Wednesday 27 September 2023

Poly-Olbion ... colouring-in books ...


Poly-Olbion is a topographic poem depicting the counties in England and Wales, written by Michael Drayton (1563 – 1631) and published in 1612, with a reprint in 1622.

Part of Cornwall - showing 
St Michael's Mount and the Scilly Isles
Drayton was an English poet, specialising in historical poetry, who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era. Every poem was anthropomorphised … then brought to artistic life by William Hole, a skilled engraver, who died in 1624 (his d.o.b.) is uncertain.

Poly-Olbion came to my notice (somehow) as colouring books– so guess who had to investigate...

Drayton had adopted the concept of celebrating all the points of topographical or antiquarian interest in his homeland …

Title page of Poly-Olbion -
as engraved on copper
plate by William Hole
in 1624

Albion's Glorious Ile – 'Of Albion's glorious Ile – I write.' - Drayton's used the rhetorical device of prosopopoeia throughout his song-poems.

As I didn't understand it – for elucidation: to remind me and let you know … prosopopoeia is when (in this case) an abstract thing is personified

River Severn - showing south Wales, with
the English of St George on the pennant,
on the opposite shore
England in the 1500s had very few roads, when the rivers were an important and mythologised natural feature – which the poem eulogises …

Part of the blurb 'as we move from place to place: an extraordinary textual repository of English and Welsh history, topography, legends, wildlife and traditions is amassed'.

Possibly depicting Boudica - Queen of
the Iceni tribe - which resided in
Norfolk, by the city of Norwich

Every subject imaginable is considered: Roman builders, English saints, the birds of Arden Forest, Dutch settlers, the great sheep of the Cotswolds, falconry, Robin Hood, sea monsters, Druidry, civil wars, herbal cures.

Quite honestly – that's even more than my brain carries! - it has been boggling at these songs/ poems …

Well I think perhaps I'd better just get to why I'm writing this post … when I was out in Canada I came across adults' colouring art pages … but quite honestly they didn't do anything for me …

Cover for one of the volumes

Then these colouring books appeared and I was entranced – whether I actually sit and colour them in is another matter – being somewhat incompetent in that area …

Who'd have thought the art of colouring was popular during the 17th century and beyond – when many of the original monochrome copies of these maps would be hand-coloured by both amateur and professional colourists.

Showing a coloured version
from earlier times - this is
part of Worcestershire

If you feel another post could enhance this one to add a bit more information – then I'll give it a go next time …

A few links: The University of Exeter's takes you to the others, with some explanatory details set out … particularly relevant are that the workshops were delivered for children, with Special Education Needs, mainly in the South-West region of England … the Royal Geographical Society was also involved.

Flash of Splendour's logo

The University of Exeter's involvement

Flash of Splendour Arts

The Poly-Olbion Project/s … the children's project ran concurrently with the scholarly version …

Michael Drayton c/o Wikipedia

PS - the books are now out of print ... so I was lucky to have found some ... publication was in 2015 ... so time has passed.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Society

Thursday 21 September 2023

The Cornish are a Nation …


This was not the intended post … that's coming … but this intrigued me … being a committed Cornishlady …

The three ancient
continental land masses

I must have been looking for something (understatement) but came across this Facebook post from the University of Plymouth … at the boundary of Cornwall and Devon …

it was subtitled: Cornwall – a different people, a different land! - though I wasn't born there (my mother's family is from St Ives) … this could so easily apply to me.

I've plagiarised/ summarised /messed with their 2019 FB post – but linked back so you can see the whole …

World Heritage Mining Walk
(Botallack is marked -
part of 'The Crown Mine' estate)

Geology has always fascinated me … and coming from the land of the tin mines, it makes sense – in fact my disastrous marriage was celebrated in a tin mine counting house at Botallack … the culinary celebration was very good – the rest: not so …

I wrote about Bewitching Breeches at Botallack for my 'B' post in the 2015 A-Z challenge 'Aspects of British Cornish.


The University of Plymouth believe that a third ancient continental land mass melded this Albion isle … as shown in the image posted above …

It's been known that Avalonia formed most of England, which then formed an attachment to Laurasia … part of the Laurentian land mass, which at one stage formed part of the ancient continent of Euramerica/Laurussia …

It always amazes me that these continental plates 'moved around' so much, and at one stage (long, long ago) we could have walked to north America …

Folded old red sandstone rock formation
at St Anne's, Wales

...the Old Red Sandstone is an assemblage of rocks in the North Atlantic region – which extends from Great Britain, Ireland and Norway across to Greenland and northern eastern Canada and the USA …

Another A – Z post on Aspects of British Coasts – the 'G' post: G is for Geology, Gneiss, Groynes, 'Grippers' … gives another view …

Geology of Great Britain (see Wiki)

I think I've probably almost ruined the idea about the world and its tectonic plates … but there is a link – to my next incredible story … colouring books from the 1600s – who'd have thought?!

Patience is a virtue … thanks for reading though …

The ancient Celtic tribes of southern
England (Dumnonii - Cornwall and Devon)

University of Plymouth Facebook post September 2019;

Avalonia – c/o Wikipedia

Laurasia – c/o Wikipedia

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Thursday 7 September 2023

Pigeon Post ...


We had to use up our stamps by July 31st … the deadline was looming … I had a few – not enough to worry about swapping out for the new ones, but definitely not waste.

One of the old stamps -
featuring our Eastbourne
band stand.
I thought of whom I could drop notes to (not proper letters) … mostly, believe it or not, bloggers – so the cache were scattered out onto the table … as I had 1p (one penny stamps), 10p, 5p ones- dating back to who knows when … well I guess the 1990s, when I came back to live here.

I also had to ascertain the cost of stamps in July … we had moved on to … I had some 'World stamps' and some 'Europe' ones … a right mix – but the priority became more urgent as the July days ticked by.

The particular version - I sent to Damyanti

Competition kicked in – business ideas changed etc etc … so I guess the change up in July was to be expected … now that we had a new monarch: King Charles III (first time I've written that).

Amazingly the British postal service was founded 507 years ago – when Henry VIII was on the throne. Name changes have occurred – and it is now the Royal Mail as a brand – the government's remaining share was sold off in 2015, ending 499 years of state ownership.

Louth (Lincolnshire) to London Royal Mail
(1820) by Charles Cooper Henderson
These Origami inspired crafted letter-envelope combinations appeared at our Towner art gallery and I always rather admired them – so decided they'd make a few journeys across the seas or up and down the country: using up said expiring stamps.

Apothecary Pigeon ones

Pigeon post – suggest you send a pigeon. 

Here we have Apothecary Pigeon letter-cards ... Fern, honesty, witch hazel ... these medicinal marvels were picked from the artist's (Jake Lever) garden.

Simple instructions for the letter Reinvented:




Feel more connected – send a Pigeon.

I dutifully followed instructions: I may have sent them in plain envelopes … so I (or the various mail systems) didn't mess up the actual design.

Wildflower ones

Their motto – 'A more satisfying way to communicate' – I couldn't agree more … I've heard back from most – perhaps they haven't arrived, or sickness reigns, or it's summer holiday time still …

and one post from Singapore appeared – jogging my posting mind that this could be my first autumnal one, getting into the way of normality again (I don't do normality – but there we go!).  Damyanti has/had nesting birds on her balcony - so this choice of pigeon post was appropriate.

So another reminder for us all – do write hand-written letters … they can inspire and uplift friends or family.

To round this off – here's a quote from the long poem Musophilus by Samuel Daniel, first published in 1599 in his Poeticall Essayes:

O blessed letters that combine in one

All ages past, and make one live with all,

By you we do confer with you who are gone,

And the dead living unto counsel call:

By you th'unborn shall have communion

Of what we feel, and what doth us befall.

Thanks for visiting – and congratulations to the IWSG group, Alex in particular, which/who celebrated 12 years yesterday … my first A-Z, which led me to IWSG, was in 2011 … and I know many of you have been around for as long as I have.

Midnight Garden Pigeon ones

I certainly wouldn't still be blogging if it wasn't for this incredibly supportive group of blogging friends ('you' in other words) … and learning from each and everyone of you.

Damyanti's post: When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand?  

Pigeon Post website ... well worth a visit ... 

Please Read the Letter prompt for the WEP entry in June 2022 - here's my entry ... 

Musophilus - see Wiki entry ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories