Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Omega Quest. Part Two of Four.

This is the headstone designed by CRM for Alice Talwin Morris, (nee Marsh) as a monument to her late husband, Talwin Morris.
Both Alice and Talwin are interred there now. They are placed in a nice spot. Quiet. Contemplative.
The evening I was there, the Sun was shining, the light filtering down through the overhanging branches of the Ash tree planted behind the headstone.
I don't know much of Alice Marsh, only the letters she wrote to Professor Thomas Howarth, providing information for what was to become his book 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement,' but I already like her.
At that time in 1948, Alice was aged 86 and living in Bexhill-on-Sea on the south coast of England.
I have to assume that Alice had made plans regarding her resting place, and those would be fulfilled some seven years later when she made her final journey 400 miles north to Dumbarton Cemetery.
Alice had waited 44 years to be beside her husband again. She was, and is, a special Lady and I like her a lot.
I have tried to find a pre-1955 photograph or sketch of the monument, without success so far. This would confirm the actual installation was as shown in the CRM design drawing here.
There is some evidence of other monumental stonework buried beneath 100 years of autumn fall, but it may just never have been installed as designed, or the incursion of the access road may have contributed to the removal of much of the stonework.
The plaque with inscription is also different from the design drawing shown here. but it is possible that any original Lead metal plaque may have been stolen, and the current plaque was installed when Alice was interred in 1956.
The original design drawing inscription:


may have been suggested by Alice, or by both Alice and CRM. It is taken, I believe, from the novel 'The Dominion of Dreams' by Fiona MacLeod, who was a pseudonym of William Sharp, the Scottish writer, whose works would have been known to both Alice and CRM.

William Sharp is buried at the Castello di Maniace, on the Island of Sicily.
His grave is marked with a Celtic Cross which carries the same inscription, chosen by William's wife. This may be relevant. What do you think?

The "distant country of Splendour and Terror." comes from The Inner Beauty by Maurice Maeterlinck, I believe, but I have no real understanding of the meaning of the inscription with reference to Talwin.

A detail of the upper carving shown below:
A view of the rear right hand side shown below:
A side view of the left hand side shown below:
And, as our evening visit draws to a close, a final view shown below:
On the next part of my Omega Quest, I will be visiting Kilmacolm. I hope you will join me.

Sans Update 9th may 2012.
The University of Glasgow has a Mackintosh Architecture website that I cannot recommend highly enough.
It is wonderful!
Their entry on the monument for Talwin and Alice makes reference to the sweeping shape as designed by CRM, and how it may be an M.
It suddenly made sense that CRM designed this monument as an architectural frame, like those used by Talwin to enclose his book cover designs.
How fitting that the last resting place for a jewel of a Man, should be framed by the design of a Master.
At least, it is a possibility.
Sans Update 19th September 2012.
Alice made her final journey from Barnstaple in Devon. Please find her notice below.
I also include Talwin's notice, and have taken the liberty of providing a clearer version of the text below the printed version.
May Alice and her beloved husband rest in peace.


Blogger Julia Smith said...

I'm loving this, Sans.

7:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Julia would say that. She agrees with everything you say. Well, there are "yes" people, and then there's me.

5:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

.. btw, SP, I just got a new place. Click on my beautiful face for the link.

6:13 PM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

Julia, thank you. It is truly a quest.

Dick, love the new place! Welcome back to the struggle.

7:05 AM  
Blogger Sans Pantaloons said...

In memoriam of Alice Talwin Morris, died 24th December 1955. A very special and talented Lady.

2:22 PM  

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