Tuesday, 24 January 2017

The Mosaic

Roll up! Roll up!
a marching band played
the crowds cheered
as Chapman's Great London Circus arrived in Cheltenham town
photo from Cheltenham News
One Spring day in 1934 three elephants were being paraded through Cheltenham town to announce the arrival of the circus. On smelling some interesting aromas drifting across the road from Bloodworth's, a local seed merchants shop, one of the elephants decided to pay a visit, closely followed by the other two.
The first elephant gained entrance, but the second became stuck in the doorway, the third was quickly caught and restrained by his keeper. 
Imagine the surprise of the owner standing behind his shop counter and suddenly seeing this giant shape looming inside the premises. Not only that, but an elephant that was busily helping itself to his seed potatoes, dog biscuits, and other tasty morsels
 
Yum - delicious
The spectators watched with amazment and some alarm
but finally peace and order was restored
so the wind musicians played on
the drummer banged his drum
and the parade proceeded out of town
This series of mosaics in an alleyway off the High Street in Cheltenham depicts a glimpse of our social history from over 80 years ago. It shows the style of clothing worn, including that of the police, and importantly the use of wild animals in a way that most would consider unacceptable today.

67 comments:

  1. What a sweet mosaic, so nice made, a real historical event that visit of the big animals to the shop :)

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    1. I like the way that the different characters have been portrayed

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  2. Fabulous. That's the best Mosaic I have ever seen.

    Jean

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    1. It is a shame that it is tucked away down an alleyway and presume often missed by many visitors to the town.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, It always amazes me how much detail mosaic makers can achieve with their relatively coarse tesserae--even the clarinet is accurately rendered with just a few pieces. The series of mosaics you found for us is especially and well made and good humored.
    --Jim

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    1. The tesserae used is quite coarse especially in comparison with ones from antiquity, but nevertheless as you noted the details are really well executed and show humour.

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    1. Yes, I like it, and always make a point of popping up the alleyway to check it out when I am passing by.

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  5. Great story and mosaic. The Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, the last big circus here in the States is going out of business. People no longer want to see trained animals or animals in a circus setting.

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    1. We have a lovely circus here in the Cotswolds, you may have seen it on your travels. It is called Giffords and they rely solely on humans apart from the owner occasionally trotting around the ring on her horse followed by their pet goose.

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  6. The shop owner must have had a real shock seeing an elephant trying to get through his door. haha
    What a wonderful (memory) mosaic for the town to have. It was beautifully done too.

    Another subject but it made me think of you considering your interest in gardening... Have you ever been to Whichford Pottery? It can't be too far from you. It surely would be worth a day trip. I was lucky enough to find one of there pieces here. I love that pot! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ALR6QV0kkw I found that video on youtube very interesting.

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    1. Thanks for the reminder Catherine - I have been to Whichford Pottery, but not for quite a while. I shall try and give them another visit sometime and do a post for you.

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    2. WOW! I am thrilled. I will really look forward ,to that post.
      Of all the places there are to visit in England oddly enough that would be on my list. I can see myself coming home on a plane holding one of those gorgeous pots. haha
      They also do special orders with your family crest. I would love to order one with the "Kilmouski Shield" on it. It is a sterling silver tag I made for my cat from his coat of arms. Long story but a fun one.

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    3. I will probably make a trip during the better weather in the summertime.

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  7. Aren't they beautiful!!! There really are so many great things to see in the world aren't there!

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  8. Very interesting way to show the history, I like it. Regards.

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  9. Nice social history. It's amazing the way animals were treated even as late as the 1970s but it just shows how attitudes have evolved in a short space of time. Makes you wonder how people behaved in the distant past and probably explains why so many ancient relics, like standing stones, remain unexplained, as they were built by belief systems and humans far removed from how we see the world today.

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    1. That is an interesting observation Bob. I often wonder when people try to explain mysteries from our distant past just how correct they actually are.

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  10. How wonderful - thanks for sharing

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    1. Glad that you enjoyed seeing it Susan

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  11. Marvelous story and a great way to preserve the town history.

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    1. Glad you liked it and thank you for visiting

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  12. What wonderful mosaic work, Rosemary. I adore the little girl in the red coat AND the elephants themselves. Unlike many mosaics, these figures seem to be moving. Not static at all. SO well done. And as hart says, 'a great way to preserve the town history.'

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    1. Thanks Yvette - I particularly like the portrayal of that skittish little dog she is holding on a lead too.

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  13. Well they certainly are interesting and well done Rosemary.

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    1. The whole mosaic is filled with movement and interesting character portrayals.

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  14. I've always been fascinated by mosaics. It seems a very difficult and painstaking art form. I wonder how archeologists of the future will interpret the scenes.

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    1. Without knowing the history I suspect the interpretation would probably be incorrect - don't you?

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  15. What a splendid mosaic, and the design beautifully drawn - ah, a properly trained artist there. I am so glad that it is kept in good condition, or at least seems to be from your photos.

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    1. I really like the mosaic too Jenny - I think that it has suffered bits of vandalism from time to time judging by some bits of patching up but not too much - sadly it seems that it is impossible for some people not to inflict damage.

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  16. That is wonderful that they did a mosaic of such fun but scary piece of history. You are not only a great photographer but a great story teller. I felt like I was reading a children's book.

    The name of your town rang a bell today....I was there about 38 years ago with my husband on a business trip. I didn't get to see much. We lived in Europe at the time and I went on every trip I could, even though most times I was looking out the hotel window with my small baby in my arms.

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    1. I don't actually live in Cheltenham Janey but it is my nearest big shopping centre. I live about 16 miles away in the Cotswold countryside. Chelteham is a beautiful Regency Spa town and in its heyday a health resort for both Royalty and the rich who would come to take it's mineral waters.

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  17. Dear Rosemary,

    Oh what fun!

    Not long ago the circus used to bring their elephants through town (Salt Lake City) on the first day of their arrival. That was always the clue for me to go to the elephant tent. In those days one could stop by to see the animals. I always preferred that over watching them perform in the BIG Show.

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    1. Dear Gina - circus animals are on the decline in many countries now or completely banned, but the conservation of endangered animals has taken its place.
      As a child going to the circus was a treat, but now of course I realise that it is not the way to treat wild animals.

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  18. Your telling of the story is a perfect accompaniment to this interesting mosaic. A bit of history preserved with artistry and whimsy.

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    1. It is a clever mosaic in the way both the characters and the elephants themselves are portrayed.

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  19. Really? Cheltenham?? but where...? I lived here twenty years and never seen them! I feel ashamed.

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    1. I didn't realise that you lived there Monica - I live in the countryside 15 miles away. The mosaic is in an alleyway up the High Street on the same side as M&S. Continue along the road towards the London Road. There are two alleyways, quite near to where Woolworths used to be, and both lead up to Lidls - take the first one. Good luck.

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  20. Beautiful mosaics, and quite funny story (history) :-)

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    1. It is an interesting bit of history all told within a lovely mosaic

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  21. Oh what beautiful mosaics, and a great way of telling a local story from the past. Elephants are amazing creatures, so large they could crush us, yet they were trained to behave - most of the time! What a shock when they decided to go into a shop, but it appears nobody was harmed by their escapade. Times have certainly changed, and I can't abide the idea of a circus of trained captive animals now. But as a child, we loved when the circus came to our town and camped in a large paddock at the back of our house. The elephants were taken down to our creek to drink and cool off. And we could hear the lions roar at night, very close. We were not afraid then, but I probably would be now.

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    1. It is very interesting the way our preceptions of different events and things change over the years. I wonder what the young will remember today that may change in the future.
      Glad that you enjoyed seeing this illustrative mosaic Patricia

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    2. The biggest downside is how they make elephants behave. At least, now people are getting back to reality and realize we dont need to torture poor animals because fun, instead recreate and help animals to produce decreasing what had been made by human for many centuries.

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    3. There has certainly been a big turn around in the way we treat wild animals, and rightly so.

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  22. Fantastic story and I'm a fan of anything in mosaic

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    1. It is an interesting take on preserving this little bit of history

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  23. Really nice mosaic! I would love to see more of these.

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  24. What a wonderful way to capture that story! Sarah

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    1. It is interesting how much clever detail there actually is in these mosaics.

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  25. Amazing story and amazing pictures too! Great post Rosemary :)
    Love from Titti

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    1. So pleased that you enjoyed this story Titti and thank you♡

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  26. what a great post! love the story and the mosaic!
    xxx

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    1. Thank you Lyn - glad that you enjoyted seeing the mosaics.

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  27. Dear Rosemary - I really enjoyed the storytelling with mosaic pictures. Can be pleasant study about history and culture of that time. I’m slowly come out of hibernation in blogging.

    Yoko

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    1. Wellcome back Yoko - I know how you feel at this time of year - we now need plenty of sunshine and for the flowers to grow again.
      It is a mosaic that I enjoy seeing if I am in the location.

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  28. What a lovely story, Rosemary; and what a fabulous way of preserving the memory of it.

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    1. The only pity is that it is hidden up an alleyway. One of the comments came from someone who has lived in Cheltenham for 20 years but she had never seen or knew anything about the mosaic.

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  29. Bom dia, registos maravilhosos da arte urbana atravez da colocação do mosaico.
    AG

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    1. Obrigado - é um lindo mosaico que também registra alguma história local

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  30. Hello! I have just stumbled across your gorgeous blog. These mosaics are really beautiful. :)

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    1. thank you for visiting and your kind comment

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  31. These mosaics are really nice and beautiful. And your photos are so great.
    Hugs

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    1. They are cleverly done and tell an interesting story too.

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  32. Wonderful depictions there and yes, I don't think the country does circuses with animals anymore, right? Not Stateside anyway.

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