Australian poet and travel writer, Virginia Jealous discussed the lives and works of two 19th century British women writers — the poet Laurence Hope and the novelist Violet Jacob — at a special session held in Indore on Sunday. Hope and Jacob lived in Mhow from 1895 to 1900.
Virginia described the journeys she had undertaken in India and Europe to unravel the tragic life of Laurence Hope, whose real name was Adela Florence Nicolson and who lived in Mhow with her husband Major General Malcolm Hassels Nicolson from 1895 to 1900.
“Laurence Hope was extremely unconventional, bold and non-conformist,” Virginia Jealous told the gathering of historians, artistes and book lovers.
According to Virginia, she was able to access Laurence’s archives in Majorca, Spain, early this year.
These archives came to light 111 years after the poetess’s death when her reclusive grandson Malcolm Philip Nicolson died and a young Spaniard named Alejandro Conde Geli inherited them.
Virginia also discussed the work of the Scotswoman Violet Jacob who lived in Mhow at the same time. Violet’s diaries describe in detail the countryside and the lives of the Britishers, Indore’s Holkar nobility and commoners of that era.
Virginia who visited city’s Sirpur Lake on Saturday recalled that Violet Jacob, the wife of army officer in Mhow, had waded in and plucked blue lilies from the lake. She had taken them home and painted them. The painting is now in a museum in Edinburgh (UK).
Historian Rajendra Singh had organised the event in association with INTACH Indore chapter and Book Lovers of Malwa.