Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Jane and Lance HATTATT wrote evocatively about the tower that they had built in their previous garden and I was reminded of Alain-Fournier's book, 'Le Grand Meaulnes.'
Then Cro, at Magnon's Meanderings, posted a photograph of the roof beams in the rather wonderful tower that he has been busy building at his home in France. I wonder if he has seen Montaine's tower where the roof beams are decorated with Latin sayings?  

Michel de Montaigne, (1533-1592) was the originator of the personal essay. He spoke Latin as his mother tongue and trained in law. After working as a counsellor in the Bordeaux Parliament he retired to his chateau in 1571 where he composed his first essays.
He wrote about anything and everything, from the art of conversation to smells!

The first time that we visited, some years ago, we were just handed a key and left to wander.
On our last visit, when these photographs were taken, we had to collect a ticket and look around in a group with a guide, a different and a less magical experience.

The only tower that I possess is a pencil drawing by the artist David Inshaw. Himself had seen it in David's studio. He thought that I would like it and described the drawing to me as illustrating Thomas Hardy's book, 'Two on a Tower' the love story of young astrologer Swithin St Cleeve and Lady Constantine.   I am a Hardy fan and we were married on St Swithin's Day, so I was very excited at the prospect of owning the drawing. Himself said that I should go and look at the work to be sure that I would like it. I had already drawn the picture in my head, an old, delicately decorated slender tower rising out of wooded ground. No, I didn't need to see the drawing, I knew what it would be like, a beautiful night-time scene with myriad stars. In the novel Hardy describes Lady Constantine as, 'sitting aloft on a lonely column, with a forest groaning under her feet.'

It is a large drawing, measuring 86 cm width in its frame. When Himself unwrapped it I didn't see the feminine tower of my imagination but a very masculine observatory tower. I'm afraid that my first response was, "You've bought a penis!"
Now I smile whenever I walk into the sitting room and see it.


  1. Hello Rosemary:
    First, thank you so much for the link which is both kind and generous.

    What you say here is absolutely fascinating both about Montaigne and his tower. How wonderful to have visited and to have had the experience, as you describe here, of being handed the key and allowed to wander at will. Alas, no more!

    David Inshaw is an artist we hugely admire and we have a signed, limited edition of his work hanging in our Budapest drawing room [possible to see in our sidebar - top picture on the wall]. Your tower is certainly different from the one you had imagined, and we are somewhat inclined, where the shape is concerned, to agree.

    We know we are going to love Miss Cellany!

  2. I can see a phallic shape there too. We have a water tower in out town that I swear is shaped that way looming over us. I shudder. Thanks for sending the link and have fun writing and posting images of whatever you wish! olive

  3. P.S. you might consider turning off that word verification as it really is not needed.

  4. Hello Rosemary:
    Thank you for providing the link but unfortunately our name is misspelt here and so the link goes to a Turkish tractor firm which has this spelling.

    As we are the only HATTATT in Britain, we cannot be confused with others but that is only given the 4 T's!! Our blog is http://hattatt.blogspot.com where we hope to welcome Miss Cellany as a Follower.

  5. Dear Jane and Lance,
    Profound apologies for my miss-spelling, which I have now corrected.