[From Mannin vol 1, 1913
WE much regret to record the death of Mr. J. M. Nicholson, our great Manx artist. He had taken much interest in the forthcoming publication of MANNIN, and had promised to design a cover for it, to do us some pen-and-ink sketches, and to allow us to reproduce one of his pictures. Our loss is indeed great. His portrait is the frontispiece of this issue, and in our second number we hope that a reproduction of one of his fine drawings will appear by kind permission of his family.
It has been suggested that the present would be a fitting time for the Manx people to found a National Gallery of Art. Across the water every town of any size has its Art Gallery a few good pictures to educate the artistic side of its citizens: we have nothing of the sort. Now, before John Nicholsons pictures are scattered, there is an opportunity, which is unlikely to recur, of forming a magnificent nucleus of such a gallery. Surely the little Manx nation, though differing within itself in many matters, would be at one with regard to the value of a permanent collection of the paintings of J. M. Nicholson.
We are delighted to learn that a movement is on foot in the town of Ramsey to commemorate the association with that town of the beloved "T.E.B." by placing a tablet on the wall of the house in which the poet spent the last years of his life, from his retirement from the mastership of Clifton College until his death in October, 1897. It is further intended, we understand, to have portraits of the poet presented to the various elementary schools in the district : and although the affair in its inception was intended as a local commemoration, to perpetuate local associations, it occurs to us that it would be a pity not to extend this latter part of the project to include all the schools in Mann. A meeting of admirers of the poet is to be held in the course of the next few days, and it goes without saying that members of the M.L.S. will watch the progress of the proposal with interest and with readiness to assist in financial aid if need be. It is estimated that the cost of the tablet and portraits will amount to over £20.
A varied collection of articles makes up the April issue of the journal of the Isle of Man Natural History and Antiquarian Society. Its editor, Mr. P. M. C. Kermode, writes of the Woodbourne Treasure Trove, the Isle of Man in the Fifth Century, and the Celtic Tribal System in the Isle of Mann; and other subjects dealt with are the excavation of a round barrow in Maughold; "Addition to Manx Grasses," by Mr. G. A. Holt, F.B.S.E., and the "Sea Bird Life on our South-Western Coast," and "Notes on the Manx Abbey Lands," by Mr. P. G. Ralfe.
At the February meeting of the London Manx Society, Mr. W. Radcliffe read a paper entitled, "An Introduction to the Manx Language." We hope that Mr. Radcliffe will allow us to publish his lecture in a forthcoming number.
We hear that the London, Manchester, and Winnipeg Manx societies intend to act "The Charm" during the winter.
In a letter to the hon. secretary, Councillor T. M. Quayle remarks that he would be glad if something of a per manent nature could be done for the Manx Classes in the Music Guildand he continues: "If a shield were obtained to be competed for by the Manx choirs it would give a fillip to the national movement. I am sure that if it were placed before our kinsfolk at home and abroad they would be pleased to subscribe to such an object. I shall be pleased to initiate the movement by a cheque for one guinea to be used as the committee of the Manx Language Society consider advisable, but not necessarily in connection with the Guild."
We intend to give an unpublished piece of traditional music in each number of MANNIN, hoping thus to preserve a considerable number of our old national airs which might otherwise be lost.
A very successful Manx supper was given in the Palace Restaurant, Douglas, on 7th April, by a few friends of the Manx Language Society. Speeches, songs, and to a certain extent, conversation, were all in Manx. Mr. Joseph Moore, Patrick, sang a traditional song never before published. We hope to publish this song in the second number of MANNIN.
Notices of a Literary Competition have lately appeared in the Manx newspapers. The M.L.S. is offering prizes to the value of £15 and 110 respectively for (a) An Historical Drama concerning some incident in Manx History, and (b) A Comedy of Manx Life. It is hoped that this competition may bring to light much native talent and that it may encourage the study of the Manx history and character.
The Editor offers a prize of 10/6 for the best Folk-story in Manx, somewhat on the model of the one on page 39 of this issue. Stories to be sent to the editor before 1st September. The successful story will be published in the next issue of MANNIN. All stories sent in become the property of the editor. If any competitor wishes to have the Manx of his story corrected, he can have it returned with corrections if he sends a stamped addressed envelope and 3d. in stamps.
Dr. Bairstow, the newly appointed organist of York Cathedral, who was one of the judges in the Music Festival, made some interesting remarks on Manx Language and Music when announcing the awards in the Manx Classes. He expressed his admiration of Manx as a singing language and also of the old Celtic songs to which he had just listened, and seemed altogether greatly pleased and interested.
It is pleasing to note that the Trustees of the Ancient Monuments have acquired by purchase the seventeenth century MS. known. as the Bishop Phillips Prayer Book, a version of the English Prayer Book made by Bishop Phillips of Mann. This valuable M.S., which belonged to the family of the late Archdeacon Gill, is one of the oldest written in Manx Gaelic, its date being circa 1625. The language is not very different from that of the present day, though the spelling differs, especially in the use of "w" for "oo." The Trustees intend to have it suitably cased and the leaves protected from possible injury.
In the year 1860 it appears that there was a strong feeling among certain public men in Douglas that a Monument illustrating a period in ancient Manx history should be erected in the town. The inhabitants had long been considering the question of building a promenade along the margin of the Bay, and it was suggested that a fitting monument in stone should be built in connection with the scheme. Mr. Richard Corbould, who had been art tutor to King Edward VII, and who was intimately connected by marriage with the Spittall family, then resided at Harold Tower. This eminent artist identified himself with the project, and made the design which is copied on page 51 of this issue of MANNIN. The figure of King Orry was drawn by E. H. Kelsey, a specialist in Norse workmanship, but the general design is that of Corbould. It is full of intricate detail quite in keeping with Scandinavian traditions. It is a great pity that the project did not materialise. Though the scheme was ambitious and costly, yet Corboulds design was such a notable one that its carrying out would have been a credit to the Manx nation.
[presume the E.H. Kelsey is Edwin Hobson Kelsey born 26 April 1857 in Rotherham Yorkshire, to Edwin Kelsey (later Mayor of Rotherham) and Mary Ann Hobson, married Eva Keig 2nd June 1880 at Braddan (she was daughter of Thomas Keig), traded as a hosier at 2 Strand St ;buried 5 Feb 1893]
We would draw the attention of our readers to the excellent portrait of our valued veteran Miss M. L. Wood, for whose noble pioneer work in the cause of Manx Music we Manx people can never be too grateful.