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Now available – a write up on E Joyce Francis, an illustrator of the Rubaiyat

August 23, 2019
Joyce Francis Fig.02a

Joyce Francis (right)

In an earlier post, we commented on the lack of information available about Joyce Francis who illustrated a copy of the Rubaiyat published by Ebenezer Baylis and Son in 1934 – see  In an initial response, Bob Forrest proved some data about the artist and her work, including her life span of 80 years from 1904 to 1985 – see

Now, with some help from us, and a great deal of his own research and contact work with her family, friends and acquaintances, Bob has put together a write up on Joyce Francis, her life and works.  This is now available on Bob’s own website – see

ROKJ Francis1934e

The review gives an account of the life and work of this artist, starting with her illustrations for The Rubaiyat (Ebenezer Baylis Booklet no.6). and continuing through the various other works illustrated by her, to her work as an exhibited artist, and the story of Cae Newydd (her home in Wales) and her Arts and Crafts Café in Aberdovey.  There are extensive images of Joyce Francis’ work, and her story provides a fascinating view of an artist whose life spanned most of the 20th century.  There are also important insights into the history of book publishing and illustration in the 1930’s.  We are very grateful to Bob and his contacts for enabling these stories to reach the public domain.

Addendum 02-09-19

Bob has now published his article on Joyce Francis as no. 10 in his series of Rubaiyat Artists booklets.  Like others in this series, the booklet has only been distributed privately, but copies have been given to the main legal deposit libraries and some other libraries in the UK and can be consulted through them.  For more information about this series, and the distribution of the booklets, see


News about Woodbridge and Edward FitzGerald

August 23, 2019

We have received two items of news from the town of Woodbridge which are of particular relevance to the heritage of Edward FitzGerald and his Rubaiyat.  For those who don’t know East Anglia well, Woodbridge is an important market town in south east Suffolk on the river Deben, and FitzGerald lived either in the town or close by for almost all his life.

10MarketHill Woodbridge

The first piece of news, sent in by Charles Mugleston, is that the property in which FitzGerald lived for 13 years between 1860 and 1873 is up for sale.  This is 10 Market Hill (pictured above) and there is a plaque on the outside marking FitzGerald’s residence there; he lived in rooms on the first floor.  The property is on sale together with no 12 next door with a guide price of £450,000 – for more details see the link below.  As Charles suggests, the property would make an excellent site for a FitzGerald-Khayyam museum if we could find an interested body.  Suggestions would be welcome?

The second news item relates to the Bull Hotel which is also on Market Hill in Woodbridge.  This is a place mentioned often in FitzGerald’s letters and he met there with his friends, including the group known as the Woodbridge Wits.  Later on, some of FitzGerald’s visitors stayed there when they came to see him.  And, over the past century, the Bull has been the location for various celebratory and anniversary events relating to FitzGerald and the Rubaiyat.

bullinn woodbridge 2894711

The Bull Hotel has recently been purchased by David Clarke.  He is very much aware of the Hotel’s association with Edward FitzGerald and he is keen to explore ways of re-establishing the links with other interested organisations notably the Omar Khayyam Club of London which has held dinners at the Bull in the past.  We have put David in contact with the Club – see previous post for new contact details for the Club secretary.  David would also like to promote Edward FitzGerald’s work and heritage as part of the wider development of Woodbridge as a tourist, arts and literary destination.  We can certainly vouch for the attractions of Woodbridge as a destination for anyone with an interest in the Rubaiyat and Edward FitzGerald.  There is much to be seen and enjoyed.  A link to the Bull Hotel is shown below.  If anyone wants to get into direct contact with David Clarke on these issues, we can pass on a message.

Omar Khayyam Club of London – New contact details

August 15, 2019

OKClub London

We have mentioned the Omar Khayyam Club of London in a number of previous posts, including drawing attention to their new website    More recently several people have indicated to us that they have had problems contacting the Club and wondering whether it was still in existence.

We are pleased to be able to confirm that the Club is indeed still in operation.  It normally organises two dinners each year for members and guests  and it welcomes contacts from potential new members.  The contact details currently given on the website for the secretary Mr Roger Black are however incorrect.  He can be contacted by phone on 07768 333577, or by e-mail on  We wish the Club and its members all success in their future activities.

Sad news of death of Douglas Taylor on 27th May 2019

May 30, 2019

We have just heard the sad news of the death of Douglas Taylor of Boulder, Colorado on 27th May 2019.  With his passing, the Rubaiyat community has lost an important member.  Over the years, Douglas had amassed a major collection of editions of the Rubaiyat and other material, and he was also a very considerable expert in the field of Rubaiyat and related studies.

Sadly, we did not have a great deal of direct contact with Douglas   We are particularly sorry that we never had a chance to meet him in person;  unfortunately he was not able to attend any of the UK events that marked the Rubaiyat anniversaries in 2009.  But we have always been impressed by the quality and precision of the comments and other input that he gave to this Rubaiyat blog.  He will be greatly missed by all of us in the world of the Rubaiyat.  We send deepest sympathy to all his family and friends.

Please add below any memories of Douglas and other tributes that you may have.  We hope, in due course,  to be able to include a photo of Douglas in this tribute.


We can now add two photos of Douglas received respectively from his son in law Paul, and from Bob Forrest (a photo taken a few years ago, we believe by Jos Coumans).  Our thanks to all of them.  Paul tells us that the first photo was taken a few months ago on Douglas’ 81st birthday;  he was born in 1938.  Paul also says that Douglas’ death came after a struggle with kidney and heart failure, but that his last month was spent happily with family and friends.  RIP Douglas.







Late news

We understand that a memorial for Douglas will take place on  Saturday June 29th, at 2 pm, at Crist Mortuary, 3395 Penrose Pl, Boulder, CO 80301.  His Rubaiyat friends will be welcome to attend.  More details are available on

A Rubaiyat parody to cheer the political gloom?

May 20, 2019

Charles Mugleston has sent us a topical contribution to the blog.  He comments:

An-other… election looms – so wondered if this wry, ripe and amusing poem might be of interest to your readers to help lighten the Brrrrexit gloom, humph’n  ha ?

It is the back page of an Omar Khayya’m Club London Menu of 1959 held at the Arts Club on November 24th.

This certainly brought a smile to our faces.  Thank you Charles!

Celebrate Omar Khayyam’s birthday

May 18, 2019

Today 18th May 2019 is the 971st anniversary of the birth of Omar Khayyam.  The famous astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, and (perhaps) poet was born in the city of Nishapur in eastern Iran.  In modern Iran, this day is formally celebrated as Omar Khayyam Day and this year we have world-wide recognition of the event by Google with the use of a picture of the famous man as their ‘Google Doodle’ on the main search page – see  Our thanks to Charles Mugleston and other friends who alerted us to Google’s action.  It has caused quite a flurry of internet and media interest in Khayyam and his work.

We send greetings to all the people world-wide who value the contributions of Khayyam, still of relevance in the 21st century.  Take a minute to remember a polymath whose work, and that attributed to him, inspired so many others, and join us in celebrating his birthday in an appropriate way.

More booklets on Rubaiyat Artists from Bob Forrest

May 16, 2019

In earlier posts, we have drawn attention of Bob Forrest’s excellent series of booklets which pull together his research on particular artists who have illustrated the Rubaiyat and the editions of their work.  For more information on the first six booklets in the series, see the links at the end of this post.*

Now Bob has produced another three booklets in this series.  These have only been distributed privately, but copies have been given to the main legal deposit libraries and some other libraries in the UK and can be consulted through them.  The new booklets available are as follows.

No.7  Augustus John (1878-1961) and the Romany Rubaiyat of John Sampson (1862-1931)

No.8  Fred Adlington (1886-1931)

No.9  Frank Chesworth (1867-1906) and the “Clarion” series of Omar Khayyam postcards.

The booklets are all very well produced, with many illustrations in colour as well as black and white.  They can be accessed via the following UK libraries.

·         the British Library,

·         the National Library of Scotland,

·         the National Library of Wales,

·         the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford,

·         the University Library, Cambridge,

·         the Library of Trinity College, Dublin,

·         the National Art Library, London,

·         the Library of the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

If you can’t get to see this material at one of these libraries, the content is still available on Bob Forrest’s website .

* For our post on booklets 1-5, see

For our post on booklet 6, see