Mary Bonner, well known etcher, in conjunction with her sister, Emma Jane, has a studio on Agarita Street. There, period furniture, rare objets d’art, first editions, and, of course best of all, etchings my be had. ‘Mary’ has won many medals and decorations from the French Government for her etchings. The Bonner place… is set in an ancient walled garden, hemmed in by giant cypress trees. In the garden there are many paths. One leads to Mary’s studio, another to an underground part of the Shop, known as the Caverns…. Beyond this, is the room for the gigantic etching press where the artist spends most of her time.
Mary Aubrey Keating (1894-1953) described her fellow artist in Keating’s 1935 guide, San Antonio: Interesting Places in San Antonio and Where to Find Them.
City of Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m., 1867 – Yesterday morning Col. Paulino Gomez Lanadrid, commanding 700 reinforcements of Imperial troops sent to succor the besieged garrison at Cuernavaca, was killed near that place during an attack by a body of Liberals, who were lying in ambuscade….
More than 500 families, mostly Mochos and French, will leave here on the 20th with 4,000 French troops….
Maximilian is waiting for the last French soldier to leave. The shadow of the last of the expeditionary corps will not be lost sight of by the Archduke, who is now residing in a humble house between here and the Castle of Chapultepec.
And so, Maximilian, the falling emperor of Mexico, awaited his fate.
The French installation of the Archduke Maximilian and his Belgian-born wife Charlotte to reign over the politically unstable Mexico of 1864 was bound not to end well. But the story is a rich one of international intrigue on both sides of the Atlantic.
Fell in love a few year’s ago with C.M. Mayo’s masterful novel, The Last Prince of the Mexico Empire, focusing on a child caught up in the political turmoil – Principe Agustin de Iturbide y Green. A Library Journal review in 2009 perhaps summarizes the complexities involved most succinctly:
Once upon a time, there was a little half-American boy who briefly became heir to the Mexican throne—until his distraught parents sued the doomed Emperor Maximilian for his return.
I highly recommend Mayo’s book, and am looking forward to reading McAllen’s. And if these and the exhibit leave you thirsting for even more glimpses into the lives of Maximilian and Carlota, Mayo maintains an ongoing blog Maximilian ~ Carlota, described as “resources for researchers of the tumultuous period of Mexican history known as the Second Empire, or ‘French Intervention.'”
I’m hoping one of the two authors will suddenly contact me with a sliver of information (a very unlikely record to stumble upon, so am certainly not holding my breath) about a San Antonio connection to the royal rulers. Among the Austro-Hungarians enlisted to serve in support of their reign in Mexico was Baron George Ritter von Tomasini (1818-1912). As the Second Empire of Mexico collapsed, Tomasini and his wife made their way to New Orleans and to San Antonio by 1872. Here, they joined the community of dairy farmers at the Coker Settlement, about which I am writing a book for the Coker Cemetery Association. Geographically, the heart of the Tomasini farm was located where the cluster of shops and restaurants known as The Alley on Bitters are found today.
March 19, 2014, Update: David Martin Davies will moderate a discussion with McAllen from 10 to 10:45 a.m. in the Story Room on the 3rd floor of the Central Library during the San Antonio Book Festival on Saturday, April 5.
January 5, 2016, Update: C.M. Mayo has posted a podcast of a conversation with McAllen recorded in The Twig in October 2015.
Emerging from the creative founders of RAT (Rock Carvers, Artists and Themebuilders), Thom Hunt and Mark Whitten, Tally began to hatch in the backyard of San Antonian Kirby Whitehead more than a week ago. Volunteers showed up to work on her every day beginning about 5 a.m., according to logistical coordinator Wes Vollmer.
A spinal cord of 6-inch steel spread out into a network of 3-inch and 2-inch steel welded together. Then rebar was shaped and welded to flush out her massive shape even more. A web of SpiderLath fiberglass over this provided the base for the first shot of concrete.
Today, volunteers and workshop participants – Theming in Large Scale – are putting finishing touches on her in the middle of an exhibit hall at the Convention Center as part of the Concrete Decor Show. Whitten was carving Tally’s scales this morning out of a softer outer layer of concrete, while Julia Dworchack was polishing her teeth. The first blush of color has been applied to her cheeks.
With a spiky “sail” running along her spine and weapon-like talons on her front “arms,” the life-size carnivorous Acrocanthosaurus is beginning to look ferocious. And she’s substantial. Measuring almost 30 feet from her snout to the tip of her tail, she now weighs in at about three tons – three tons Vollmer is going to have to move to the south side of the Witte Museum, where she will appear poised to relentlessly pursue some peaceful, vegetable-loving sauropod grazing in Brackenridge Park.
This large gift the concrete artisans are leaving behind them after their convention is in addition to the sidewalk patterns, faux-crete fountain and 5,000 square feet of concrete cosmetology they have completed at SAY Si (covered in an earlier post).
Meet here again, and I’d be happy to let you conduct a workshop – Concrete Challenges: Can this floor be saved? – in our loft.