While we were at Bowood we split up. Hector went down the Death slide several 100 times and Toby and I went off to look in the house.
The main hall is a gallery with dozens of C18 and C19 pictures. I asked Toby to select one as his favourite, the one he might like to take home. He chose a naval picture and I looked at it closely- and was astonished.
Go back 60 years. I'm six or seven years old, making a formal visit to our 94 year old Grandfather who lived in Chingford. He was an old old man with a long white beard. He spent his life in bed. We would be ushered in for an audience and he would tell us stories about our family. He was a collector, surrounded by boxes and manuscripts and books and files. He has been the Secretary of the British Bulldog Association at some time in his life and he had used a dog breeding form to make a genealogy of our family.
"I remember", he said, "My grandmother telling me than when she was a girl she was taken out to the top of some cliffs to look at some ships. 'Napoleon is on that ship' her father told her."
Well it's a good story and I remembered it but I always thought it improbable, he was captured in France at Waterloo in 1815 and then sent out to St Elba, how would they know that one passing ship in the channel was Napoleon's in a day before good communications. I thought it was an interesting story if only to express our relationship with historical events.
But today the picture Toby selected was described like this
The Transfer of Bounaparte from the Bellerophon to the Northumberland near Berry , Head of Torbay (by T Lund)
Well picked Toby.