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April 22, 2011 / jmeuropeana

Margot Fonteyn, SS Sirius, Jan de Hartog

On the 22nd of April –

British prima ballerina Dame Margot Fonteyn arrived in New York after spending 24 hours in a Panamanian jail cell – she was held there by the authorities trying to locate her husband, Panama ambassador in London Dr Roberto Arias, on suspicion of planning a coup in the Latin-American country. Not a world shocking event perhaps, but a good opportunity to show this beautiful photograph of Margot Fonteyn:
Margot Fonteyn dans sa loge
I especially like those telegrams pasted to the wall of her dressing room: so much more evocative than texts or tweets.

In 1838 the SS Sirius became the first steam-powered ship to cross the Atlantic, and therefor often listen as the first holder of the ‘Blue Riband’. It took her 442 hours, beating the much bigger SS Great Western by a day, and making the crossing twice as fast as the usual sailing ships could manage. When coal ran low, the crew burned cabin furniture, spare yards and one mast, inspiring the similar sequence in Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days.
valokuva maalauksesta;s/s Sirius I
And the best image we have of this remarkable vessel is from the Finnish Maritime Museum – this is I think one of the USP’s for Europeana: who would have thought to look there for such an image?

Dutch author Jan de Hartog is born in 1914. He is most famous for his epic novel “Hollands Glorie” about the oceangoing tugboats that are a Dutch speciality. It is one of those books that you hear about, put off reading because they were not really ‘literature’ and perhaps too Christian, and then when you finally do read them, completely blow you away – who needs literature when you can have great writing? If you want to read this in English, you would have to search for ‘Captain Jan‘ – not the most intuitive title translation ever.
De Hartog moved to the USA in 1960 and became a Quaker. He also wrote a very interesting tetralogy about the history of the Quaker community in the States,called Het Koninkrijk van de Vrede (The Peaceable Kingdom).
Gefeliciteerd Jan de Hartog met je 60ste verjaardag......en bedankt voor al je fijne boeken
Sleepboten. Sleepboot Witte Zee met de Giant 3 van Smit-Tak. Lading Boorplatform

Note: the entry on the Year of the Six Emperors that I wrote a few days ago, should have been included here: the historical date apparently is the 22nd of April. I apologize for any inconvenience my error may have caused 🙂

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