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MatC
148286.  Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:16 am Reply with quote

After Monmouth was beheaded for rebellion, it was discovered by the Keeper of the King’s Pictures that there was no official portrait of Monmouth. So, his head was sewn back onto his body, he was seated in a chair, and had his portrait done by the court painter Sir Geoffrey Kneller.

Allegedly.

Source: ‘Amazing Mistakes’ by Michael Johnstone (Capella, 2003).

 
Flash
148478.  Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:55 am Reply with quote

post 2841 has this to say on that subject:
Quote:
The Duke of Monmouth, executed by James II in 1685, is often said to have had his head sewn back onto his body so that a portrait could be painted. I've tried (briefly) to track down the origin for this story, but can only find it repeated as a fact without attribution. The portrait in the National Portrait Gallery is described as "after W. Wissing" and dated "c 1683", so it begins to look like a canard. Anyone know better?

 
Vitali
153076.  Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:51 am Reply with quote

In Krakow in 1312, when the Polish Duke Lokietek retook the city in his campaign to reunite the country after the Tatar invasions, Krakow residents (in a sure, if somewhat cruel, test of patriotism) were rounded up and asked to repeat Polish tongue-twisters of the type "W Szczebrzeszynie chrzaszsz brzmi w trzcinie" (which means "In Szczebrzezyn [a small Polish town], a beetle is heard in the reeds"). Those who failed to do so were promptly beheaded.
Any other examples of bizarre reasons for executions?

 
Vitali
155995.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 5:51 am Reply with quote

Executions/Defenestration

The Czech Republic is the birthplace of a peculiar centuries-old political execution known as “defenestration” (from the Classical Latin “fenestra” - window), which means chucking un undesirable politician out of the window and making it look as if he has taken his own life. The first defenestration, a collective one, was in 1419, when several over-zealous Prague town councillors were hurled out of their office windows by a group of bullish religious reformers. Since then – there have been at least three more (one – during the Thirty Years War). The most well-known modern-age defenestration happened on 10 March 1948, when the dead body of the country's first democratically elected President Jan Masaryk was found beneath an open window in the coutryard of the palace that now houses the Czech Foreign Ministry. It was officially announced that he had killed himself by jumping to his death (whereas in fact he was executed by Soviet secret agents). Interestingly, the first doctor to arrive at the scene also committed “suicide” a fortnight later.
In August 1996, the Czech news agency CTK reported that two men were tied up and thrown from the ninth floor of a block of flats in Prague, but both survived. The age-long tradition, it seems, is still pretty much alive.

Who would be the first modern British politician to suffer defenestration, I wonder?

 
suze
156050.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:32 am Reply with quote

The 1618 defenestration - the one most often meant by a reference to The Defenestration of Prague - suffers from a slight problem as regards execution, because nobody died.

Two of the three men who were subjected to defenestration, Vilém Slavata and Jaroslav Bořita z Martinic, had been found guilty of violating the Letter of Majesty (a right to freedom of religion). The third was their secretary, a man named Fabricius. The three were defenestrated, but landed in a large pile of manure* and escaped with only their pride hurt. Fabricius was later elevated to the peerage and given the title "von Hohenfall" ("of the high fall").

This was indeed among the events which led to the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War.

Defenestration is not confined to Prague of course - Jezebel was defenestrated in II Kings and so was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop.


* at any rate, this is the popular version of the tale. Some Czech sources say it was straw, while the official Catholic line at the time was that angels intervened to save the men.

 
MatC
156060.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:44 am Reply with quote

That strikes me as a brilliant Gen Ig, suze!

 
Jenny
156258.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:53 pm Reply with quote

Has anybody else come across Dr Beaurieux's report on consciousness maintained in a head after being severed from the body by the guillotine? Macabre but fascinating.

I was trying to track down the story of Lavoisier's head blinking after his execution, but sadly it doesn't seem supportable with any real evidence. AFAIK this other one is the real deal though.

 
Flash
156268.  Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:31 pm Reply with quote

Yes, we ran this in the last series ('death'). Not sure it made the broadcast version, though, so maybe it's still fair game.

 
Frederick The Monk
156696.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:08 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
After Monmouth was beheaded for rebellion, it was discovered by the Keeper of the King’s Pictures that there was no official portrait of Monmouth. So, his head was sewn back onto his body, he was seated in a chair, and had his portrait done by the court painter Sir Geoffrey Kneller.

Allegedly.

Source: ‘Amazing Mistakes’ by Michael Johnstone (Capella, 2003).


The problem qwith this story is that there are lots of contemporary portraits of Monmouth including two by Lely and three by Kneller. Here's a list:

S. Cooper, drawing, c.1660, Royal Collection ·
N. Dixon, miniature, c.1663, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·
P. Lely, oils, 1665–1675, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·
P. Lely, oils, oval, 1665–1675, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·
G. Kneller, oils, 1678, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·
G. Kneller, oils, 1679, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland · attrib.
G. Kneller, oils, 1680–89, Goodwood, West Sussex ·
W. Wissing, oils, 1680–89, Palace House, Hampshire; version, NPG ·
W. Wissing, oils, c.1683, Clarendon College; on loan to Palace of Westminster, London ·
R. Arondeaux, silver medal, Scot. NPG ·
C. Boit, watercolour on ivory, Scot. NPG ·
J. Huysmans, oils, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·

 
Frederick The Monk
156697.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:11 am Reply with quote

Monmouth's execution is a great story however and there must be a good question in it. He was executed by the notorious Jack Ketch, probably the worst executioner in British history, who took five chops to sever his head.

Even then there were persistent rumours that Monmouth wasn't dead including a claim that he was the Man in the iron Mask. Another report from May 1686 claimed that Monmouth was alive and well and going ‘about in womans Cloaths in Bristoll and Summersettsheer’ (BL, Add. MS 41804, fol. 168).

 
eggshaped
156698.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:14 am Reply with quote

Fred, any truth that those about to be hanged at Tyburn would always stop off for a pint with their executioner on the way from (Newgate?) prison?

 
MatC
156706.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:38 am Reply with quote

Quote:
G. Kneller, oils, 1678, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland ·
G. Kneller, oils, 1679, Buccleuch estates, Selkirk, Scotland · attrib.
G. Kneller, oils, 1680–89, Goodwood, West Sussex ·


That's odd in itself; why so many so close together, by the same geez? Was Kneller a paparazzo?


Last edited by MatC on Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:51 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Frederick The Monk
156712.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:43 am Reply with quote

It is odd isn't it. He was I suppose a bit of a pin-up boy at the time having defeated the French in the Low Countries and bopped the Scottish Covenanters on the head a few times. By this date is was also pretty clear that Charles II wouldn't have an heir and no-one fancied having the Duke of York much so I assume this is all aprt of a PR drive.


Last edited by Frederick The Monk on Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:00 am; edited 1 time in total

 
Flash
156715.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 5:49 am Reply with quote

Elvis also goes about in womans cloathes in Bristol - are they in any way related?

 
Frederick The Monk
156718.  Thu Mar 15, 2007 6:00 am Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
Fred, any truth that those about to be hanged at Tyburn would always stop off for a pint with their executioner on the way from (Newgate?) prison?


Hmmmmmm this is something that's bothered me before. I've certianly never come across a case of the condemned stopping off for a pint recorded in the Newgate Calendars. There's a whiff of the romantic highwayman (whatever they smell like) about the story if you ask me. Personally if I were the jailer I wouldn't allow it - most execution crowds were rowdy and very often on the side of the prisoner so there's a good chance any stop off would lead to an escape bid. Having said that the condemned almost cetainly had quite a few beers before setting off (provided someone would buy them) and might be offered a pint on the gallows by a generous member of the audience.

 

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