Thursday 30 June 2022

Roving Eyes & Sticky Fingers; Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), Chelsea Old Church

There was nothing too small, too big, too fast or too odd for Hans Sloane not to want to put it under glass and attach a label. Setting out to collect the world in the late 17th century, Sloane packed his cabinets with gnats’ blood, Inuit sun visors, a stick to put down your throat to make yourself sick, a cyclops pig, a silver penis protector and a bit of coral that looked just like someone’s hand. Out of this jumble of natural and manmade scraps he fashioned a legacy for the nation. In 1759 the British Museum was opened for the purpose of letting plebeians, patricians and everyone in between gawp at the world as refracted through one man’s roving eye and sticky fingers.

Kathryn Hughes - The Guardian

Sir Hans Sloane has become something of an embarrassment to the beneficiaries of his many legacies. Dr Hartwig Fischer who, since 2016, had been the first foreign director of the British Museum, was left in a difficult position after the death of George Floyd and the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020. On 05 June the Museum website carried a special message from him;

The British Museum stands in solidarity with the British Black community, with the African American community, with the Black community throughout the world. We are aligned with the spirit and soul of Black Lives Matter everywhere.

Inevitably the question was asked – “does this mean the museum is going to return the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria?” (Or the Elgin Marbles to Greece, the Maqdala collection to Ethiopia, the Moai to Rapa Nui, the Rosetta stone to Egypt etc). The answer to that question was, of course, no. What the Museum would do would be to put “inclusion and diversity… at the heart of our values” by working “to diversify our own staff” and broadening “the diversity of voices present in the interpretation of objects in the collection” and, last but not least, by continuing “to research, acknowledge and address the colonial history of Britain and its impact on our institution…” And of course, that means having to acknowledge that your founding collection was donated by a slave owner…

In August 2020 a dusty bust of Sir Hans, to which no one previously had paid much attention, was removed from the pedestal in the museum it had occupied for longer than anyone remembered and placed inside a glass case along with a number of other objects and information boards which explained his role in the foundation of the museum and his connection to West Indian slavery.  This simple act meant that Sir Hans Sloane had, as far as some people were concerned, been 'cancelled'.  Dr Fischer somewhat undermined the reasonable course of action the museum had taken by excitedly telling the Daily Telegraph that “we have pushed him off the pedestal. We must not hide anything. Healing is knowledge,” before going on to defend the Museum’s stance on accepting corporate sponsorship from BP. The tabloids remained resolutely uninterested in the kerfuffle; the fuss wasn’t about Winston Churchill and no one had been pushed into a dock, so who cares? Charles Moore rushed to Soanes defence in the Spectator arguing that Dr Fischer had reacted “unprofessionally, in panic clothed as principle — and with base ingratitude” to the museum's founding father. David Olusoga responded to the article in the Guardian pointing out that “Britain is gradually coming to the end of a very different and highly effective process of historical erasure that has endured for centuries. What bothers critics of the museum is that the new display makes plain the fact that much of the wealth Sloane used to purchase his vast collection was derived from slavery.” The Belfast Telegraph wasn’t having any of that, Sir Hans a slave owner!; “Hans Sloane never owned a slave,” claimed Elizabeth Crilley, the CEO and founder of the Sir Hans Sloane Centre in Sir Hans’ birthplace Killyleagh, County Down, “a man of the church sent him a slave but Hans Sloane educated him and put him on a boat to France to get him on his feet." Ms Crilley acknowledged that some of Sir Hans’ money may have originated in slavery but that was not, she claimed, his fault; "Yes, he did get money, but how did he get his money? He fell in love with a woman. It was her father who was a slave trader. Are the sins of the father to be passed on to the children?" (Perhaps only if the money is!)

In his Spectator article Charles Moore gives a concise account, the Pro Sloane version, of Sir Han’s life;

'Dedication to truthfulness when it comes to history is absolutely crucial,’ says Dr Fischer. In that spirit of truthfulness, it might be worth pausing to consider the life of Hans Sloane. Born in Northern Ireland in 1660, he studied chemistry and its medical applications, with particular interest in botany’s relation to physic. He became a doctor, and a great collector. When serving the governor of Jamaica, he systematically explored the topography of the island and recorded and collected its flora, bringing 800 specimens home to England. His published catalogue of the plants of Jamaica was probably the most truly scientific of his era in the genre, paving the way for Linnaeus. He was for 68 years a fellow of the Royal Society, taking charge of the publication of its transactions and serving as secretary. He succeeded Isaac Newton as its president. Sloane was also physician in charge of Christ’s Hospital in London, returning his salary to the place and supporting the cost-price dispensary of the Royal College of Physicians. As doctor to Queen Anne, he is credited with prolonging her life, thus securing the Hanoverian succession. He was a pioneer supporter of inoculation, popularised quinine and promoted the mixing of chocolate with milk in the cause both of profit and temperance. Sloane was noted for his learning, his consistent benevolence, his modesty and being very ‘attentive to Matters of Fact’. He conveyed the Chelsea Physick Garden, which he owned, to the care of the Society of Apothecaries. It flourishes beautifully to this day. The grateful society commissioned a statue and a bust of Sloane by Rysbrack. Sloane’s daughters presented these works to the British Museum. It is Rysbrack’s bust which Dr Fischer has now gleefully ‘pushed off its pedestal’, inviting visitors, as from this week, to disapprove of its subject.

'Chelsea with Part of the Old Church & Sir Hans Sloane’s Tomb' William Parrott 1840

In the Guardian David Olusoga placed a different emphasis on the facts of Sir Han’s life;

Every contrivance has been deployed to distance Sloane from slavery. As the wealth he accumulated from plantations in Jamaica came to him through marriage, it has been suggested that his involvement was merely tangential. Yet upon Sloane’s marriage to Elizabeth Langley Rose, one-third of the income from her plantations and her human property became his. In one of his letters, Sloane proudly talked of himself as a planter, the 18th-century euphemism for slave owner.

Those who have felt the sudden need to write hagiographies of Sloane have attempted to portray him as an almost accidental beneficiary of slavery, yet he not only grew rich from the sugar shipped from his wife’s Jamaican plantations, he actively invested in the slave trading South Sea Company. No matter how much we are asked to look only at his talents as a physician and his passion for botany and collecting, the fact remains that much of the money Sloane used to purchase the objects that today lie within our national museum came from the murderous exploitation of African men, women and children.

Sloane’s achievements remain undimmed, but while he stood on a pedestal the significance of slavery to his life and to his collection was rendered invisible. Acknowledging this unpleasant reality is all the museum has sought to do.

Sir Hans Sloane's Tomb, Chelsea - James Peller Malcolm c1800

Sir Hans’ memorial in Chelsea Old Churchyard is rather splendid. It is in such a good state of preservation that I couldn’t help wondering if it is built of Coade stone. It isn’t according to the official Historic England listing: “Monument to Sir Hans Sloane, deceased 1753. Portland stone square pedestal with inscription and swags, surmounted by square, vaulted canopy, sheltering marble urn.” The inscription reads:

In memory of Sir Hans Sloane, Bart, President of the Royal Society and of the Collage of Physicians, who died in the year of our Lord 1753, the ninety-second year of his age, without least pain of body, and with a conscious serenity of mind eniled [sic] a virtuous and beneficent life. This monument was erected by his two daughters, Elizabeth Cadogan and Sarah Stanley

Friday 24 June 2022

Buried Garden; Lockdown with the Lost Poets of Abney Park Cemetery - Chris McCabe (Penned in the Margins £9.99)


‘A spectral circuit of London, more mysterious than the M25.’ - Iain Sinclair

If you take two niche interests, such as cemeteries and poetry, and deal with them in one book, do you increase your potential readership to all those interested in either of your subjects? Or do you reduce it to a pitiful fraction, appealing only to those readers who are interested in both subjects? To a poet like McCabe used to the miniscule sales that poetry attracts, the market for prose must seem vast in either case.

‘Buried Garden; lockdown with the lost poets of Abney Park Cemetery’ is the fourth instalment of poet McCabe’s projected heptalogy chronicling his quixotic quest for forgotten poets in London’s magnificent seven cemeteries. Published on October 31st last year (to coincide with Halloween presumably) it was launched with a late afternoon tour of Abney Park hosted by the author and Iain Sinclair, who has taken an interest in some of the previous volumes in the series and features heavily in this one.  The series began with ‘In The Catacombs – a summer amongst the dead poets of West Norwood’ in 2014, and continued with ‘Cenotaph South – mapping the lost poets of Nunhead Cemetery’ in 2016 and ‘The East Edge – Nightwalks with the dead poets of Tower Hamlets’ in 2019.  Although we can’t be sure in which order McCabe will tackle the remaining three cemeteries, or how long he will take to produce new books, extrapolating from his current work rate we will hopefully see new volumes on Brompton and Kensal Green at some point in the next four years and I would guess that the series will terminate with a magnum opus on Highgate circa 2028. I have read all of the first four books since January and now find myself having to wait a couple of years for the next instalment.

Chris McCabe photographed in Abney Park Cemetery by Tom Chivers

From the first book the author himself freely admits that the search for a forgotten poet of the calibre of Emily Dickinson or Gerard Manley Hopkins is probably doomed to failure, but of course, you never know. With admirable grit traces the lost graves and the forgotten works of poets who often enjoyed some degree of popular or critical acclaim in their lifetimes and then reads their mouldy old tomes. The reading is inevitably a disappointment; the forgotten poems generally high Victorian doggerel. McCabe subjects this unworthy verse to genuinely serious criticism; I admire his dedication but the resulting pages don’t make for gripping reading. His biographical details are more interesting though apart from Tower Hamlets William Onions, a malefactor who was arrested over 500 times for various petty misdemeanours before turning his excess energies to the production of second-rate poetry, his poets are a pretty staid lot.

Luckily McCabe is the sort of writer who finds it difficult to stick to his subject.  His book on Nunhead starts with news of his mum’s cancer and an account of planting a tree in Bootle to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of his father’s death. As well as the completely forgettable poets buried in the cemetery, he explores poets and writers who have some general connection with Nunhead (or Dulwich, or Peckham); Blake, Browning, Barry MacSweeney, and B.S. Johnson. As if one futile quest isn’t enough, he sets off trying to locate Blake’s angel tree on Dulwich Common and eventually comes to the conclusion that this was probably not, as generally accepted, an oak but a hawthorn in bloom, the angels being nothing more than hawthorn blossom. Leavening the mix are short pieces of experimental prose. McCabes broad themes and preoccupations, poetry, London, Liverpool, death, cemeteries, autobiography etc somehow, over the course of the four books, manage to coalesce this apparent ragbag of subjects into a coherent whole.  These are not polished, well-structured works of prose but I found myself warming to McCabe and his imperfections and enjoying his company. I was rather sad to reach the end of ‘Buried Garden’ with a long wait in prospect until I can spend more time with the author. 

Friday 17 June 2022

Seeing Wonderful Things; Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907) St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green


Where, when and how black American sculptor Edmonia Lewis died was, until as recently as 2010, a mystery. Her ethnic background, artistic ability and presence in Europe meant that she achieved some measure of celebrity during her lifetime but she eventually slipped into an obscurity so profound that rumours of her death started to circulate even whilst she was still alive. After researching Lewis’ life since the 1980’s US cultural historian Marilyn Richardson probably couldn’t believe her luck when the 1901 census went on line and she found the artist’s name at 37 Store Street in Bloomsbury (just around the corner from the British Museum). With the help of a London based US lawyer, Scott Varland, she eventually located Lewis’ will and probate records. These showed that Lewis died on 17 September 1907 in the Hammersmith borough infirmary on Goldhawk Road, had been living at 154 Blythe Road, W14 and left effects worth £489 0s 1d.  The cause of death recorded on her death certificate was nephritis, then called Brights disease, a chronic inflammation of the kidneys. Burial records revealed that she was interred in St Mary’s Catholic cemetery in Kensal Green where her grave is marked by a flat ledger style stone on which all traces of any inscription have long since weathered away. The anonymity of the grave led another admirer, Bobbie Reno, the town historian of East Greenbush, a suburb of Albany, to set up a GoFundMe page to raise the money necessary to create a new marker. Unfortunately, only around a dozen people contributed and the diminutive black marble box with Edmonia’s name, profession and dates inscribed in gold lettering is rather underwhelming. In Mount Auburn cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts Edmonia’s statue of Hygeia marks the grave of Harriot Kezia Hunt, a pioneer female doctor who died in 1875. It is a shame that not even a copy of one of her own works marks her grave. 

Sparked by Edmonia’s move to Rome, an account of her early life appeared in the Athenaeum in 1866 and was heavily drawn upon in numerous newspaper accounts of what was obviously seen as a  noteworthy oddity; not only a black artist, but a female one to boot:

A Negro Sculptress — Rome, Feb., 1866 —An interesting novelty has sprung up amongst us, in a city where all our surroundings are of the olden time. Miss Edmonia Lewis, a lady of colour, has taken a studio at Rome, and works as a sculptress in one of the rooms formerly occupied by the great master, Canova. She is the only lady of her race in the United States who has thus applied herself to the study and practice of sculptural art, and the fact is so remarkable and unique that a brief sketch of her life, given almost in her own words, will, I am sure, be acceptable to the wide circle of your readers:- “My mother,’’ she told me only last Monday, was a wild Indian, and was born in Albany, of copper colour, and with straight, black hair. There she made and sold moccasins. My father, who was a negro, and a gentleman’s servant, saw her and married her. I was born in Greenhigh, in Ohio. Mother often left her home and wandered with her people, whose habits she could not forget, and thus her children were brought up in the same wild manner. Until I was twelve years old I led this wandering life, fishing and swimming,” she added with great glee, “and making moccasins. I was then sent to school for three years in M'Graw, but was declared to be wild—they could do nothing with me. Often they said to me, ‘Here is your book, the book of Nature; come and study it.’ From this school I was seat to another, at Oblin, Ohio, where I remained four years, and then I thought of returning to wild life again; but my love of sculpture forbade it.

Some of my friends recommended me to go to England, but I thought it better first to study in Rome.” And here she is, the descendant and member of a much-injured race, struggling against ignorant prejudice, but with genius enough to prove that she bears the image of Him who made all the nations under the sun. Whilst her youth and her colour claim our warmest sympathies, Miss Edmonia Lewis has a very engaging appearance and manners. Her eyes and the upper part of her face are fine; the crisp hair and thick lips, on the other hand, bespeak her negro paternity. Naive in manner, happy and cheerful, and all unconscious of difficulty, because obeying great impulse, she prattles like a child, and with much simplicity and spirit pours forth all her aspirations.

At present she has little to show; she appeals to the patronage and protection of the civilised and the Christian world. There is the cast of a bust of Colonel Shaw, who commanded the first coloured regiment that was ever formed, and who died “a leader for all time in Freedom’s Chivalry.” The bust was executed from a photograph, and now, as a commission from the sister of Colonel Shaw, is being transferred to marble. Another commission is a bust of Mr. Dio. Lewis, I believe, of New York. Her first ideal group was to be executed under promise for some gentleman in Boston, and in the true spirit of a heroine, she has selected for her subject “The Freedwoman on first hearing of her liberty.” She has thrown herself on her knees, and, with clasped hands and uplifted eyes, she blesses God for her redemption. Her boy, ignorant of the cause of her agitation, hangs over her knees and clings to her waist. She wears the turban which was used when at work. Around her wrists are the half-broken manacles and the chain lies on the ground still attached to a large ball. “Yes,” she observed, “so was my race treated in the market and elsewhere.” It fells, with much eloquence, a painful story. —Athenaeum.

Henry James was resident in Rome at this time and was scathing about the artistic community of his fellow Americans who had also made their home there. He was particularly vituperative about women artists in general and Edmonia in particular. “One of the sisterhood was a Negress,” he wrote, “whose colour, picturesquely contrasting with that of her plastic material, was the pleading agent of her fame.” On 26 January this year the US postal service issued a commemorative stamp celebrating Edmonia’s life and work – just 6 years after they issued their Henry James one in 2016. Edmonia’s most famous work, the Death of Cleopatra is now on prominent display in the Smithsonian in Washington. It has an interesting history; it was created for the 1886 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition and caused something of a stir amongst visitors and critics (“It is a question whether a statue of the ghastly characteristics of this one does not overstep the bounds of legitimate art,” said one commentator. Endlessly portrayed in art, Edmonia’s version of the death of the Egyptian queen has not an asp in sight and she reclines, one breast exposed, on her throne in her death throes. After the exhibition it was sent to Illinois to feature in the Chicago Interstate Industrial Exposition of 1878.  The massive two-ton statue was then abandoned in a Chicago storage facility until 1892 when it was removed, almost certainly without Edmonia’s permission (or payment of any compensation) placed outside a saloon on Clark Street as a decorative backdrop for the bourbon and beer drinkers of Windy City. It was later bought by a professional gambler and racetrack tycoon called Blind John Condon who used it a tombstone for his favourite horse (obviously called Cleopatra) who was buried at Harlem Racetrack (in Forest Park, Illinois).  The site of the racetrack became a US mail depot in the 1970’s and the statue found itself back in storage yard from where it was rescued by a fire inspector who allowed his son’s boy scout troop to paint it white. By the 1980’s it was in storage in a shopping mall; in 1988, Frank Orland, a dentist from Forest Park, wrote to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, asking about the artist Edmonia Lewis as he had a piece of work by her, he said, depicting the death of Cleopatra. A curator forwarded the letter to Marilyn Richardson, who recently put out an ad in the New York Times Book Review asking about Edmonia.  Richardson struggled to get hold of the dentist so she flew to Chicago and tracked down his residence where his wife helpfully took her to the storage facility for the historian’s first sight of Edmonia’s masterpiece; a moment almost as moving as Howard Carter's first glimpse of Tutankhamun's tomb ('Can you see anything?' 'Yes, wonderful things.'). “It was just standing there in the storage area, surrounded by holiday decorations and papier-mâché turkeys and Christmas lights and Christmas elves,” Richardson said. “I was shaking.”

Friday 10 June 2022

Side by side for eternity; Sir Richard Francis Burton KCMG FRGS (1821-1890) & Lady Isabel Burton (1831-1896) St Mary Magdalen, Mortlake


This must be the first tomb I ever made a special point of visiting, back in 1987, I think, when I lived in Barnes. We rented a gloomy basement flat in one of the palatial villas that line both sides of the road about half way down Castelnau. The villas, built in in the 1840’s were almost all occupied by the rich and successful except for ours which was divided into a multitude of small flats and rented out by a wealthy landlord as ancient and desiccated as an unwrapped pharaonic mummy. I had no special interest in cemeteries at the time, despite my landlord looking like he had just been dug up from one, but I was fascinated by Sir Richard Burton. I had been reading Fawn Brodie’s biography of the Victorian explorer, ‘The Devil Drives’, and was interested to discover that he was buried in Mortlake, a half hour walk away from our flat. The mausoleum stands in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalen on North Worpole Way, a high Victorian, gothic revival catholic church dating from the 1850’s.  The tomb was Grade II listed in 1973 but 15 years later it was looking rather neglected, black with soot and threatened by aggressive ivy growth. I had no idea that around the back of the mausoleum was a ladder that allowed you to climb up and peep through a glass window at the coffins of Burton and his wife Isabel. I only had the pleasure of that experience nearly thirty years later when I returned in 2016 to find that the mausoleum had been recently cleaned and renovated. That is when I took these pictures.

Does Richard Burton need any introduction? His obituaries described him as an ‘eminent Eastern traveller and Orientalist’. Wikipedia sum him up as “a British explorer, writer, scholar, and soldier... famed for his travels and explorations in Asia, Africa, and the Americas, as well as his extraordinary knowledge of languages and cultures.” He was supposedly fluent in 29 languages as well as having a grasp of numerous dialects. He travelled to Mecca and was the first European to see Lake Tangyanika, failed to find the source of the Nile, and translated numerous works from Arabic and Sanskrit including an unexpurgated Arabian Nights. He was also endlessly fascinated by smut and loved to shock his contemporaries with stories of exotic sexual practises in Africa and Asia. He married Isabel Arundell in 1861 when he was 40 and she was 30. They had met a decade earlier but Burton only proposed when he returned from the Crimean war in 1856. Her family were opposed to the match; not only was Burton a swashbuckling explorer who spent little time at home, he was also not a Roman Catholic, unlike the aristocratic Arundells; family disapproval finally faded away when Burton promised to raise any children as Catholics. Shortly after their marriage they were separated for several years when Burton was appointed Consul to Fernando Po in Equatorial Guinea. They were reunited in 1865 when Burton received a new posting to Santos in Brazil. From there she followed him to further postings in Damascus and, finally, in 1872 to Trieste, where Burton remained as Consul until his death in 1890. A photograph from the late 1880’s shows the couple in the garden of the consulate, Burton dapper and distinguished in grey frock coat and top hat but Isabel, apparently wagging an admonishing finger at her husband, frumpy in what look like premature widow’s bombazine weeds.  

Burton died of a heart attack in the early morning of 20 October 1890. Isabel controversially called in a catholic priest to perform the last rites. Many of Burton’s friends suspected that these were performed after Burton was already dead as he made no attempt when alive to disguise his atheism. She further alienated Burton’s supporters when she burned some of his manuscripts including some of his journals and a new translation of The Scented Garden (despite having been offered 6000 guineas for it by a publisher).  Just a few days after his death newspapers, like the St James's Gazette on 23 October were reporting Burton’s funeral as having taken place in Trieste:

FUNERAL OF SIR RICHARD BURTON. The funeral of the late Sir Richard Burton took place at Trieste yesterday afternoon. The ceremony was of an impressive character, being attended by the Governor, with the principal civil the military and naval staff officers, and all the members of the Trieste Consular body well as a large number of private mourners. The funeral car was covered with beautiful wreaths.

Of course Burton was not buried in Trieste in October 1890, his funeral took place in Mortlake 8 months later, on Monday 15 June 1891. He spent his time between arriving in England and being interred in the mausoleum in the crypt of St Mary Magdalen waiting for his tomb to be built. The mausoleum was designed by Isabel as a Bedouin tent.  The Cheltenham Chronicle of 20 June 1891 gives the following account of the funeral arrangements:

The funeral of the late Captain Sir Richard Burton took place on Monday morning at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, Mortlake. A numerous congregation of relatives and friends assembled at the invitation of Lady Burton, who was herself present, and the church was well filled. The requiem mass was sung by the Right Rev. Monsignor Stanley, of Spanish place Church, assisted by Fathers White, Regan and Cafferata. The music was by Casciolini and was rendered by a special choir of professionals. Father Cox's In Paradisum was sung on the removal of the coffin from the church to the cemetery adjoining, the concluding prayers being said at the graveside, by Provost Wenham, the priest of the mission. A harmonized Benedictus was then sung, during which Lady Burton and several friends laid wreaths of flowers by the side of the coffin. About 650 cards of invitation were issued by Lady Burton to friends and sympathisers, of whom about 400 were present. Among those were Marquis of Kipon, Marquis and Marchioness of Drogheda, Lord Arundell of Wardour….

The marble mausoleum erected by Sir Richard's English friends and admirers, is sculptured in dark Forest of Dean stone and white Carrara marble, it represents an Arab tent, 12ft by 12ft. and 15ft high, surmounted by a gilt star of nine points. Over the flap door of the tent is a white marble crucifix. The fringe is composed of gilt cressets and stars. The flap door of the tent supports an open book of white marble, on which are inscribed Sir Richard's name and the dates of his birth and decease, with a tablet below bearing the epitaph composed by Mr. Justin McCarthy.

Isabel used her years of widowhood to produce a hagiography of her husband and her own autobiography. She died of cancer 5 years after burying him, joining him in the mausoleum in March 1896;

The remains of Lady Burton, widow of Sir Richard Burton, the famous explorer, were removed from Baker-street on Thursday to Mortlake, and placed for the night in the Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The coffin was surrounded by many beautiful wreaths sent by, among others, Lord and Lady Gerard, Lady Huntingtower, Lady Violet Beaumont, and Mrs. Oliphant. Yesterday there was a large congregation at the Requiem Mass which preceded the interment. The choir was composed solely of priests, and the service was throughout of the most impressive character. Included among the mourners were Mrs. Fitz Gerald, the Rev. the Hon. E. Arundell, Mr. Gerald Arundell, Mrs. Vanzellcr, and Mr. Bertram Pigott.  (Globe - Saturday 28 March 1896)

There was a minor scandal when the contents of Isabel’s will were made public a few months later. It was not the disposition of her assets that caused raised eyebrows (despite leaving a particular instruction “that her belongings at Baker-street, should not be scattered out to second-band shops”) but her directives about what should happen to her body. Evidently worried that she might be buried alive she ordered that her doctor should be called in and instructed to pierce her heart with a needle. Furthermore “the doctors attending, or some clever surgeon to be called in for the purpose, should make a post-mortem examination by removing the tumour, and that she should be embalmed by disembowelling and stuffing (not by the new process of injecting in the veins) in order that her body may be kept above ground by the side of her husband in the mausoleum tent at Mortlake.”  The Westminster Gazette (17 June 1896) went on to say that Lady Burton “stated that she had bought—adjoining the tent—a vault for four bodies, and that two places were to be reserved in order that if a revolution should occur in England, and there should be a threat of the desecration of the dead, the coffins of herself and her husband might be lowered into the vault.” She also left instructions to ensure the salvation of her, and her husband’s, souls;

She desired that immediately after her death a telegram which she had prepared should be sent to the Cure Achille Serre, in Paris, who is to receive £l20, or 3,000 francs, for 3,000 masses to be said at once, or 100 sets of Gregorian masses. The testatrix also provides an annuity to pay for a daily mass to be said in Paris perpetually, at one franc for each mass. She provides that a sum of £6O should be paid to the Bishop of Southwark, for five anniversary masses perpetually on the day of her wedding, on her own and her husband's birthdays, and on the day of her husband's death and of her death. She desired that her Carmelite dress and the scapular, which alone she stated she was worthy to wear, should be placed in her coffin.