Lizzie Le Blond Album 5

"High Life and Towers of Silence" 1896

 

Each album has been assigned a title of one of Lizzie’s books or articles that best fits its subject matter…and this one was the easiest and most perfect to match.  The first half of this album opens with traveling about Italy taking in horse and buggy lectures and photographing the grand ruins.  Then halfway through, Lizzie writes a lengthy opening that begins “The following photographs may serve to illustrate a tour with bicycles made during the Spring of 1896… The photos and caption that follow detail an utterly amazing bicycling tour that Lizzie convinced five friends to undertake.  It is a fantastic account of riding from Switzerland over the Alps to Italy, circumnavigating the coastline before going back over the Alps to France, boarding a ferry and then riding to Lizzie’s home in Brighton, England.  It looked to be a rollicking adventure, and perhaps one of the earliest bicycling tours of its kind in history.

 

If you read Lizzie’s autobiography, however, she makes only a passing reference to a little, presumably solo, bicycling excursion and then shuffles right onto another topic.  It was at this point that Safari Museum staff began to realize that what Lizzie, a woman of the aristocracy by both blood and marriage, could publicly discuss and what adventures she really had in life were very different.  Without these albums, a place where Lizzie could be free to record her true life, so many of her major accomplishments would have been lost to suffocation by Victorian standards of a woman’s accepted place and her very defined roles in society.

 

In publications that bore her name and would reflect on her lineage, Lizzie had to be a Tower of Silence; in these albums she found an outlet for the creativity that came from being an exceptional gender pioneer in so many fields and facets of life.