Dated May 23rd (presumably 1937), Peggy sketched a landscape view, above a line-drawing of her school building in Switzerland. The landscape is entitled: ‘View from La Majolaine, Geneva’, and she has labelled various notable landmarks: Les Voirons (mountain), Cologny (municipality), L’aiguille verte (mountain), Le Mole (mountain), Mont Blanc (mountain), Petit Salève (mountain). There are also boats on the lake, of varying sizes. At the bottom, she has written ‘Lac Lèman or Lake Geneva’.
The sketch of the schoolhouse is titled ‘La Marjolaine from the lake side’. On it, she has labelled ‘My room & balcony’, ‘Bedrooms’, ‘Classroom’, ‘Verandah’, ‘Bathroom’, ‘Balcony’, ‘Mlle Hartmann’s study’, ‘Mlle Hartmann’s bedroom’, ‘Classroom’, ‘Door’, and ‘Dining room’.
The Hall of the Princes. This is a colossal hall made in different coloured marble. It is a monument to the Medicis. The hall is modern, in fact the floor isn’t yet finnished[sic]. There are the tombs & statues of the different Medicis. Round the walls there are the crests of the different towns which they were Lord of. The ceiling of this hall is wonderfully painted. There is another room ajoining[sic] which is much smaller. In this little room there are the famous monuments to the Medicis by Michaelangelo. The crest of the Medici family is 6 balls on a shield, 5 of which are red & the 6th blue with the fleur de lys _ *See the picture of the page for Peggy’s drawing of the crest.
Fiesole is a tiny village high up in the hills. It consists of a monestry[sic], catherderal[sic], a school & a few shops. There is a monument there of Garibaldi shaking hands with the King Victor Emmanuel II, on horseback. From Fiesole one gets a wonderful view over Florence. The monestry[sic] is open to the public & is a very pretty place. Fiesole was built before Florence. It is a Roman village & there is a Roman theatre that still remains.
San Miniato is a church on the opposite hill to Fiesole. The church is made of marble. It is small & not very interesting. Near by there is the Garden of Michaelangelo. It is a big open space where one can get a view over Florence. In this place there is another of Michaelangelo’s Davids. It is the same as that in the museum & built in marble. It is not quite so big as the other. It stands on a pedestal with parts of the monument to the Medici by Michaelangelo. There are two big picture galleries in Florence. The main one is the Uffizi or Offices & the other is the Pitti. In the Uffizi there are lots of the well known pictures by Raphael & Botticelli.
Milan. The Duomo (Cathederal[sic]) at Milan is the biggest in the world. It is built in Gothic style & entirely of white marble. It has 100 spires. The stained glass windows are wonderful & very big. It is said that from the top of the Duomo one can see Venice. This Duomo is unique in the world. Also at Milan there is the famouse[sic] painting of “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci. It is painted on the wall of the refectory in an old monastry[sic].
Accademia di Bella Arti We didn’t have time to see the whole of the Academy, but we saw the main “Chef d’oeuvres”. One of the chief works of Michaelangelo is the statue, the Pieta. He has done two, one of which is in St Peter’s at Rome & the other in this academy. He has signed these two statues, the only things of his work he ever signed. In the academy all the statues were by Michaelangelo. There are quite a lot that have only been started. The greatest of all Michaelangelo work stands here _ the enormouse[sic] statue of David. He has done various Davids but this is the greatest of the lot. It was modelled out of a block of Carrara marble which had been put away with as spoiled. David was done by the young Michaelangelo from 1501-1503. The statue was placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. It was moved out of its wooden frame in the square of the Cathederal[sic] & it took about 40 men 4 days to remove it to the Palazzo delle Signoria. There is a story that the chief critic of the Signera, on coming to see the David, said that he thought the nose was a little too big. Michaelangelo gravely mounted the ladder, chissel[sic] in hand & pretended to alter the nose, letting fall some marble dust which he had in his pocket. When he asked the critic what he thought of it now, the critic said “Bravo! Well done! You have given it life.”
Florence. Florence, (or, in Italian”Firenze”) is a lovely old town with the river Arno running through it. It has a cathedral & lots of bridges. The most famous of the bridges is the Ponti Vecchio & it is very narrow with shops on it & a picture gallery running over the shops.
The Cathederal [sic] is a huge place, built, (on the outside) entirely of different marbles. It has a lovely dome & a big tower. This tower is not attached to the Cathederal [sic] itself, it is about 1 1/2 yards away. The Cathederal [sic] has some lovely rose windows & a lovely dome. We heard a short service when we went there.
The Baptistery is really a part of the Cathederal [sic], but it stands in the middle of the square. It is just a dome with the most wonderful roof of pictures & a background of gold.
The Palazzo Vecchio is an old palace of the Medici family. It is very big & holds many quite valuable paintings & sculptures. From its tower, Galileo first had the idea that the earth went round the sun.
Santa Croce is a church. Its face is of different marbles on an old body. It was begun by Arnolfo di Cambio. In front of this church there is a lovely statue of Dante. Within Santa Croce there are the tombs of Dante, Michaelangelo, Machiavelli & Galileo.
St Marko is an old monastery built for the Silverstrine monks. In 1430 it was transferred to the Dominicans. It was rebuilt by one of the Medicinis, who asked Fra Angelico to decorate the walls. From 1490 – 1498 the great Dominican preacher _ Savonarola lived there.
Rome (cont:) Customs. In Rome there are different customs & habits. One has to walk on certain parts of the street. If you are going up the street you have to go one side & if you are going down, you have to go the other side. The policemen are very strict about this. Nearly all the men you see are dressed either as a soldier or a monk or a churchman. All the officers have to wear their uniform & it looks very smart & nice _ with hundreds of different uniforms. The women go about with their bundles on their heads. Men come up to you trying to sell postcards or mosaic. Taxi drivers & carriage drivers crie [sic] out to you & ask you if you want a drive, Guides come up to you & try and press you to let them show you around. Sometimes these guides & men who want to sell things follow you round for a long time trying to persuade you. I noticed that all the official people like policemen, soldiers, sailors & guides in the museums are very young, lots of them, even, boys. But they are all very nice & obliging. In Rome no one is allowed to sound the horns of their cars. There are lots of horses & carts. The horses down in the south of Italy are all very thin & look very miserable. They are not treated very well. In every shop nearby one sees a photo of Mussolini. Every one seems to worship him almost. At 12 o.clock in the morning, there is a siren & guns go off to signal the hour. All work stops and museums etc; close until 2.
From Rome to Florence. As we travelled north from Rome, the scenery changed. The hills grew into mountains & there wasn’t much cultivation. We saw hardly any flowers. But because we saw no flowers, it doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any colour _ No! If anything there was more colour than we should find in many flowers. The hills were brown &, as the sun went down, changed into many shades of blue. The grass was a brilliant green in some places, mixed with various other shades of green & also blue in the shadows. And the sky was bright blue dotted with little white clouds, &, over the hills it looked as if there would be a storm _ the clouds were black & grey outlined with silver & gold. In one place, to add to the scene,there was a small lake _ bright blue, nestled away in the valley. In what flowers could one find more colour _ or even colours more soft & beautiful than those of these Italian hills & valleys? As we passed on, we noticed lots of things different from England _ & even Rome. Children played about bare foot _ women carried their loads on their head & the only domestic animals we saw were pigs, sheep & cattle with very long horns_* These bulls were used always instead of horses. They drew the ploughs & carts & did everything that our horse would do. Sometimes a mule or ass was used instead of the bull _ or perhaps with a bull. I only saw one horse in the whole time I was on the journey which lasted 4 1/2 hours. We saw the peasants in their native costume. We passed little villages & towns on the hills. At 5.45 we arrived in at the lovely station of Florence.
*See photo of the page for Peggy’s drawing of a bull with long horns.
The Colosseum is the biggest theatre in the world. It is an old Roman ruin. Inside there are great stones in the form of tiers. One can see the places under the floor where animals were kept, & the Royal box. There is no roof to the Colosseum.
The Tower Fra Angelo was built by the emperor Hadrian. It is a big round tower standing on the River Tiber & next to the Palace of Justice. The tower stands almost whole. It is made famous for its entrance into the opera “Tosca.” At one time it was a prison & the prisoners were thrown into the river. One can see some of the rooms in the tower, which are as they were in the way of decoration & furnature[sic] From the top one gets a lovely view over Rome.
The Pantheon is an old Roman church. It consists of only one big dome. The root of which is open. Part of the floor is wet, where the rain has fallen. At the Panthéon is the tomb of the painter Raphaël.
From Rome to the tomb of the Curias We took a carriage at the Colosseum & went out of Rome for a drive in the country. The day was sunny & hot & the sky was blue. The scenery was lovely. We passed the Roman baths & the Palace of the Emperor Augustus. At the little church of Quo Vadis we stopped & went in. It is a tiny place and very beautiful. On the floor there is a square, raised block of mantle in which there are 2 footprints sunk in. These footprints are suppose [sic] to be those of Jesus when he descended, after the Resurrection, to St Peter in this church. There is a piece of the original floor which still stands & where St Peter was supposed to have walked. We left Quo Vadis & went on in the carriage to an old ruined castle. There was nothing much to be seen here. We only saw some Roman skulls in a case. After the castle we didn’t stop until we reached the tomb of the Curias. On our way we passed the Catacombes [sic] of St Sebastian & the tomb of the Horaces. The country was very flat with the sea in the distance on our right & (a long way off) hills on our left. We saw lots of ruins of old aquiducts [sic] dotted about over the fields. In the hills there was the town of Tivoli, but we didn’t have time to go there. Our road passed through an avenue of pine trees, one of which is famous in photos & that has been painted by Turner & other painters. These pine trees have queer shapes. They are tall with a flat top_____* On our return journey we passed through villages which were very poor & miserable. We reach the Colosseum again at 6.15 after a ride of nearly 4 hours. And as we left a wonderful afternoon behind us, so we will leave Rome to continue our way to Florence.
*See the photo of the page for Peggy’s drawing of one of the pine trees.
These is the final Sketch of the Week post, as it is the last of the drawings I have by Peggy. This week in 1937, she sketched ‘The David’, by Michelangelo, in Florence. She has signed it ‘Betty Newgass’. Peggy was known as Betty for most of her life.
Rome & what we saw. Rome is the capital of Italy. Nearly all the houses are old Roman Palaces & where-ever you go you’ve got the Roman ruins all around you. The different Forums of Roman times still exist & the big Colosseum, churches & lots of other places. St Peter’s Cathederal [sic] is more modern, built in the 16th century. Michaelangelo, at the age of 24 years made the wonderful statue of St Pietro which is also found in St Peter’s. There is another church with another well-known statue by Michaelangelo _ The Moses. In the same church there is a case in which are the chains with which St Peter was bound. The Forum is the most interesting place in Rome. It is very big & all the ruins are left in there [sic] original place. There are ruins of temples, villas, churches, gardens & triumphal arcs. One of the temples is still complete. In many places the original floor of mosaïc is still there & one bit is well preserved which still holds its bright colours. On a wall, one can see little coloured birds which were also painted by the Romans. There are wells also, one of which shows two marks where the cord of the vessel rubbed away the stone. In the middle of the Forum stand the three famous pillars of an old temple. In one corner of the Forum is the first Christian church ever built. This church has been preserved quite well. All over the place, one sees cases with relics of the Romans. In some cases there are skulls too. In the middle of the Forum one can see the place where Julius Caesar spent his last night. There is another Forum close to the Grand Forum _ The Forum of the Trajans. This is much smaller than the other. There are the ruins of a small temple in it & other ruins. Near to the Forum there is the church in which St Peter was imprisoned. The cell is a tiny little place, dark & dirty. There is the stone there to which St Peter was tied & also a small cull in the wall where his head was supposed to have laid.
St Peters Cathederal [sic] is the most holy church in the world. It is the Church of the Pope. It is very big & very beautiful with works by the great cheifs [sic] of art _ Michaelangelo, Raphael & Bellini. There is a very big modern monument made in white marble in Rome. It is the monument to Victor Emmanuel II. It took 7 years to construct. There are statues there of bronze with a coating of gold. It stands in the Piazza Venizia [sic] & on two sides there are the Roman Forums. In front of the monument is the Palace of Il Duce. From the top of the steps, one can get a lovely view over Rome. One can see St Peter’s, the Palace of Justice, the King’s Palace, the tower of Fra Angelo.
Vintimillia* Vintimilia is the border town of France & Italy. It is quite a small town, situated on the Mediterranean. There is a little river which meets the sea at Vintimillia. The town is the centre of a very fertile country & therefore there is a lot of flowers & fruit there.
*Correct spelling is Ventimiglia
Genoa The town of Christopher Columbus. It is quite a big town with a big monumtent of Columbus. The streets are very narrow & dirty. Genoa is a big port on the Mediterranean sea.