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Memorial plaques to Edward FitzGerald

August 19, 2016

Bob Forrest has found some new information about the memorial plaques put up to mark Edward FitzGerald’s residence at various locations.  Many of us know the one on Kings Parade in Cambridge, but there is more to tell.  We certainly did not know even that the Cambridge plaque was designed by the famous artist Frank Brangwyn.  Here is what Bob Forrest says.

Charles Ganz, in his Introduction to the Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Rubaiyat, illustrated by John Buckland-Wright and published in 1938, wrote:

A medallion tablet, subscribed for by lovers of FitzGerald’s Rubaiyat, designed by Frank Brangwyn, R.A., and sculptured by Arthur Cribb, of Ditchling, Sussex, in Clipsham Stone, quarried in Rutlandshire, commemorates that FitzGerald lodged at 19 King’s Parade, Cambridge, from 1826-30. (p.10)

A little later, Ganz adds: A replica of the plaque, with the date of E.FG’s birth has been placed on Bredfield House, Woodbridge.

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As many readers of this will know, the Cambridge plaque is still in place (Fig.1 above), but, alas, Bredfield House was demolished in 1950, and whether or not its plaque was rescued by anyone before the demolition is unknown.

However, in the Heron-Allen collection at the London Library there is a postcard bearing a picture of it (Fig.2 below), so we do know what it looked like. The postcard, incidentally, is addressed to Heron-Allen at his Large Acres address in Selsey, West Sussex, and is post-marked 19th June 1938. Also in the collection is another postcard, unaddressed, relating to the Cambridge plaque (Fig.3 below) This tells us that it was unveiled on October 23rd [1937], and was clearly used as an invitation to the unveiling.

EFGplFig (2)

EFGplFig (3)Finally, the Heron-Allen collection contains a leaflet sent out by Charles Ganz to invite contributions to a fund for the Cambridge plaque. The key part reads:

In order to commemorate Edward FitzGerald, it is proposed to place a Memorial Plaque upon the wall of No.19 King’s Parade, Cambridge, where he lodged as an Undergraduate of Cambridge University from 1826 to 1830.

The authorities of King’s College, and the tenant of the above address, have granted permission, and Mr Frank Brangwyn, R.A., has generously presented the design for the Memorial.

In order to meet the necessary expenses an Edward FitzGerald Memorial Fund has been opened at Messrs. Braclays (Barclays Bank, Cambridge) who will acknowledge any donations.

The leaflet, dated June 14th 1937, is signed by Ganz in his capacity as Hon. Sec. of the Memorial Fund, and its list of patrons, headed by the then poet laureate, John Masefield, includes, alongside the already mentioned Frank Brangwyn, Sir E. Denison Ross, Edward Heron-Allen, Eben F. Thompson and one “Alfred McK Treherne (Syracuse University)”.

Does anyone know more about the current location of the Bredfield House plaque?  We also wonder whether the last patron mentioned was actually Alfred McK Terhune, FitzGerald’s biographer and editor of his letters?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Roger permalink
    August 22, 2016 10:12 am

    If Google Images is to be trusted, Cribb may also have made some of the English Heritage blue plaques in London. Since his residence is listed as Ditching, Sussex, he must have been a member of the artistic circle around Eric Gill.

  2. August 22, 2016 2:04 pm

    That’s interesting, Roger. Which plaques might Cribb have done?

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