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The Lady Vanishes


In the late 19th century, a painting titled The Roll Call, by a virtually unknown artist, took England by storm. But after that brilliant first effort, the artist all but disappeared. Why? And what does The Roll Call tell us about the fate of those first through the door?

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Sir James Palace in London down the street, Buckingham Palace, official residence, the british monarchy built in the fifteenth is by Henry. The eight is not open to the public, but apply to go inside, which I not long ago. It's not that hard is a soldier with a machine gun standing by a little cottage maybe go inside and then a man named Desmond Shaw. Taylor comes and gets me the curator of the royal art collection early, middle aged, distinguished hi and exuberance link that building those coming missing catches a nice jumble. I came here dip painting bought by Queen Victoria. Nearly a hundred and fifty years ago, it's called the roll call inside the palace is red everywhere: Royal Red red, carpets, red wallpaper.
All the trim is in gold, the rooms are massive and almost entirely empty, except for the art laws Enormous canvasses banning many centuries everywhere and in it hallway, not. From the entrance there. It is roll call one. Seventy four The second point of the roll call is that it has a single brilliant. Each idea the painting depicted british soldiers in the Crimea and war which is a war England and France fought against Russia native fifties in roll call. There's just been a battle: and the soldiers are lining up in the gray light of morning to be reviewed. Demanding officer commanding officer, Talking about a particular distinctive figure in the middle of the painting doesn't as a flashlight in his hand, because its Gloomy in the palace, of course, palaces are supposed to be gloomy
He shines the light directly on the man's face Ass, a young man carried, manages to stand upright, and this sort of encounter is suggestive of comrades. It. Doesn't it. Saint James Palace has dozens of or paintings handsome generals on white chargers, Panurge big battle. Scenes the soldiers and glistening uniforms through almost tunes but in roll call the men, are exhausted, wounded, defiant bedraggled, it's real ah standing in a line, but they're, not industry, and then not anonymous. Yes say: it's got one fantastic idea: Let me I'll come club. Are you listening to the first episode in my pocket, revisionist history
every week for the next ten weeks. I'm gonna take you back to examine something that I think has been overlooked or misunderstood. One week I want to talk a car crash just outside of San Diego another week I back to a secret Pentagon product inside the tent line of the show. Sometimes the pass, deserves a second chance, and that really goes to the heart of it. I think often we make up our minds about something that has happened, and then we move on without pausing to ask. Wait a minute actually what happened Do we really understand it. I'm starting with something very simple: a painting the roll call orbit forgotten
If you want to see it before you listen to the story, pause and go to revisionist history, dot com, but one thousand seventy four, when seventy pay, became famous something exe. Ordinary happened that I think, is worth revisiting because its should that we deal with all the time today, which is what it means to be the first. The first outsider enter a closed world the art world in England at that time is controlled by something called the Royal Academy. It consists. Forty artists and being The royal academy is the highest honour. Any artists can get it's like winning an Oscar membership, makes you reputation and makes it possible to become very wealthy as an artist Every year the academy what's on an art, exhibition, vows The paintings are submitted choose a select few and display them. Burlington House on Piccadilly, remember
this before movies and television and recorded music painting? Is it hundreds of them thousands of people come to these shows and roll call chosen for the Royal Academy and not just chosen those in a way that makes it a really big deal. First of all, where the academy hangs a painting on the wall, matters a lot if they way up to the ceiling at the sky it. That means your pay. Is considered second class. If they hang. At a level which called on the line- that's fantastic roll call is on the line the news where important announced it put it he's a gallery and about called the lecture room? tourism is known as the black hole being, in the black hole, was almost ass. Bad is not being hung at all, but if they. Painting near the front in gallery to that's incredibly prestigious so, where was roll call hung gallery to unbelievable?
on the line and gallery too, I was reading about it, creates an extraordinary sensation. Yes, completely in an unusual way, even for that time the data show opens the crowds make a bee line for Rocco cries was so great that you had to have. Basically, we employ but they are police designer, don't touch or move move on. The only can empty equivalent. I can think of. Is people camp out in line for today's by beyond, say tickets or the kind of friend see the Beatles faced when they first came to America. Roll call is the hit. The Royal Academy, show after that rock goes in a tour of England. Newcastle men walk up and down the sidewalks would sandwich boards saying simply the role all is coming in Liverpool, twenty thousand in people go to see it in those days prominent things were put on little playing cards
two hundred and fifty thousand cards, are sold with an image of roll call a bidding. Breaks out among potential buyers. Finally, Queen Victoria, one of the greatest art actors of her day to see she absolutely has to have it, which is how comes to hang in Saint James Palace. There's been shot. Taylor must have seen roll call a thousand times. But ass. He shines his flashlight over the artist brush work it I keep seeing it for the first time he's excited. Every little detail. Even there, The soldiers shoes has pretty fabulous. It is also difficult to and to paint nothing in particular happening without over doing it, and if you just get one great color functioning just pick up. From the sheep president. Hello, enjoying the killers. Its remit
couple story, but I've left out most remarkable fact of all the artist an unknown Importantly, a woman at a time the art world was overwhelmingly male british women. In the nineteenth century won't even allowed to study fine art. It was a clue the world and suddenly, in the middle of that closed world, their enters a striking young woman named Elizabeth Thomson raisins Switzerland by wealthy bohemian parents, an outsider and she breaks down the door I've been fascinated by the story of Elizabeth Thomson for years by roll call in particularly by what happened to Elizabeth Thomson after the stunning successive repainting. What fascinates me is how her story is repeated over over again, once you know about Elizabeth Thomson, you ceiling the Thompsons everywhere.
Have you ever heard of Julia Gilad? She was there. First woman to become prime Minister of Australia. She serve twenty tend to twenty thirteen, and she had an incredibly tumultuous time in office near the If your tenure she gave a famous speech on the floor, the australian parliament, here's the I ve noticed the leader of the opposition, says that people who hold sakes those views may lodging is not appropriate for high office? Will, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he's writing out. His resignation even wants to know what massage Jimmy looks like Modern Australia doesn't need. A motion in the House of Representatives needs. I merely bags, we know you're Julia Geller give that speech. I thought about Elizabeth Thomson. Because Gillard and Thompson in the same situation: women, dealing with the consequences of breaking down the door.
I also remember Elizabeth Thomson when I think of Hillary Clinton It is an idea that I think helps explain the phenomenon of Elizabeth Thomson and Julia Colored, called moral licensing two fairly new concept in social psychology. It was dead not by a number of the best young psychologists in the field chief Daniel Efron, London, business school, here's, the official definition of moral licensing, pass good, needs can liberate individuals to engage in behaviors tat are immoral, unethical or otherwise problematic behaviors. They would otherwise avoid for fear of feeling or appearing in more. When we do something good. In other words, sometimes we then, on occasion, give ourselves permission to do some bad
reference first experiments in moral licensing was in two thousand and nine. He surveys, people who pay. Equally self identify as supporters of Morocco, I'm for President and want he finds, is supporting a black politician. Doesn't all signal that your racially open person, whose income to be progressive in other areas: economic, have the opposite effect, can free you up to go back to your old racist ways because you prove to the world. What a good person you are an that's. He discovers a significant chunk of the people who supported it, Obama a Mamma within more likely he's an experiment to express Ray, questionable opinions, I was taken by the finding that. People appear to be able to license themselves based on poultry virtues. I met effort. Office. In London up near regions park I asked him why a little egalitarian behaviour doesn't
two more egalitarian behaviour. Why dont good It's just lead to more good deeds. So your question is about wonders. Evidence that I'm virtuous Lee Two more virtuous behaviour first, as one does evidence of virtue. To less virtuous behaviour when doing good led to doing bad and one is doing goodly to doing more good. This is the million dollar question in this literature and it's it's been a puzzle. All we Oh, is that human beings go both ways after a good deed, sometimes follow a virtuous trajectory, and sometimes I don't? There's what happens after Jackie Robinson broke the color line. Nineteen forty seven becomes the fur every black professional baseball player within five years, There are a hundred and fifty blackball players in the major leaks. I think that's what we expect if it's a romantic notions of progress. The door opened One person and see it opens for everyone. But what
have to understand, is that a lot of times the opposite happens, the door well for one person and there Only one to slip in those, open the door then feel free to close it again for everybody else. A couple years, the israeli Arthur, almost alone wrote a history The Jews in Germany called the pity of it all It's a fascinating book for precisely this reason: because what alone is interested in is the great powers. Knox of Germany's history with the Jews. Here we are country that committed the greatest historical atrocity against the jewish people. Yet, if you take the long view as along. Does you see that, time and time again, german culture welcome Jews, or at least welcome? some Jews from us. Seventeenth century onwards, many german states had a tradition of what we call court- Jews. Jews were banned from living in major german cities. There were severe restrictions on what they could do. But simultaneously there was a group of protected you
who were allowed to live and work within the city walls in this Jeanne thirties, the king of pressure, but I am alarmed by the number of Jews in Prussia, likening two locus bringing ruined Christians. Banishes them from Berlin, but not all of them He kicks out a hundred and forty families, and it keeps a hundred and twenty. That pattern is He did over and again in the german speaking world in the eighteenth century. The philosopher, Moses Mendelson, who is jewish, was can It is one of the most brilliant men in Europe. He lives in Berlin and people come far and wide to visit him, how does he stay in Berlin king grants in exceptional status, that is to say almost salons words here, Mendelson the undoing jewish Jew same happens a hundred years later, with Bertold our back he's jewish.
The most widely read german novelist of his day he's called the german dickens. This now at a time of very ill and Anti Semitism throughout Germany, but Bertold our buck is somehow immune from that prejudice. Richard Bognor Vagueness, Then notorious anti Semite loves our Bach calls him a man rooted in german life, one of them, There's grim thanks are about procuring. He would prejudice the jury. Hey Jews as a rule, but they love our Bach what's going on here, it sounds contradiction. Snuff is just but more licensing, the Germans, love Bertold our buck and because they think They have demonstrated their open mindedness by loving this one? Do they feel free ACT in the most despicable way. Other Jews, you when the door to one outsider enacted.
You permission to close the door to others. After seeing roll call at Saint James Palace, I went to the tape. Sat on a little bench outside the Turner Gallery with Paul assured, assured in art historian, who has written extensively and Elizabeth Thompson. In fact, I first and a bottomless pit Thomson, because I still The cross. An absolutely brilliant article by our Sherwood in the woman's art journal, was called Elizabeth Thomson Butler a case of tokenism or she would is wispy entreaty in the best possible english way: I imagine that after our chat, he will go. Great home, spend an hour in the garden then go for a brisk walk across a few soggy feel to the dogs are. Should I, use that in making sense of what happened to Elizabeth Thompson. It's really. To understand the role of the Royal Academy
control the art world at this point for aloof, dictatorial, white men, an institution to see very, very powerful and much resented by people who want One black academy members gave their own pictures the best positions on the walls of the annual exhibition. Meanwhile, much ignored everyone else's art, including eighteen. Seventy four, the urine We'll call went up, yeah. He was six Hansen's paintings which didn't make the exhibition there's only one art show that matters in England and its small that thousands of artists are stuck on the outside. Looking in his growing so long comes Elizabeth Thomson, woman, no cider with an absolutely brilliant painting
academy hangs on the line and gallery to everyone. This is a sign that the academy is finally opening its doors to what do the holy GRAIL. Membership in the Royal Academy itself. It seems destined to have one of the prominent our critics of the day, in the daily telegraph that role Success proves that- and I am quoting here- real genius has no insurmountable obstacles in the english artwork. Short order. Thompson is nominated for election to the Royal Academy. She's, one of the most famous artists in England. She's a huge public following Every artist in the country is riveted by your candidacy and what happens she loses, but by just two it doesn't feel at the end, Everyone says this is progress here. We have a young artist still in her twenties and
First try. She comes within a hair s, breadth of acceptance into the old boys club. One thinks that she's gonna be a lock for election. The next time round. They look. And they say? Listen Thompson pioneer but then Thomson submits another painting. Did he carried me and other brilliant painting a poacher bra A depiction of the battle of Waterloo Messengers celebrity has a tacit assistance from beyond three hundred soldiers. Point operated socially paint a picture. This isn't eighteen, seventy five the year after roll calls trial. So what happens to quash around Davis stuff it away in an obscure corner, says, put hard see times. Newark is hung in the lecture room at the back. The black hole and the black hole is where her election to the Royal Academy also goes remember
he was within two votes of getting in and everybody said, she's a lock with a next time round, but she isn't there is no next time around. Instead, Male academy. Members these absurd internal conversations about how would work if a woman ever got elected, but about the etiquette That's a banquet room would bring em something for the male admissions squatter women into banquet wow that work with a woman, a fuss about it. Hide themselves in knots at the thought of a woman entering their club. So The academy members pass new regulations to limit the privileges of any women who might be like in the future because they pay, when their bona fides, they hung roll call on the line and gallery to who can how open and progressively are now they go back to the way they were.
In eighteen. Eighty one Elizabeth Thompson paints what might be her most famous painting Scotland forever. Grilling depiction of a charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo in one thousand, eight hundred and fifteen Scotland forever is never shown at the Royal Academy and Thompson. And even try again to get elected she can the writing on the wall. In fact, no woman would be elected to the Royal Academy until one thousand nine hundred and thirty six more than one slash two. Century later as for Thompson, she married an army officer named William Butler- changed her name. She raised six children. Her career took back seat to her husband's when rights. His memoirs, he doesn't say a word about her. His own wife, One of the most famous artists in England is,
what about free phone? Fifty five pages she's not mention the index inventions, he was married, dimension city did have children and that's. It when she writes her memoirs, she axis The whole incident with her near election to the Royal Academy, never happened. Day. People would write an entire book about it, but she's defeated and she knows it here's all she says as it turned out. In eighteen. Seventy, nine hundred and my election by two votes. Only since then I think the door has been closed and wisely as the part. It always gets me and wisely she's, given up here's an honest, question. How are you supposed to know what to do with your money? Very few of us
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we're Prime Minister of Australia- that's because it's the same story guards was a milestone in Austria in history. The same way would be for any country Australia had been an independent nation for more than a century, a hunt in ten years of uninterrupted male rule that came to an end and twenty ten with his funny with smart, tough woman, in former british colonies like Australia, the representative of the british crown is called the governor General and the governor general is. The person who swears in the new Prime Minister when Dillard stands up Take the oath of office is a doubly incredible moment: what made loom large. For me that dye is Anna Governor General at that time was the first woman to ever serve as governor general. This is Julia Gillard telling the story and could see in her face and in her eyes in these incredible
shock, or delight that she was going to be the person to swearing the first woman, Prime Minister, I alone will you come and she subsequently said to me. Look I didn't think I'd like to see it. I didn't think I'd live to see the Diane nation had a female prime minister. It's a big deal and Gilad like many, time thinks that Australia has undergone a pair, and transformation and she also thinks that, after the novelty of her election passes should just be prime minister gathered the to Virginia gender will become unremarkable. The way the fact baseball players. Race is now unremarkable. If you'd maybe in that all would apply so that in the first few months and then I thought sort of the political cycle and go back to normal and
I made that judgment cold, spectacularly Rome rooms, this moment did you I see you are wrong. Ah I don't think it was a you know it wasn't. The thought of a penny dropping in my brine bought eat, just Hi, clearer and clear. A particularly the time we were in the government's second year and we will. Putting a price on carbon and they campaigning against that by the opposition and in the community was getting harsher ain't shriller. It was the course of that the king did stuff really started to shore. Things got ugly, you're the pay a little like this model Jane her opponents circulate lewd sexual cartoons of her? She would be
further to the newspapers is Julia as if she was a reality tv star and not the head of state media would constantly referred to the outfit she wore or how much leave it. She showed or the every voice The sea of a major austrian company publicly called her an unproductive old cow. One restaurant offered on his menu Julia Killers Kentucky Fried Quail Small Bresse, huge them and a big Red Box was there a particular moment thing said that her to the most when it's obviously not a good to look out on the sale of protesters and say yourself described as a beach in a witch and things like that. But for me, Actually, the worst monument in my prime minister, Sheep was not in another. Self agenda remark, but kind from a shock. Jacques Talking about the russian, involve Australia, a major radio personality
a fundraiser for the conservative party, the other party, not eulogy I know I had recently. I lost my father. My father died while I was Prime Minister and he seemed to be so dense that my father, a daughter of shame, because he was ashamed of May as Prime Minister Omen, that that was the worst oh wow here, that's appalling eighty appalling, eighties, appalling end, you know it's. You don't expect to have to do that me. Life and you d expect that you know some unlock, my mother, whose just lovely woman none of Vienna raw gripe strangely in citizen should have to tolerate that. Being said about spend she's just lost. What are you that intelligent, educated members of a progressive country- feel they can get away with such a vile behaviour because they ve selected, a woman. They prove their progressive bona fides ending a hundred and ten years patriarchy when the fee
they'll governor General swears in the female prime minister. Australia has a collective lump in its throat, but then what and moral licensing happens and, of course, Geller can't fight I until the very end of your ten years, Prime Minister, you can Pretty stiff upper lip about this I think I did tell me about that about you decision of how to handle a means. It's a night, some of its just me and then I also took a deliberate decision that you know. If you looked like you couldn't take. If you looked, said the in that
would be used against me personally, but more importantly, against women generally, that they would have been Paypal muttering to themselves, and I knew new women wind up for these scene. I knew that couldn't take it when the going got tough, then near the end of goods time in office. Prominent member of her own party, the man is chosen to be speaker found to have sent sexist text messages and, incredibly her critics come after her Gilbert The accused her of condoning sexism because she's associated with this man, she sits our office in disbelief? Don't wanna use any bad language to you, but I did have just through my brain.
Sir Heaven's sake, and the word I was thinking- wasn't havens. For Heaven's sake. I cannot believe that, after everything I've had to listen to now on somehow gonna walk into a parliament and people who have use Jane, daddy insults against me and now somehow, to try and give me a lecture sexism, like the injustice of this, was- spoiling in May so that day in parliament she stopped. That and gives her famous massage any speech. Its rest to her harshest critic, the leader Australia's opposition? Antonia Abbot colored. Starts listing all the things Abbott has said and done to her and other women over the years. She Let him have it. I was very faint person like when the later
The opposition, as Minister for Health said, and I quote, abortion. The easy way out very personally offended by those comments. He said that in March two thousand and four I suggest you check the record. This is live on the floor. A parliament if you want, the video abbot sitting right in front of her dressing him down to his ace and the longer she goes on the more he shrivels in shrinks. Its own Siberia fainted on behalf the women of Australia. Point in the course of these carbon pricing can hide the leader of the opposition said when the
swipes of Australia need to do what the housewives of Austria you need to understand, as they do the awning. Thank you for that. Painting women's Rome see Modern Australia and then, of course, I was painted to buy the stakes than the soldiers of the labor of the opposition cat pooling across these time may, as I say here, is that if the Prime Minister wants to politically speaking, make an honest woman of us so something that would never have been saved to any man sitting, in least feigned when the leader of the opposition wait outside in the project parliament and stored next to a sign that say, teach the, which I was a faint when the labor of the occupation, and may I meant beach, I was painted by those things- must sergeant sake every day from these labour. If the opposition rate I in every way across the time, the labour this was twenty twelve, it was practically yesterday
At last news conferences, Prime Minister gathered, says what I absolutely confident of is that it will be easier for the next women and for the woman after that and the woman after that- and I am proud of that. Forgive me for being a little less optimistic than she was the difference between Julia gathered and Elizabeth Thomson is the Thomson never had a chance to give a speech like that on the floor, parliament, she went quietly. I got the chance to stand up and to be heard, and I suppose that's progress the underlying dynamics, these two women faced. Are they all that different, a woman accepted into a man's world. She thing. Tat. Somehow something has changed, but nothing has changed the men pat themselves on the back, and then they slammed the door shut again Tonia the man she eviscerated he later but
Prime Minister of Australia, by the way the partial list of the countries that have had one and only one female, later opened the door Pat themselves on the back close it again ready, Brazil, Germany, Costa Rica, Croatia, Nicaragua, Latvia, Panama, Bolivia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Poland, Turkey, France, Canada and, of course, Australia, makes you wonder about Hillary Clinton. Doesn't it Nor can it had an easy. You been listening to revision is history. If you like what you heard, do us a favour and reticent itunes? It helps
You can get more information about this. Another episodes at revisionist history, dot com or on your favorite podcast tat Our show is produced by mere Labelle Rocks and Scott and Jacob Smith. Editor is Julia Barton, music. Composed by Luis Kara, Oh yes, he's our flung Williams is our engineer, tat, checker, Michel, Siroc and hopefully, management, team, Laura Mare, Andy Bowers and Jacob Iceberg, I'm Malcolm Glad, on July, Tenth The fifteen, a young woman named Sandra Bland, was stopped by a police officer on a high. In rural Texas. Then everything went wrong ivory
book called talking to strangers. It starts with that encounter, but I didn't just right for the page, I recorded an audio book as well. New kind of audio book. That allows you to hear the voices of the people I talked to and come with me to the places I go because You shouldn't just listen to an audio book. You should experience it talking to strangers the audio experience available now, where ever audio books or sold.
Transcript generated on 2020-01-12.