written up the session for the
Regional Food site but I wanted to share
here something that I found interesting.
One of the white wines was called
Lalla Rookh. When I asked about the name. Mark explained that it was
the name of the old cottage on their property and came from the title of an early
1800's Thomas Moore book about an Indian princess called Lallah Rookh. He
also said that he'd been told that there was a large oil painting painting
of aforesaid Lallah Rookh in a Sydney pub, (the Criterion?) and it gave the pub it's nickname. He also
said it was the (white) given name of Truganini the last full-blooded Tasmanian
That was enough to start me on a web hunt for more information.
The late 1700 to early 1800's period of the Romantic poets attracts me (as does the later Victorian
period). The clear need for escape from
the Industrial Revolution - an upheaval that was changing everyone's lives
gave us Goethe, Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, and Keats. Thomas
Moore might not have been in that league and his work was..
...criticized by Francis Jeffery, a critic
from the Edinburgh Review, as "the most licentious of modern versifiers,
and the most poetical of those who, in our time, have devoted their
talents to the propagation of immorality" and his book was referred to
as a "public nuisance." Moore challenged Jeffery to a duel at Chalk Farm
(a popular spot for settling differences between gentlemen). The police
interrupted the event, and Jeffery's pistol was found to be unloaded.
(In this period) Orientalism was popular,
although there was no distinction made between mid-East, India, and
far-Eastern. Moore contracted with (Longman publishers for a 3000 pound
advance) to produce "a metrical romance on an Oriental subject",
which was to be at least as long as (sir Walter) Scott's
Rokeby. Unfortunately for Moore, he was still researching and
writing this epic (Lalla Rookh -An Oriental Romance) when Byron's
The Giaour was published in 1813. Other problems delayed Moore's
work, and when it finally appeared in 1817 it was successful.
I found a
fragment of the book
here and these lines below gives an idea of the style,
His eyes met hers, that smile was gone;
And, bursting into heart-felt tears,
"Yes, yes," she cried, "my hourly fears
My dreams have boded all too right--
We part--for ever part--to-night!
I knew, I knew it could not last--
'Twas bright, 'twas heav'nly, but 'tis past!
Soppy and fanciful it may be, the long poem must have had an effect on
a lot of people at the time, and for years after. Many of the popular artists
were seeking to escape the period's repressed sexuality through their
painting and writing. The story of an Eastern
princess travelling to meet her husband, who gets trapped in a harem, and
of passionate love was very exotic. It's hard to imagine anyone in this
Mills & Boon era reading a long verse poem for popular entertainment.
The story inspired Tenniel (whose Alice through the Looking Glass illustrations are
now our mental images of Alice and friends) to
illustrate an edition of the book and
this painting by Francis Wyburd. And there's probably still that
painting of Lallah Rookh in that Sydney pub (anyone know where?).
Melbourne's Young & Jackson nude of 'Chloe' comes to mind of the same period when
it was ok to show naked attractive women in the name of art... in a pub.
That same exotic quality must have been why Truganini
was given the name. That's her image on a 1975
Australia Post stamp, and there's
in the National Library collection and that's what I know of her
appearance, and that is as an older woman (she died in 1876.) The question it poses was why she was
given the name? Was it that she was attractive when younger, or was the name
just used by the mid 1800's, as an exotic title for
lots of 'foreign' things? There were also at least two sailing ships that shared the
name and travelled the India routes and the Pacific and Australian waters.
Jack London in his book
Mutiny of the Elsinore tells of a ship called Lallah Rookh and its
bumbling crew who perished ..
"I remember one time when we sailed from San Francisco with a most
hopeless crew. It was in the Lallah Rookh--you remember her, Mr. Pike?"
"Your father's fifth command," he nodded. "Lost on the West Coast
afterwards--went ashore in that big earthquake and tidal wave. Parted
her anchors, and when she hit under the cliff, the cliff fell on her."
And all that came from reading a label on a bottle of Coriole wine.
I hold that it's a perfect example of the positive and intellectually stimulating effect of drinking ...
...now Mark, can I have just another taste of the Sangiovese? I'm not
going to spit, and please tell
me more about your trial planting of Sagrantino grapes. When Jan and I were in Montefalco on holiday in Umbria,
we drank the...
There's a good hyper-linked Romantic period timeline of art