Showing posts from January, 2014

Jan Gordon and Tin Mining in Malaysia

I just arrived home from a trip to Malaysia to find a 1923 volume of Blackwood's Magazine waiting for me, in which Jan Gordon remembers his early Malaysian tin mining experiences. The title of the piece is "An Experiment in Adventure". The story begins with him (under assumed name "William") peeling off old labels from a sea cabin trunk in order to use it as a seat for a party. The very last label to be removed dates from his early voyage to Malaysia to begin his career as a mining engineer. He then begins to reflect on that journey: "He had not given it a thought for how many years? Sixteen or so." Tin mining in Malaysia , pursuing the oxide ore cassiterite , began in the the 1820s through the efforts of Chinese immigrants under the leadership of  Chung Ah Qwee . I do not have any specimens of cassiterite from Malaysia, but this Myanmar example gives a good idea of what it looks like. In Malaysia, tin mining expanded during the 1870s wit

Jan and Cora Gordon in the Library of Lady Ottoline Morrell

Lady Ottoline Morrell was a celebrated patron of the arts and society hostess who lived from 1873 to 1938.  She was a contemporary of Jan and Cora gordon , a well known pair of artists, writers and musicians. Her residence at 44 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury, London served as a salon for friends, including many authors, poets, artists and sculptors, some of them members of the " Bloomsbury Group ". Members of this group were also invited to weekend retreats at the Morrells' Garsington Manor near Oxford. Ottoline Morrell had a copy of " Poor Folk in Spain " (1922) by Jan and Cora Gordon in her library. The book bears her signature inside the front cover. The back of the book contains notes in her hand that are not entirely clear to understand, though I can recognise the words "Studio", a magazine in which both Jan and Cora Gordon published works of art , and "Romanesque". I also see the names "Williams" (after "Unde