First Name Kenneth #33. Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 8, 1859. Trying to rouse himself, all he could think of to hearten his bride in his pre-wedding letter is that he means to “exhaust” her. His father virtually abandoned his children to relatives, and Grahame was sent to boarding school in Oxford at the age of nine. Initially, sales were poor. Verso: Label in green stamp: 10774 It was apparently seen hanging there in 1959. Banking on Mr. Toad will see Kebbel as Grahame and Headey as his wife Elsie, while Brian Blessed (Flash Gordon) is set to portray Grahame’s friend Frederick James Furnivall. This portrait was once thought to be a portrait of Dorothy Trevor Daintree (1888 – 1965) who purportedly gave the picture to the Trust and, based on stylistic evidence, it was attributed to William Blake Richmond (1842 – 1921). Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. This had been obscured by the current frame but on closer examination, in red paint on the top left hand corner, it is signed and dated 1881, the year Dicksee was made an Associate of the Royal Academy and of which he was later to become President. A moving biography of Kenneth Grahame, author of the children's classic The Wind in the Willows, and of the vision of English pastoral life that inspired it. 205846, Sir Francis Bernard (Frank) Dicksee, KCVO, RA (London 1853 – London 1928), Sir William Blake Richmond KCB (London 1842 – London 1921), Sir Frederic Leighton, Lord Leighton PRA (Scarborough 1830 – Kensington 1896), Elspeth 'Elsie' Thomson, Mrs Kenneth Grahame (1862-1946). He was found on the railway line at Oxford – one of his father’s enchanted places. Kenneth Grahame (8 March 1859 – 6 July 1932) was a British writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. The sitter and her sister donated Dorneywood to the National Trust in 1943 with their brother Lord Courtauld-Thomson of Dorneywood as part of the Dorneywood Settlement. The book was popularised by adaptation for the stage (AA Milne’s Toad of Toad Hall in 1929, a staple of school plays), a television version in 1984 and more recently a musical by Julian Fellowes. First Name Kenneth. When he was a little more than a year old, his father, an advocate, received an appointment as sheriff-substitute in Argyllshire, at Inveraray on Loch Fyne. Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Synopsis Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 8, 1859. Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish author best known for writing the children’s book The Wind in the Willows. He attended St. Edward's School there, and at the age of 17 began working as a clerk for the Bank of England. His favourite place was the stretch of the Thames between Marlow and Pangbourne; also Fowey, the town clinging to a coastal hillside in Cornwall, looking down on a patch of blue. He now rests with his wife and son in … Kenneth Cranham (born 12 December 1944) is a Scottish film, television, radio and stage actor. Author Born in Scotland #23. Grahame’s future wife was very much a part of “society”, a competent organiser of social events, and possessed a strongly romantic, non-conformist streak – something which manifested itself on the day of her wedding at St. Fimbarrus, Fowey in 1899. And yet a routinely brutal public school, St Edward’s in Oxford, which he entered at the age of nine and a half, and later, fellow bankers at the Treasury, provided traditional groups in which Grahame did more than function; he flourished. Banking On Mr Toad will use private archives to explore Kenneth Grahame’s unconventional relationship with his wife Elspeth and his career at the Bank of England. A moving biography of Kenneth Grahame, author of the children's classic The Wind in the Willows, and of the vision of English pastoral life that inspired it. The enduring popularity, Dennison suggests, lies in nostalgia and an appeal “to the instinctive conservatism of small children who hanker to preserve their particular worlds intact”. He instructs his friend Mole that anyone with sense would not go there. This portrait of 19-year-old Elsie Thomson, who later married Kenneth Grahame of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ (1908) fame, is exquisitely executed. Kenneth Grahame, Writer: The Wind in the Willows. Grahame's father, Cunningham, a Scottish lawyer, reacted to his wife's death by drinking himself into a stupor from which he never really emerged: … Kenneth Grahame (West side:) To the beautiful memory of Kenneth Grahame husband of Elspeth and father of Alistair who passed the river on the 6th. Women in Grahame’s works are dreamlike – fairies, princesses, enchantresses – not people to know. In a book on homosexuals in the 19th century, Graham Robb includes Kenneth Grahame, though among the “pre-sexual”. His lasting fiction The Wind in the Willows (1908) was less successful at first, rejected by publishers and reviewers, who wanted a third volume of Olympians stories, not an animal fantasy. Ominously, there is a pale stag in the tapestry of the room Mr Casaubon assigns to his bride. All the while, he could sink into his other self, composing stories about five orphans who reject the “Olympians”, the aunts and uncles who suppress imaginative children. Get the New Statesman’s Morning Call email. Another is a political reading of The Wind in the Willows: This is an aggressively conservative book and its targets include socialism and any form of faddishness or craving for novelty, Toad’s weakness. Loyalty to caste and suppression of the masses are at the heart of its patrician creed. He was a massive figure, tall and broad with no spare flesh. Kenneth Grahame (1859-1932) was not born in a dark and lowly little house. Her only surviving letter to Grahame does put him on the spot for a forgotten overture. The illustrator EH Shepard catches this idyll to perfection. In a book on homosexuals in the 19th century, Graham Robb includes Kenneth Grahame, though among the “pre-sexual”. With the arrival of spring and fine weather outside, the good-natured Mole loses patience with spring cleaning. Fathering was another narrative that ended badly when Mouse, born blind in one eye, squinting and quirky, could not adapt to the dominant group. Elspeth lived until 1946. Furthermore the portrait was identified as being of Elsie Thomson (1862-1946), who later married Kenneth Grahame of ‘The Wind in the Willows’ (1908) fame in 1899. Kenneth Grahame, (born March 8, 1859, Edinburgh, Scotland—died July 6, 1932, Pangbourne, Berkshire, England), British author of The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children’s literature.Its animal characters—principally Mole, Rat, Badger, and Toad—combine captivating human traits with authentic animal habits. He went to live with his grandmother in Cookham Dene, Berkshire. When Grahame added marriage to his set of conformities, his heart wasn’t in it. Dennison avoids labels with a subject hard to know. ... sources. The reminders are necessary because the blows, as they happen, are oddly unmoving. Lyndall Gordon’s books include “Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World” (Virago), Eternal Boy: The Life of Kenneth Grahame A head-and-shoulders portrait of the future wife of Kenneth Grahame, author of 'The Wind in the Willows' (1908) whom she marrried in 1899. Contemporary opinion saw Grahame as “a man’s man”. Yet hard on the march, as it were, was a fantasist with toys scattered around his study and a doll drawer. Daughter of Robert William Thomson (Inventor) and Clara Thomson Wife of Kenneth Grahame (Author) Mother of Alastair Grahame Sister of Col. Sir Courtauld Greenwood Courtauld-Thomson; Winifred Hope Thomson (Artist) and Capt. Women were out of it, although Elspeth Thomson, at 37, took herself down to Fowey, ready to enter Grahame’s space. Grahame's father was appointed Sheriff-Substitute of Argyllshire in 1860, and the family moved to Inverary. Harold Lyon Thomson. So there’s the sum of Kenneth Grahame’s divided life: two wrecked people out of a family of three plus one endearing book. This involvement gave a vulnerable and otherwise distanced boy a rare access to Grahame’s dreaming self. Unpicking the myths, Dennison balances regard with disturbing facts. The Wind in the Willows. But by the time Kenneth entered the wide world, the royal blood had long diluted. She has delicate features, a lovely benign expression and the detail of her dress and necklace are fine. The Kenneth Grahame Literary File consists of 150 photographs (147 photographic prints and 3 nitrate negatives), including portraits and snapshots of Grahame, his son Alastair, his wife Elspeth, and various other people. We meet the creatures of the riverbank as Ratty introduces Mole to an “intoxicating” drift in a boat. It seems that the picture was at Dorneywood as late as 1959 when a book on Grahame was written and the painting was illustrated. There Grahame and another writer, Arthur Quiller-Couch (known as “Q”), liked “to mess about in boats”. Kenneth Grahame charmed readers with The Wind in the Willows – but his personal life left tragedy in its wake. Most Popular #111583. I have, however, shown a photograph of it to a Victorian expert, Christopher Newall, who thought that it might be by Sir William Blake Richmond (1842 - 1921) -named from his father's late friendship with Blake), and this has been conformed by the author of the work in progress on the artist, Simon Reynolds But the Frank Dicksee expert, Simon Toll, got in touch with the Trust in 2013 and told us of the existence of the signature of this Victorian artist and its date on the picture, based on original photographic sources when the painting was exhibited at the Grosvenor Galleries in 1882. But Grahame himself did go there, and more: he shaped himself to the Wide World. This “toy-soldiering”, it appears, was not fake. Children's Author. Head of Zeus, 288pp, £18.99, Lyndall Gordon is the author of “Outsiders: Five Women Writers Who Changed the World” (Virago), This article appears in the 09 November 2018 issue of the New Statesman, Revenge of the nation state, How nature reclaims the places humans have abandoned. Their son Alastair, who was nicknamed 'Mouse' and had only one eye, was the inspiration for Toad but committed suicide at 19. My daughter found the book a bit slow until it got to the adventures of absurdly puffed-up Mr Toad. This website uses cookies to help us give you the best experience when you visit our website. She was also the step-daughter of John Fletcher Moulton, barrister and sometime Liberal MP. The Wind in the Willows developed out of stories he’d told Mouse. When Kenneth was barely a year old his father obtained the post of Sheriff of Argyll and the family moved from Edinburgh to Argyll. Instead the child turned to the Thames, surrounded by willows at the bottom of the garden. When he was five, his mother died of puerperal fever, and his father, who had a drinking problem, assigned care of Kenneth, his brother Willie, his sister Helen and the new baby Roland to Granny Ingles, the children's grandmother, in Cookham Dean in the village of Cookham in Berkshire. Kenneth Grahame found solace from a joyless life with Ratty and Toad, says Ysenda Maxtone Graham Ysenda Maxtone Graham Saturday October 20 2018, 12.01am , The Times With this in view, she destroyed papers that might contradict her myths, one of which was that she had inspired The Wind in the Willows. Elspeth complained of sex to Emma Hardy, the neglected wife of the poet, who replied that “hundreds of wives” found themselves disappointed when it came to love. A photograph of the picture taken soon after its exhibition shows that it is signed and dated which is only just visible now; the picture was unframed by National Trust's painting conservator, Tina Sitwell, in April 2013 and its presence confirmed. One is an admission from a contemporary that Grahame was “cruel” to his wife. The result is a sensitively probing and nuanced portrait that makes sense of the darker character furled in the dreamer. His face remained “beatifically” young with the rosy complexion of a healthy child. In the end this book peels back actions to reveal a phenomenon that may not be all that uncommon: an “eternal boy” who cannot grow up yet manages to appear a specimen of manhood who ticks all the boxes. Dennison has reason to be annoyed with Elspeth for the biography she oversaw after Grahame’s death in 1932. After failing his Greek, Latin and holy studies exams three times at Christ Church, Mouse died, almost certainly by suicide, at the age of 20. In later years his nostalgia for this setting, as he knew it between the ages of five and seven (when they moved away), lies behind The Wind in the Willows. That was where they wed in July 1899. For Mouse is said to be the source for the irrepressibly articulate Mr Toad. They got together for rambles, with Grahame dressed like a countryman in tweed breeches and shapeless jacket. By continuing to use this website, you consent to our use of these cookies. Jeff Kinney. The picture is said to have been given by Dorothy Trevor Daintree, a medical graduate and the 'gracious and energetic English lady' who worked at Tripura missionary hospital in 1945. Here is what can happen to a child removed from domestic affection, “institutionalised” too young in a public school, and then compelled to give up natural longings for adventure and higher education to join the London branch of the family law firm, followed by a gentleman-clerkship in the Bank of England. Obviously, in the context of Oscar Wilde’s disgrace, men of that time had to be very, very careful, and Grahame was cautious enough to cease writing for The Yellow Book, the aesthetic journal publishing what were regarded as writers of dubious morality. Portrait (3570), © National Trust Images © National Trust Collections Registered Charity No. When the First World War came, his authoritative moustache (almost as thick as Lord Kitchener’s in the finger-pointing poster saying “Your Country Needs You”) prompted his appointment as commanding officer to a non-combatant regiment. The divide in Grahame goes back to Inveraray on Loch Fyne in the west of Scotland. She was the daughter of Robert William Thomson (1822 -1873), the inventor of the pneumatic tyre and the first floating dock, and his wife, Clara Hertz. Children's Authors. In the early years he lived with his family in the Western highlands. no bottom left: [3? Oil painting on canvas, Miss Elsie (Elspeth) Thomson, later Mrs Kenneth Grahame (1862-1946) by Sir Francis Bernard (Frank) Dicksee, KCVO, RA (London 1853 – London 1928), signed and dated upper left in red paint (obscured by frame): FRANK DICKSEE 1881. These stories were collected in The Golden Age (1895) and its sequel Dream Days (1898). Nature touched Grahame deeply; people did not. Kenneth Grahame was born on 8 March 1859 in Edinburgh. It makes sense that the Trust should have this painting as the sitter; her sister, Winifred; and their brother, Courtauld, gave their home Dorneywood to the National Trust in 1943 for use by the Chancellor of the Exchequer (just as Chequers was given by Viscount Lee for use of the Prime Minister). It was the heyday of divided lives, from the strange case of Jekyll and Hyde (1886) to the double voice of J Alfred Prufrock (1915), shifting from timorous lover to daring prophet. 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