‘Locating Trollope’ written and painted by Cambridge fan and trustee
A new book by Cambridge resident Pamela Barrell revisits the life and work of author Anthony Trollope, with watercolours painted by Pamela showcasing significant places in the 19th-century English novelist’s life.
Titled Locating Anthony Trollope: A Life in View, and published by Shelford-based Janus Book Publishing, the book is the product of Pamela’s interest in Trollope, 1815-1882, whose prolific output included novels, short stories, biographies and travelogues.
And indeed, Pamela matches the author for workrate with an astonishing 74 paintings.
“Yes, it has been a long labour of love, probably about eight years,” she says. “I am not an academic, but a complete amateur, who relied on my observations and much help from other Trollopian enthusiasts.
“I have been a fan of Anthony Trollope since the 1970s and became a member of the Trollope Society not long after its founding in the early 1990s by John Letts, a relative of journalist Quentin Letts, who has kindly written a foreword.
“After a while I joined the band of enthusiastic volunteer committee members, then became a trustee and eventually editor of The Journal of the Trollope Society from 2005 to 2015. After stepping down I began painting any places frequented by Trollope that I happened to visit, and somehow the book grew out of that.
“It was mainly intended for members and the possibility of encouraging new younger ones. Then it became a mission to continue visiting and painting the rest of the places associated with him, which led eventually to the need to describe them, knowing that most people would not have had the opportunity to see for themselves.
“I am not an academic, but a complete amateur, who relied on my observations and much help from other Trollopian enthusiasts.”
Locating Anthony Trollope is peppered with Pamela’s stately watercolours and has huge merit for its elegant portrayals of 19th-century settings Trollope could be found in, yet it also has something new to add to the Trollope story. Pamela hopes to show that in later life, the author “had begun to appreciate some of the difficulties his parents faced”.
His family’s aristocratic and clerical background are explored, along with his education at Harrow and Winchester where he is believed to have been bullied and a ‘hobbledehoy (clumsy person)’. Pamela suggests these aspects have been historically exaggerated, and have led to “misconceptions”.
She notes: “By visiting the many places associated with him and his wider family, I have not only been able to paint the properties or areas but also, vitally, to view from Trollope’s eyes and ‘see what he would have seen’. Almost all the locations remain relatively unchanged today, thus giving me knowledge of the buildings, situations, and characters he would have seen or heard about, and which influenced and helped formulate his inspirations, relating directly to many of his 47 novels.
“I have also been able to portray his career in the Post Office, his introduction of post boxes to this country, his transformative years in Ireland, his move back to England and enthusiasm for hunting, freemasonry, playing whist in gentlemen’s clubs, and his standing for Parliament in Beverley, coupled with his constant travels around the country and abroad, all of which again influenced his writing and progressed his plots.”
Here’s an extract:
That Lord Gerald Palliser in The Duke’s Children was a student at Cambridge, from where he went to London to meet Lord Silverbridge and dubious friends in order to accompany them to Newmarket. He was able to catch the Norwich to London train at Cambridge, stopping at Bishop’s Stortford, just as it does now. Many students also bunked off to go straight to Newmarket from Cambridge on a direct line. Horses were a constant topic of conversation in Cambridge, not only for racing and hunting, as students needing to hire one from Mr Hobson could choose whichever mount they wished – but always finished up with ‘Hobson’s Choice’.
Locating Anthony Trollope: A Life in View, costs £27.50 and is available from Janus Book Publishing.