara Carter:

Human trafficking happening in the area where you live but you may not even notice it. In fact, it’s happening everywhere in this country. Today, Sara takes an intense look at the growing scourge of human trafficking and how so many women, boys, and girls are sexually exploited or forced into labor (or both) right here in the United States.

Sara shares the story of a recent human trafficking victim who was taken from an NBA game in Dallas a few weeks ago, but it goes much deeper. She also shares the horrific statistics on trafficking from the United Nations, the shocking prominence of women in luring children and other women into captivity, and why it is vital for parents to keep an eye on what their kids are doing online and on their phones. Sara also takes aim at the mainstream media for basically burying the shocking story of a man attempting to murder a Supreme Court justice. (Read more.)


Hobbits in Indonesia

 From National Geographic:

The limestone cave of Liang Bua, on the Indonesian island of Flores, is widely known as the hobbit cave, the site where the surprisingly tiny and enormously controversial extinct human relative Homo floresiensis was discovered. But to the scientists who excavate there, the site is known as something else entirely: the rat cave.

“The first time I went to the excavations at Liang Bua, I remember watching the bones coming out of the ground and being amazed at how it was almost all rat,” recalls Matthew Tocheri, the Canada Research Chair in Human Origins at Lakehead University. (Read more.)


Saturday, June 25, 2022

RIP Christine Irvin

 RIP Christine Irvin. Rest in peace dear friend and may we meet again when the last trumpet shall sound.
They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate:
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.
They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream. ~Ernest Dowson


Christine worked and prayed for the pro-life cause. On the day of her funeral, June 24, 2022, Feast of the Sacred Heart, Roe v Wade was overturned.


Common Sense Has Won

 From The New York Post:

Former British Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has called on other sports to follow the example of swimming’s world governing body FINA and ban transgender female athletes from competition. Davies, 59, who won Olympic silver at the 1980 Games and has emerged as a vocal critic of allowing trans women to take part in female athletic events, applauded FINA’s stunning decision Sunday.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of my sport, FINA and the FINA president for doing the science, asking the athletes/coaches and standing up for fair sport for females,” she tweeted after the governing body’s vote to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in elite women’s races. “Swimming will always welcome everyone no matter how you identify but fairness is the cornerstone of sport.” But according to Davies, more work remains to be done to level the playing field in other sports as well, especially cycling. (Read more.)


Te Deum Laudamus! Te Dominum Confitemur!

 Roe v. Wade has been overturned on the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the nativity of St. John the Baptist. I hope someday all people look back upon abortion as barbarism. From The Daily Wire:

The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the monumental Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion across the America. The 6-3 decision in Dobbs v.s. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Friday followed the early May leak of a draft opinion indicating which way the justices would rule. That leak prompted protesting across the nation, particularly in Washington, D.C. as well as dozens of attacks and vandalism of pro-life organizations, centers, and churches. Justice Samuel Alito wrote that Roe and a subsequent case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe, both must be overturned, and the right to allow, deny, or restrict the right to an abortion must reside with states. (Read more.)

From LifeSite:

That the final decision to overturn Roe held firm despite months of left-wing pressure reflects a majority of the justices’ commitment to the principle articulated in May by conservative Justice Clarence Thomas, that “we can’t be an institution that can be bullied into giving you just the outcomes you want.”

The ruling holds massive ramifications, both immediate and long-term. More than twenty states currently have laws on the books that would effectively ban abortion within their borders upon Roe’s fall, from pre-Roe abortion bans that went unenforced to “trigger laws” designed not to take effect until a ruling like today’s. In those states, abortion is now illegal.

Another fifteen states plus the District of Columbia have laws on the books legally protecting abortion, three of which explicitly codify the practice as a “right.” For now, abortion will remain legal in those jurisdictions, as well as the remaining states that have not spelled out abortion’s status one way or another, but without Roe state residents now have the power to vote on the issue for themselves, or lobby their elected representatives to change the law in either direction. Pro-lifers in Congress can now pursue a nationwide abortion ban, as well.  (Read more.)


Statement from Archbishop Cordileone:

 “The Arc of history is long but it bends towards justice.”  Never have the words the Rev. Martin Luther King, the great prophet of human rights in the 20th century, rung more true.  This historic Supreme Court decision would not have happened without fifty years of patient, loving, hard work by people of all faiths and none in diverse fields including social service, religion, law, medicine, culture, education, policy and politics.  But our work has just begun.  The artificial barriers the Supreme Court created by erecting a so-called Constitutional right out of thin air have been removed.  The struggle to demonstrate we can build a culture that respects every human life, including mothers in crisis pregnancies and the babies they carry, continues.  We must redouble our efforts to accompany women and couples who are facing unexpected or difficult pregnancies, as well as to offer mercy to those suffering the after-effects of the abortion experience.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, pray for us. (Read more.)


Te Deum Laudamus

Te Deum laudámus: te Dominum confitémur.
Te ætérnum Patrem omnis terra venerátur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi cæli et univérsae potestátes.
Tibi Chérubim et Séraphim incessábili voce proclámant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth.
Pleni sunt cæli et terra majestátis glóriæ tuæ.
Te gloriósus Apostolórum chorus;
Te Prophetárum laudábilis númerus;
Te Mártyrum candidátus laudat exércitus.
Te per orbem terrárum sancta confitétur Ecclésia:
Patrem imménsæ majestátis;
Venerándum tuum verum et únicum Fílium;
Sanctum quoque Paráclitum Spíritum.
Tu Rex glóriæ, Christe.
Tu Patris sempitérnus es Fílius.
Tu ad liberándum susceptúrus hóminem, non horruísti Vírginis úterum.
Tu, devícto mortis acúleo,
    aperuísti credéntibus regna cælórum.
Tu ad déxteram Dei sedes, in glória Patris.
Judex créderis esse ventúrus.
Te ergo quǽsumus, tuis fámulis súbveni,
    quos pretióso sánguine redemísti.
Ætérna fac cum sanctis tuis in glória numerári.
Salvum fac pópulum tuum, Dómine, et bénedic hæreditáti tuæ.
Et rege eos, et extólle illos usque in ætérnum.
Per síngulos dies benedícimus te.
Et laudámus nomen tuum in sǽculum, et in sǽculum sǽculi.
Dignáre, Dómine, die isto sine peccáto nos custodíre.
Miserére nostri, Dómine, miserére nostri.
Fiat misericórdia tua, Dómine, super nos, quemádmodum sperávimus in te.
In te, Dómine, sperávi: non confúndar in ætérnum.


The Online Internet Etiquette Manifesto, 3rd Edition

 From Medium:

At the dawn of time, in the early days of people communicating online, before AOL, before MySpace, before Facebook and Instagram, there was peace. It was in those prehistorical days, before all digital online activity was stored forever at a top secret data processing center in Sarasota Springs, Utah, before the end of privacy when people were able to keep secrets, that the following Manifesto was published on a small BBS.

It is written in the vernacular of the people of that ancient time. It was written incorporating the ancient beliefs of those early and very nerdy internet pioneers. The style, which may seem strange to us today, was popular at the time among those who wore pocket protectors and fed punch cards for hours on end into mainframes the size of large rooms programming them to play pong. These early hominids believed that their shared religions, culture, and world view would come to dominate the world when PCs became common household items.

They believed they would rule the world and there would be no more bullying either online or in person. They believed that the general public would look to them in awe and in need of their expertise as the high priests of computing. Finally, they would have the respect due to them. Finally, they would have their day. (Read more.)


Friday, June 24, 2022

Father Stu (2022)

The real Father Stuart Long and Mark Wahlburg in the title role

I saw the film twice and enjoyed it. The acting is stellar. There is some rough language in the first half of the movie so I would not recommend it to cloistered nuns or super-sensitive persons or anyone under eighteen. From Kate O'Hare:

Baptized and raised Catholic, Wahlberg has had an up-and-down life, from troubles with drugs and the law to rap stardom, modeling, and these days, a very successful career as an actor, producer and businessman. Along the way, he became a father and husband and returned to his Catholic faith. Many elements of Wahlberg’s own life are wrapped up in his latest starring role in Father Stu, hitting theaters on April 13. Wahlberg is also a producer on the film, which has been a passion project. Father Stu is the story of Father Stuart Long, who passed away at the age of 50 in 2014 at the Big Sky Care Center in Helena, Montana, where he grew up, due to complications of inclusion body myositis, a rare autoimmune disease that mimics ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

(Click here to read my interviews with a priest who knew Father Stu, and the bishop who ordained him.) (Read more.)


More HERE.


I Am a Restorationist

 I have lived through all the same things and have seen so much magnificent, priceless religious art and architecture destroyed. I have witnessed the most beautiful religious music ever written cast aside and replaced by drivel that would not dignify a tavern. It has almost been like living through the English Reformation, except we have escaped with our lives. Or just barely. And yet we have been asked by God to live in such times, making reparation to the Sacred Heart, to sacrifice with a sacrifice of praise. From Dr. Esolen at Crisis:

When our pastor removed the marble communion rail with its mosaic inlays of Eucharistic symbols (a basket of five loaves, two fish, a bunch of grapes, the Lamb of God), we figured he knew what he was doing, and we submitted. When he whitewashed the church walls, eliminating stenciled patterns of the fleur-de-lis, so that what had been warm and shady was now bare, with no color connection between the stained-glass windows, the mural paintings of figures from the Old Testament, and the painted ceiling above, we figured he knew what he was doing, and we obeyed. When he covered the hexagonal floor tiles, white and dark green in cruciform patterns, with a bright-red carpet, we wiped our feet and obeyed.

We obeyed a lot, then. The bishop had caught the fervor of the council, and soon the diocese was peppered with billboards reading “Project: Expansion.” It was an expansive time, we thought, a time for building new diocesan high schools, new parochial schools, new parishes. And all that expansion cost money. Every family was asked to pledge what they could afford. My family pledged—I don’t know how much, but my father and mother were devout and generous and obedient Catholics, and what they pledged, they paid. 

I don’t blame the bishop. How could he know that we were on the brink of a calamitous collapse? Our parish school, built by the family money of an Irish pastor a hundred years ago, is now the borough offices and lockup. There is but a single high school left for the diocese. (Read more.)


Things Only Book Readers Know About Gimli

 From GameRant:

This is part of the long resolution that is even more drawn-out in the books, but the fact is that Gimli saw a lot of places that no Dwarf had ever seen thanks to his close friendship with Legolas and his connection with Galadriel. In the books, Gimli and Legolas actually bonded over their disagreement over who was more beautiful, Arwen or Galadriel, with Legolas choosing the former and Gimli the latter.

The story of Gimli being gifted with three of Galadriel's strands of hair is well known, but a lesser-known fact is that her uncle Fëanor, the great smith who crafted the Silmarils, made a similar request of her. He was refused, but Gimli's ask was granted, perhaps because of the Dwarf's humility and sincere flattery. This version of the story appears in Unfinished Tales, one of Tolkien's later incomplete books that were edited by his son. (Read more.)


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Langdon Farm


An old estate on the road to Tilghman Island. From The Old House Life:

 Langdon Farm is located on 157 waterfront acres in Sherwood, Maryland. The main house was built in 1760! The property has a deep dock with cabana, award winning gardens, two garden houses, pool, hot tub and pool house, manager’s house, collector’s garage and 18 significant outbuildings and structures. The interior of the home is exquisite! 11 fireplaces and ornate moldings! Ten bedrooms, eight bathrooms, and 12,578 square feet. (Read more.)


U.S. Abortions Increase

 From CNA:

The number of U.S. abortions increased by nearly 70,000 in three years, according to data compiled by a pro-abortion research organization. The increase, it says, reverses a 30-year decline. A total of 930,160 unborn babies were aborted in 2020 — an 8% increase from the 862,320 abortions in 2017, according to a new report published by the Guttmacher Institute on Wednesday.

“The loss of each of these children is incalculable,” Lila Rose, head of the pro-life group Live Action, tweeted in response to the report. In women between the ages of 15 and 44, the abortion rate increased 7%, from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women in 2017 to 14.4 per 1,000 women in 2020. The abortion ratio — the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies — increased 12%, from 18.4% in 2017 to 20.6% in 2020. (Read more.)


Anne of Green Gables and the Glorious Sanctity of Life

 From Well-Read Mom:

When I was a child, sprawled out across my bed, delighting in Anne for the first time, her quaint sense of melodrama (to which I completely related) and her yearning for beauty and love spoke to my very soul. As a teenager, I sought to emulate Anne’s sense of conviction, righteousness, and ambition, desiring to aspire to her lofty ideals of character and empathizing with her very human struggles. Now, as an adult, though I certainly revel in those aspects of the story, I find myself increasingly pondering Matthew and Marilla’s role in this poignant tale.

Last month, our nation observed the ghastly anniversary of Roe v. Wade, through which the “right” to abortion was enshrined across America. Since this legal development, over 62 million lives have been extinguished (and countless souls tragically transfigured and maimed), all under the guise of empowering women. While this catastrophic loss of life is staggering, the grim ramifications extend well beyond the sheer death toll. The callousness with which we regard unborn human life has grossly redefined our views regarding children and motherhood in very tangible ways. We continually demean the vocation of the “mere” stay-at-home mother as “wasting” a woman’s talents and energies, while we simultaneously promote the commodification of pregnancy and our bodies through developments like surrogacy. We lament the realities of sexual and domestic abuse, but we fail to see how our cavalier attitude towards sexual ethics, marital fidelity, and lasting commitment contribute to these ills. In a world where unborn children are regarded as discardable, tantamount to mere medical waste, how can motherhood, family, and the primacy of human relationship and connection be upheld?

With this sobering reality in my mind, I found It hard to dismiss the undeniably pro-life message contained in Anne of Green Gables. While author Lucy Maud Montgomery may never have fathomed a world in which abortion-on-demand was not only touted as a “right,” but even as a “victory” for women, she obviously recognized the difficulty faced in unhesitatingly welcoming children into our lives, particularly when it interferes with our best-laid plans. Marilla’s unreserved consternation upon Anne’s unexpected arrival at Green Gables vividly mirrors the sentiments uttered by countless parents caught unawares: How could this possibly be? Everything had been perfectly calculated and prepared for a specific outcome, yet somehow, instead of the desired boy (the proverbial “perfect” child for to suit Marilla and Matthew’s needs), there was only this waifish “witch of a girl.” In light of her own disappointment and frustration, Marilla unabashedly, and rather hardheartedly asserts, “A girl would be of no use to us,” and further expounds on this sentiment, saying: “I don’t want an orphan girl and if I did she isn’t my style” (page 22 and 25) Though Marilla is hardly a soulless monster, the temptation to view other human beings in a utilitarian light, specifically when facing our own difficulties or challenging circumstances, is an insidious tendency to which even the best of us can fall prey. What use is this person to us? How can an unplanned baby enrich our lives, without hampering our future designs or dreams? How can a sick or elderly person, or an individual with special needs be of value when they demand so much from us? What is the point of enduring the ardors and struggles of marriage, parenthood, family life, or community if we do not receive a tangible benefit or profit?
While we can understand Marilla’s dilemma (I mean, how might we initially respond if an unexpected orphan child ended up on our doorstep?), Matthew’s perspective should give us pause. Instead of speculating, as Marilla does, whether Anne is a “useful little thing,” Matthew remarks that “She’s such an interesting little thing” (40). Though Anne’s appearance in their lives was thoroughly unexpected, and Matthew initially recoils at her small female visage (due to his blinding fear of the fairer sex), Matthew astutely recognizes the vivifying beauty of Anne: a beauty found in the singular brilliance of her soul, and a worth realized, not in her usefulness or the convenience of her presence, but simply in the merit of her irreplaceable existence. (Read more.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The French Breadbasket


 From Victoria:

Awake to a luxuriant sampling evocative of the most charming Parisian pâtisserie. Recipes developed in the Victoria test kitchens range from simple indulgences using prepared ingredients to gourmet specialties sure to enchant the experienced baker. Every sumptuous offering, flaky bite, and mouthwatering crumb extends a sublime welcome to the day. As tempting to the eye as to the palate, Raspberry-Nectarine Bostock comes together quickly for an easy yet impressive focal point for the brunch menu. Day-old brioche—brushed with syrup, spread with preserves, and sprinkled with frangipane—becomes a tasty canvas for an array of luscious toppings. (Read more.)


The Curse of Lifestyle Leftism

 From Compact:

Rather, today’s progressive movement has come to be dominated by what Wagenknecht calls the “lifestyle left.” Its followers, who often tend to (erroneously, Wagenknecht contends) describe themselves as left-liberals, “no longer place social and political-economic problems at the center of left-wing politics. In the place of such concerns, they promote questions regarding lifestyle, consumption habits, and moral attitudes.”

Lifestyle-leftists are cosmopolitan and staunchly “pro-European” (that is, pro-European Union). They care about the climate and stand up for emancipation, immigration, and sexual minorities. They are convinced that the nation-state is, or should be, on the verge of extinction. Members of the lifestyle left also tend to prize individual autonomy and self-realization above tradition and community. Since lifestyle leftists hardly ever suffer real financial hardship, they show little real interest in working-class economic concerns. Of course, the goal remains that of a “just” and “nondiscriminatory” society, but the path to get there no longer passes through the old themes of the political economy—wages, pensions, taxes, unemployment benefits, and the like—but through symbols and language.

This is true not just of mainstream center-left parties, such as the Democrats in the United States, Britain’s Labour, or Germany’s Social-Democratic Party, which have openly embraced neoliberal economics, but also of “radical” left parties. The latter might take a critical stand against neoliberalism and even capitalism, and they may even openly advocate “socialism.” Yet as far apart as the mainstream and radical left may seem at first glance, their “cultural” outlook is very similar: urban, cosmopolitan, pro-globalization, pro-immigration, pro-identity politics. They are equally oblivious to the fact that the institutions and policies they support—the European Union, poorly managed immigration, “flexible” labor markets—have benefited big capital while making the lives of working-class people more precarious. Of course, these policies have also favored the material interests of academic and intellectual middle classes in metropoles, which, uncoincidentally, happens to be the social base of the new left.

“Radical” leftists in particular seem to ignore the ways in which their cultural outlook tends to reinforce the economic injustices they claim to fight. As Wagenknecht writes, “left liberalism and its identity politics, which urges everyone to define their identity on the basis of their origin, skin color, sex, or sexual inclination … creates rifts precisely where solidarity is urgently needed.” The result is a loss of “social union,” which everywhere is replaced by “separate and distinct groups. This doesn’t just undermine solidarity in workplaces; it also destroys the sense of belonging of the community as a whole, that is, the most important precondition for solidarity and social justice.”

Part of the problem is that left militants, of all shades, have become not only culturally, but even physically detached from the proletariat. Wagenknecht laments the fact that, “to the extent that the well-off, big-city academics meet the less-advantaged in real life at all, it is in the form of cheap service workers, who clean their flats, carry their parcels, and serve them sushi in the restaurant.” While these militants and intellectuals claim to speak on behalf of “the workers,” in reality they despise and decry the values and lifestyle of the underprivileged—their problems, their grievances, their anger.

 To the left’s eyes, every critic of immigration is a Nazi in disguise, just like anyone who feels an attachment to his home country; anyone who doesn’t believe in transferring more and more power to undemocratic institutions such as the European Union is a nationalist; anyone who criticizes higher fuel and heating-oil prices is a climate-change denier; anyone who doubts the wisdom of continued lockdowns and raises legitimate questions about the Covid vaccines is a conspiracy theorist and an anti-vaxxer; anyone who is afraid of the potentially disastrous consequences of a conflict with Russia is a Kremlin stooge. (Read more.)


Edward VII and the Catholic Church

 From Stephanie Mann:

My frequent correspondent Edward Short, whose books about Newman and abortion I have reviewed on my blog and elsewhere, reviewed The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince for The Weekly Standard. In it, he comments:
One corollary of Bertie’s continental savoir-faire was his marked distaste for many of his compatriots’ prejudices, especially their anti-Semitism and anti-Catholicism. At the same time, he was adamant about respecting the different traditions of his subjects: When his first sea lord, Admiral Fisher, marveled at his concern for the health of the socialist firebrand Keir Hardie, Bertie responded, “You don’t understand me. I am the King of all the people.”
Edward VII, according to some other sources, had several Catholic and Jewish friends, and demonstrated both some interest in Catholicism and some good common sense about Anglican-Catholic relations. He attended a Requiem Mass for the King of Portugal, Carlos I, after his assassination in 1908, at the Portuguese Embassy Chapel. The Archbishop of Westminster, Francis Bourne, seated the King and Queen Alexandra rather prominently in the chapel and the Protestant Alliance said that Edward VII had violated his coronation oath to the Defender of the (Protestant) Faith.

Both The Telegraph and The Catholic Herald published stories in the lead up to Pope Benedict XVI's state visit to Scotland and England about Edward VII even being received into the Catholic Church of his deathbed, like Charles II. From The Telegraph:
Edward was known for his Catholic sympathies. He had tried to change the Coronation service to keep out anti-Catholic remarks. As Prince of Wales, he had visited Pope Pius IX three times. When guests at Marlborough House were unwell, Fr Forster would bring the Sacrament to them, and the Prince would meet him at the door, conducting him upstairs with lighted tapers to the sick-room.

(Read more.)


Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Friendship at Highclere

 From Lady Carnarvon:

Moving on, over the last few years we have tried to innovate at Highclere. This is never easy when the “business “ is sustaining an antique castle which, in every way, needs to stay true to itself, cannot move and is a traditional industry welcoming visitors. Yet of course like every business we do need to think ahead and as the bills to restore are never-ending I regard it as a challenge to have a bright idea. 

One endeavour was to create our Highclere Castle Gin business which developed into some possibly increasingly eccentric virtual cocktail parties during covid and is now forging ahead and commended for being outstanding. I also write books, each project something I really enjoy except when the  deadline approaches. There is a new Downton film and some smaller requests to film, all of which is wonderful but more is always needed. Putting it all together, I thought Highclere can go 3D and go where no other stately home has ever gone. In fact not many others have quite followed this path at all yet. Filming a room in 3D takes some time and, given the number of cameras on the one 3D camera, it is a process which has to be done in one take only. If I go wrong, I can feel the tension although the words are  “don’t worry Lady C let’s do it again”.  The next step is for the expert filming team to download each video which takes days. (Read more.)


Wages Of Americans Have Declined

 From Jeffrey Lord:

During May 2022, inflation hit the highest level since December 1981 as prices rose 1% from the previous month and 8.6% from the year before, according to a separate report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 8.6% increase in prices over the last year resulted in a dramatic decrease in the real wages of Americans. The Bureau of Labor Statistics wrote, “Real average hourly earnings decreased 3.0 percent, seasonally adjusted, from May 2021 to May 2022. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.9 percent in the average workweek resulted in a 3.9-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.”

Additionally, the real average weekly earnings of American workers decreased 0.7% from April to May. The two reports on the American economy revealed much worse numbers that economists had predicted.  As noted by CNBC, the “consumer price index, a wide-ranging measure of goods and services prices, increased even more than the 8.3% Dow Jones estimate.” (Read more.)


The 'Trianon' Controversy Revisited

 In 1997 I wrote and self-published a paperback novel called Trianon: A Novel of Royal France. It quickly sold out. In the year 2000 it was republished by The Neumann Press in hardcover and for many years was their best seller. In 2010, wishing to have another paperback available for readers, I self-published Trianon again on, and later produced a Kindle edition. 

I began blogging in 2006. As many of my readers know, I have had quite a collection of crazies stalking me over the years. The worst and most persistent was a professor from a Catholic college. The professor was joined by another academic, who also enjoyed hounding me all over the internet. I wrote about the experience HERE

I would prefer not to resurrect their unpleasantness. But a friend has alerted me to the fact that one of the professors has a blog called Maggie's Place in which I am mentioned in a slanderous manner. Although at first glance, it seemed to be an interesting historical blog that I would want to follow. One blog post is a review of my novel Trianon, originally published twenty-five years ago. The woman reviewing it really hates it; she has been publishing the same review on and off on various sites for years. It seems a bit excessive to pay so much attention to a novel that was written so long ago. Yes, it was my first novel; there is much I would now do differently, although so many people have loved it the way it is. By their regard, I am flattered and humbled. 

I do want to address "Maggie's" calumnious statements. First of all, she calls me "enraged" and "saintly." I am certainly not saintly. And I was never enraged at their attacks. I only get enraged at people I care about. However, as the mother of a family, I was concerned because the male professor would not go away. I wrote to his Dean to inquire if he had a history of violence. If so, I planned to contact the FBI. But it seems that in spite of his eccentricities he was considered harmless.  Here is what Maggie's "postscript" saysTo quote:

The enraged, saintly author of this saintly garbage attacked me personally for my review, as well as a review of a friend of mine. Then she tried to contact our employers to complain about what dreadful people we were. She indulged in several inflammatory screeds on her blog, Tea at Trianon, that were clearly beyond the pale, and it was here that she doxed both me and my friend.

I got her banned from Goodreads and all her reviewing privileges removed from both Amazon and Goodreads.

I also find it eminently fitting that she launched another blog in 2016, this one in support of all things Trump.

I never attacked "Maggie" personally. I do not know her at all. I never contacted her employer. I did not and do not know who her employer was or is. I do not care to know. I did not "dox" anyone. Both professors were quite eager to share their academic credentials with the world, which is the only reason I had any idea who they were at all. By the time I went public with my blog post the two had been revealing themselves with alacrity all over cyberspace. But notice that "Maggie" brags that she had me banned from Goodreads and Amazon. Who would brag about doing something so malicious? It has not hurt me but it has hurt many authors who have asked me to post reviews of their works on Amazon and Goodreads. As for a blog on Trump, I really have no idea what she is talking about. I do not have a blog on Trump. I did start a page but it is not a blog since it is computer-generated. It tends to generate conservative and Catholic content since that is what my readers are generally interested in. If people do not like my books or my blogs or any of my sites, they do not have to read them. I do not care. But calumny is unacceptable.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Artist in Focus: Sir Peter Lely

Sir Peter Lely
From Philip Mould and Company:

Sir Peter Lely was the most successful court painter in England in the second half of the seventeenth century and his portraits have come to define an era associated with indulgence and pleasure under the rule of the 'Merry Monarch' King Charles II.

Lely (originally Pieter van der Faes) was born in Soest, Westphalia, Germany. His father, Johan van der Faes, was stationed as an infantry Captain in the Dutch army and his mother, Abigail van Vliet, was from a wealthy family based in Utrecht. His family owned a number of properties; one of which, In de Leyle, was decorated with the carving of a lily and is said to be the origin of Lely's pseudonym. Having attended The Guild of St Luke, as the pupil of Frans Pietersz de Grebber, Lely gained a reputation as a remarkably adept figure painter and portraitist. 

Although the exact date Lely travelled to England is unclear, it is generally accepted that he had settled in London by c. 1643, during the English Civil War, two years after the death of the portraitist Sir Anthony van Dyck. Despite sharing the stage with many accomplished painters, his technique and considerable personal charm guaranteed him the most prestigious patronage. Almost all of consequence in his age sat to him, and it is in his portraits that we form our conception of the cautious solemnity of the 1650s and the scandalous excesses of the years following the Restoration of Charles II. (Read more.)

Charles II

Catherine of Braganza

More HERE.