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!
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.