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In Memoriam Lilith, 28 July 1904 - 1 May 1906  

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belmurru
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01/05/2014 9:59 am  

AC and Lilith at Boleskine, circa 1 May, 1905.

From the series taken by Jules Jacot-Guillarmod at Boleskine, 27 April to 4 May, 1905. Note the sculpture in the background behind Lilith. It looks like a Rodin. Can anyone identify it?

The dedication of the playlet "Mr. Todd / A Morality" in memory of Lilith, in The Winged Beetle (1910) pp. 173-199. The dedication gives a poignancy to the piece, a kind of danse macabre in which a Mr. Todd progressively clears the stage by whispering the answer to the deepest question of each of the players in their ears, leading them off, until only the child remains, whose mere wish is to play.


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Michael Staley
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01/05/2014 11:58 am  

That's a great photograph, belmurru, one I hadn't seen before. Where did you come across it? You mention a series; was the series published?


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michaelclarke18
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01/05/2014 1:12 pm  

Fascinating.


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jamie barter
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01/05/2014 3:13 pm  

Yes, what an interesting curio, belmurru.  I’m sorry I am unable to help with identifying the piece in question;  I'm always curious about items e.g. books on bookshelves in the background of these sorts of things myself.  Ditto with any of the pictures in frames, etc.  However, they’re all rather hard to identify in this one, but I wonder what they were, and what could have become of them? 

In all probability, the lot of them were doubtless disposed of in the ‘fire sale’ auction held when Boleskine was sold off around 1917 - where all of its chattels were sold off for a pittance when possession of the estate passed out of the hands of the M.M.M. (the British branch of the O.T.O.) through its then Grand Treasurer General, George Macnie Cowie.  Maybe there might be an old catalogue mouldering away somewhere?  If so, it would be bound to make for a most fascinating perusal.

I believe that Lilith (Lola Zaza?) herself lived to quite an old age – she was certainly still alive in the early 30s and benefitting, like her mother Rose, from the Crowley Family Trust fund.  But again, with her more concrete details on her actual life story seem to be a little sketchy & thin on the ground.

Norma N Joy Conquest


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Bedazzled
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01/05/2014 3:41 pm  

Looks a bit like this one (She Who Was the Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife)


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belmurru
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01/05/2014 4:46 pm  
"Michael Staley" wrote:
That's a great photograph, belmurru, one I hadn't seen before. Where did you come across it? You mention a series; was the series published?

It's from Charlie Buffet's "Jules Jacot Guillarmod, Pionnier du K2" (Slatkine, 2012). I don't think that all the photos he took on this visit have been published anywhere; I imagine there are scores of them. The only other ones Buffet gives from Boleskine are a couple of a waterfall climb (Crowley is barely visible in one, but it is a dramatic shot), and this one of the house:

Given this one's similarity to the other well-known photos of Boleskine house from around this time, I guess that those others are by Jacot-Guillarmod as well. There's probably a picture of the "haggis," and Gillies playing the pipes as well, in those archives.

Buffet explains that the reason there are almost no images of Crowley on Kanchenjunga is that Jacot-Guillarmod refused to take pictures of him, "even when he asked". My feeling is that the doctor might have destroyed those he had of him, given the bad blood between them afterwards.


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belmurru
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01/05/2014 4:47 pm  
"Bedazzled" wrote:
Looks a bit like this one (She Who Was the Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife)

I agree!


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belmurru
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01/05/2014 4:51 pm  
"jamie barter" wrote:
I believe that Lilith (Lola Zaza?) herself lived to quite an old age – she was certainly still alive in the early 30s and benefitting, like her mother Rose, from the Crowley Family Trust fund.  But again, with her more concrete details on her actual life story seem to be a little sketchy & thin on the ground.

No, as the "Lilith - Obiit Kal. Mai 1906" indicates, she died on 1 May 1906 (as you probably remember, from typhoid, in Rangoon).

Lola Zaza was born on 3 December 1906, and did indeed go on to live a long life. She is the one pictured in the well-known family photo from 1910, climbing on AC's head.


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 Anonymous
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01/05/2014 4:57 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
AC and Lilith at Boleskine, circa 1 May, 1905.

Interesting information and rare pictures in this thread Belmurru, this one instantly arouses some "Laird of Boleskine" -vibe in a strange fashion!


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jamie barter
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01/05/2014 5:09 pm  
"belmurru" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
I believe that Lilith (Lola Zaza?) herself lived to quite an old age – she was certainly still alive in the early 30s and benefitting, like her mother Rose, from the Crowley Family Trust fund.  But again, with her more concrete details on her actual life story seem to be a little sketchy & thin on the ground.

No, as the "Lilith - Obiit Kal. Mai 1906" indicates, she died on 1 May 1906 (as you probably remember, from typhoid, in Rangoon).

Lola Zaza was born on 3 December 1906, and did indeed go on to live a long life. She is the one pictured in the well-known family photo from 1910, climbing on AC's head.

Of course; I often seem to get the two of them mixed up!  Lilith was the one who had the very long name and whose death A.C.’s ‘caddish’ friend Duncombe Jewell (I think it was) attributed to “acute nomenclature”. 

Thanks for the correction!
N Joy


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belmurru
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01/05/2014 5:11 pm  
"ayino" wrote:
Interesting information and rare pictures in this thread Belmurru, this one instantly arouses some "Laird of Boleskine" -vibe in a strange fashion!

And pregnant with unintentional prophetic foreboding - now that we know (I at least am completely convinced) that the sculpture is of an old woman. And the fact that Lilith couldn't sit still just long enough for the picture gives her a ghostly aspect.


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William Thirteen
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01/05/2014 5:38 pm  

The Old Courtesan


Also called She Who Was Once the Helmet-Maker's Beautiful Wife (Celle qui fut la belle heaulmière), a title taken from the poem "Les Regrets de la Belle Heaulmière" by François Villon (1431–ca. 1463), this sculpture derives from a bas-relief on the lower part of the left pilaster of The Gates of Hell. It is one of the many figures that Rodin extracted from the model for the monumental portal and reworked as individual sculptures to be purchased by collectors. The subject for this figure was an Italian woman who had once been a professional model. Rodin used her aged body for several studies and for groups of figures, as well as for this starkly realistic sculpture. In the Paris Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1890, it was called simply Old Woman (Vielle femme), suggesting that both titles, The Old Courtesan and She Who Was Once the Helmet-Maker's Beautiful Wife, may have been fanciful afterthoughts.


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belmurru
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01/05/2014 6:23 pm  

In the same spirit, here is Crowley's poem on the sculpture, from Rodin in Rime -

LA BELLE HEAULMIERE.

Age and despair, poverty and distress
Bend down the head that once was blithe and fair.
Embattled toward the ancient armouress
Age and despair!

Where is the force of youth? The beauty where?
What two-edged memory of some lost caress
Lurks in the sorrowful pose and lingers there?
O melancholy mother! Sorceress,
No more enchantress! What the harvest rare
Sprung from the seed of youth and happiness?
Age and despair.


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lashtal
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01/05/2014 6:31 pm  
"Bedazzled" wrote:
Looks a bit like this one (She Who Was the Helmet Maker’s Once-Beautiful Wife)

Thanks, Bedazzled: well spotted.

I note that Margaret Drabble said of this sculpture:

I was unprepared for the shock of the woman’s naked body.  The old woman of Rodin lacks all dignity.  Her image wounds, insults, reduces.  I stood, transfixed, appalled and undefended...

She is old, and scraggy, and ugly.  She is a memento mori.  She is worse than a memento mori, for in comparison with this condition, death were welcome.  She is, I suppose, witch-like, but she lacks the malevolence and the energy of the three weird sisters from Macbeth…  She is passive.  She is a passive recipient of the battery, the assault of time, and of the contempt of men.  Her breasts are dry and dangle, her ribs stand out, her skin hands in folds from her withering frame her back is bowed in submission.

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LAShTAL


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