Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great Aunty Betty

Betsy Sheppard (C) Please do not copy without permission
We take the briefest sojourn into my extensive family history

Great, isn't she? That's 'Betsy Sheppard' - no, I never actually knew her (and can't quite work out where she fits in the family tree either) but wow, what a picture!

I have a very interesting family tree - and I also have two humungous leather bound tomes that contain the family history right back to Charlemagne I think (yep, I'm a Norman!). I really should spend some time looking at it and interpreting some of the hand-written stories that Elizabeth Sheppard (no, not Bestsy, this one was around 1873 I think - must go check!) had so carefully written.

The books are amazing - about 20" high, 10" wide and 3" deep and they contain Sheppard Family History, Coxe Family History and links to Royalty, Scallywags (no doubt) and Chamberlaynes. They are also loaded with amazing pictures; photographs and watercolours. Great Grandfather was a good watercolourist and I have many of his paintings framed and on our walls. In the Histories are pictures of the Old Mill at Bathwick, Marlborough Gardens in Bath, and our original 'family seat', Gatcombe Park.

One of my most prized posessions though is his sketchbook - full of little pictures depicting Georgian life; parlour games, visits to the countryside, parties... all intimate and sometimes scribled out or amended. Real. A wonderful insight into a history that now seems so remote. But, with these pictures in my hands, and items from the sketches (such as a silver samovar) still residing in my house, it's a tangible history.
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