lblanchard: (swannfountain)
[personal profile] lblanchard
[This is one in what has now become an almost-weekly series of postings inspired by Abigail Rorer, Mimpish Squinnies: Reginald Farrer's Short Guide to Worthless Plants. Rorer's book includes prints of fourteen plants Farrer considered worthless-- an interesting hybrid of botanically accurate and...different. You can see her work, including all fourteen mimpish squinnies, here: ]

I have finished posting about the fourteen plants Abigail Rorer illustrated in Mimpish Squinnies. As a fitting end to a year's Farrerian posting (and, I think, the end to posting about him with such clockwork regularity), I give you Reginald Farrer as visualized by Rorer:

Rorer based this print on a photograph of Farrer in his "Buddhist robes," probably the set of Japanese Chinese court robes he bought on his first trip to Asia shortly after the turn of the twentieth century. He must have been a sight, an almost-dwarfish figure parading around a small Yorkshire village in this garb -- which he was wont to put on when giving lantern slide presentations about his travels to the local children. His rather hidebound parents were surely scandalized by this exhibition of heathen eccentricity and also by his very public announcements that he had converted to Buddhism.

I believe that Farrer made four trips to Asia in total -- the first to China and Japan; the second to Ceylon; the third to the Tibetan marches, and the fourth to the Burma uplands. They were the source material for the travelogues that brought him a reputation as a man of belles-lettres -- a reputation that eluded him as a novelist and playwright, despite his great strivings in that direction.

And there let us leave him, pleased as punch by his robes, his Buddhist faith, and his abiding love for the alpine flora of Asia. At least, let us leave him until the passion of his prose draws me back to share the tidbits I find, but not necessarily every week and not necessarily on Monday.

A very happy new year to you all.

*I was pretty sick on Monday this week, and am not yet recovered, the cold now manifesting itself as pinkeye.

Date: 2017-01-01 09:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Interesting, but I would say those are Chinese, not Japanese court robes.

Date: 2017-01-02 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Might be. I may have misremembered -- I'm no expert on anybody's court robes.

Date: 2017-01-01 12:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I agree with Carolyn...that looks much more Chinese than Japanese though I am not an expert costuming like she is.

Date: 2017-01-02 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Happy to be corrected. I may go back to the biography that referenced him in them and see what it says. I probably should also read The Gardens of Asia, which I have not yet done, since he may mention where he bought them.

Date: 2017-01-01 04:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He looks splendid!

Date: 2017-01-02 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Doesn't he, though?

Date: 2017-01-05 02:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
About those robes -- his biographer said "Japanese court robes that he bought in Toyko." She may not have known the difference. And he may have bought Chinese court robes in Tokyo -- who knows? I'm now reading The Garden of Asia, his travel book from his China, Korea, and mostly Japan trip, and may find something to shed more light.


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