Madeleine Emerald Thiele

The Victorian Butterfly muses upon Art, Angels & other stuff in between.



Highgate Cemetery

When Highgate Cemetery opened in 1839, it looked very different to the green ivy-covered gothic (small g) evocation that it is now. Back then, as The Penny Magazine wrote: the landscape was manicured and formal with ‘parterres of sweet-scented flowers,... Continue Reading →


Henry James and Hendrik Christian Andersen

Henry James met the sculptor Hendrik Christian Andersen in Rome in 1899. Andersen was thirty years his junior but the two developed a close relationship and maintained correspondence for around fifteen years. On encountering Andersen, James was enamoured with him... Continue Reading →

Kelmscott Manor

A visit to Kelmscott Manor is a changing experience. In the last few years, the volunteers seem to have gone up a notch in their knowledge, the salads easily compete with the jacket potatoes (when available), and the shop has... Continue Reading →

Constance Holland

Constance Mary Holland (2nd January 1859 – 7th April 1898) was buried at 4pm on the 9th of April 1898 in the Protestant section of the Campo Santo cemetery in Genoa. The 'Cimitero monumentale di Staglieno' is a cemetery based... Continue Reading →

HMS Warrior: A Victorian Masterpiece

HMS Warrior is a Victorian vessel whose home is now Portsmouth Historical Dockyard. She was built to counter French advancements in naval ship building and in her day, HMS Warrior was the largest, fastest and most innovative warship throughout the... Continue Reading →

The Ruskin Road Gang

John Ruskin, leading nineteenth century thinker, critic, artist, general man of unimpeachable talents and genius, was also a man of social conscience. Prone to considering all detail, from noticing the most minor daub in a painting to the tiniest vein... Continue Reading →

Elizabeth Siddal: Her Passing

On the evening of 10th February 1862 Lizzie, wearing a new cloak, had accompanied Rossetti and Swinburne to the Sablonière Hotel, Leicester Square, where they had dined early. She had seemed drowsy in the cab on the way but refused... Continue Reading →

Carlyle on ‘this dirty rabble’

20th December, 1824 My Dearest, These Booksellers are certainly a consequence of the Fall of Adam; they were sent into the world for our sins. I expected ere this to have been cherishing myself with your answer to my letter;... Continue Reading →

Isadora Duncan

"I have the right to choose the father of my own children," Isadora Duncan declared. She then wrote to George Bernard Shaw, asking him 'Will you be the father of my next child? A combination of my beauty and your brains... Continue Reading →

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