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Fielding-Ould, Fielding

Fielding Fielding-Ould diary.

England, 1899 January 1-1914.
Physical Description:
1 v. (ca. 280 p.) : ill. ; 24 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
BX5199.F54 F54 1899
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Fielding Fielding-Ould (1870-1930) was the son of the Reverend Frederick Fielding of Birkenhead and a descendent of Sir Fielding Ould, an Irish obstetrician who gained prominence for his major contributions to improvements in women's healthcare. A graduate of Cambridge, in 1899 he became the Vicar of the small village of Abthorpe, Northamptonshire. He left the church from 1900 to 1905 to pursue artistic interests, but resumed priestly activity thereafter, holding positions primarily at London (St. Barnabas, Kensington and Christ Church, St. Pancras). He was the author of several works on religion and several works of poetry.
Bound in full black roan, with marbled endpapers and marbled edges.
Manuscript diary, in pen and black ink, kept by Fielding Fielding-Ould for two years, from 1 January 1899 to 31 December 1900. The diary is profusely illustrated by Fielding-Ould, in the same pen and black ink. The sketches, many depicting the diarist at his daily activity, are often given pithy, humorous titles.
In his initial entries, Fielding Fielding-Ould describes his rather comfortable lifestyle in London. Although performing religious duties by day (which he notes rather perfunctorily), he has an active nightlife, going to performances, restaurants, and fancy dress balls on a regular basis, and frequently socializing in town with his brother Robert. A trip by Robert Fielding-Ould to Africa to work on a study of malaria provides much imaginary fodder for the diarist. In his sketches of his Robert's trip, Fielding-Ould draws several images of his brother, dressed in explorer's clothing, in several erotically charged "adventures" in Africa. Fielding's drawings depict women in risqué and revealing swimsuits, pictured topless, or wearing, in one comical drawing, what he calls "the new transparent skirt".
Fielding's diary portrays a rather bohemian or fashionable member of London society, as when he gets a tattoo from popular London tattoo artist Tom Riley (following his brother Robert's example) in August of 1899. His sketches illustrate events in his day-to-day life, including large sketches of a boxing bout; the Covent Garden fancy dress ball; a boat race; and shooting croquet, etc. His successful attempts to have his forebear's arms revived are illustrated by a full page sketch "I interview Rouge Dragon". He also sketches many important national and international events, such as the lingering aftermath of the Dreyfus affair, the Boer War, and the Boxer Rebellion. Fielding-Ould's take on such matters is often racially insensitive, and his drawings indicate what appear to be typical racial stereotypes of Asian and African people.
At the end of 1899, Fielding-Ould becomes the Vicar of the small village of Abthorpe, in Northamptonshire, a move not entirely to his liking, noting (1 Feb. 1900), "I wish I had not come to this hole." Family members come to visit him in the country, however, which Fielding-Ould notes with pleasure, writing of many games of chess and of hunting rabbits with his brothers. In the autumn of 1900, Fielding-Ould travels to Rome with some of his family, and with Nora Gladstone Leyland, whom Fielding-Ould will later marry. He writes of seeing many works of art in Rome and draws a sketch of himself relaxing in a gondola on the water. He notes seeing the works of Da Vinci and Michelangelo, including the latter's "Apollo Belvedere," whose toe he kisses reverently (Sept. 10, 1900).
Near the end of the diary, after consulting with such successful illustrators of the day as Phil May and Bernard Partridge, Fielding-Ould decides to leave the clergy and become an artist. Some particularly interesting sketches from late in 1900 parody the major turning point that this represented for him.
Several loose items accompany the diary, including a few letters to and from Ould dating from ca. 1900-1914, as well as three photographs--one of them appearing to be a portrait of Ould in a heavy overcoat and top hat. Also included is a photograph of a class of art students (possibly including the diarist), nearly all men, who pose flanked by two nude studies on easels. It is labeled on the reverse side: "Oct 1903." All loose items have been removed to separate housing (Suppl.).
Subject Terms:
Abthorpe (England) -- Social life and customs.
Africa -- Description and travel.
Art -- Study and teaching -- England -- London.
Artists -- England -- Diaries.
British -- Africa -- History -- 19th century.
Church of England -- Clergy -- Diaries.
Fielding-Ould, Fielding -- Diaries.
Fielding-Ould, Robert.
London (England) -- Social life and customs.
Rome (Italy) -- Description and travel.
Humorous pictures.
Ethnic stereotypes.
Ink drawings.

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