Picturing Families Noble and Royal


While unpacking another of the thousand-or-so boxes we moved from our previous residence, I came across a folder with some of my late father’s experimental prints. As one of many hobbies, Hyla Noble was into early colour photography, developing, printing, and enlarging. Being trials of various kinds, all the pictures have some faults, and the colour ones have faded completely. They are also water-damaged, scratched, and torn in many instances. It is remarkable, though, how a good deal of work with some basic software can restore them. It has proved a major distraction from all the other things I am supposed to be doing, though.

I was thrilled to find this old picture of my late father and mother, his three brothers and the wives of the two who married, together with two unknown (but probably related) ladies. I don’t ever recall having seen it before. At a guess, I would say it was taken at Beach House Hotel at The Heads, Knysna, no longer in existence but which was owned by my grannie.  My father would have posed and set it up, but I have no idea who actually pressed the shutter. Dad is the one who looks like the airman/motorcyclist he was. Any guesses as to which of the brothers are twins?

 noble-brothers-and-wives-adj

Then I came across a picture of myself with four cousins from the parents shown. Here, would anyone like to guess which brat is yours truly?

We are now divided by distance, as some are still in the Cape while others are in Australia and New Zealand.

 derek-patricia-leslie-marlene-and-ryland-noble-adj

Now we move to another family. The pictures were taken by my father in 1947, at an official function close to Victoria Falls in (then) Rhodesia. He had travelled there on his motorcycle at the request of Knysna artist WG Wiles, who had been commissioned to do portraits and wanted photos for reference. I understand that most of the resultant paintings are privately owned by members of the British Royal Family.

royal-family-in-rhodesia-1-touchup
royal-family-in-rhodesia-2-touchup

 My father related that while he was there he saw the then Princess Elizabeth approaching unexpectedly, and in his agitation he tripped and fell. She (rather unkindly) laughed uproariously at the sight, and to his later profound regret he was so captivated by her spontaneous mirth that it didn’t even occur to him to take a picture of it.

 

I wonder what I’ll find when I have time to dig a bit more? 

© November 2016 Colonialist (WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies.
This entry was posted in Africa, Ancestry, Art, History, Personal Journal, Photography and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Picturing Families Noble and Royal

  1. equinoxio21 says:

    I tried to decioher your Afrikaans, but all I could guess was “right is my twin?” Tweeling sounds like the German zwilling.

    Like

  2. equinoxio21 says:

    Do dig. (And I sympathize with the thousand or so boxes, in the same unpacking process right now) Those photos are amazing. Your father would be the one kneeling in the front row, at the centre? (Not a clue) And the pictures of a young Elizabeth and Queen (Mary was it?) are incredible. So do dig. (I will soon post a tiger hunt series with then Prince of Wales (future George V), the Maharajah of Gwalior and my great uncle Frank.) Great post. Thank you.

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      My father is the one on the left, in the jacket he used for flying or motorcycling. Those were, left to right, an equerry (I guess) King George Vi, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, Princess Margaret … and the other two I’m not sure of.
      My mother danced with the Prince of Wales in India. Wish I had a photo of THAT! Look forward to your tiger hunt, even though I’m on the side of the tigers.
      Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • equinoxio21 says:

        Your mother beats mine.🙂 Definitely. Mine “only” danced with Bobby Kennedy! (Wish I had that photo too) Was your mother born in India?

        Like

        • colonialist says:

          Bobby was a prominent enough person!
          My mother was born in Johannesburg but visited her sister who was living there with a husband in Colonial Service or something (I am a bit vague on that, but I know they were mixing with rajahs and governors and such quite a bit, and their house in India was most imposing).

          Liked by 1 person

          • equinoxio21 says:

            And they probably went to Simla in the summer…🙂 Imposing houses? Not surprising. Everything had to be imposing in India. My parents had a dozen servants for Pete’s sake. The cook, the bearer, the gardener, the ayahs, the tailor Darzee in Urdu, as in Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the tailor bird. No-one can believe having a tailor at home today. But then it was a sort of “redistribution” of wealth. Your mother and aunt living in a Kipling world.🙂

            Like

      • equinoxio21 says:

        And I too am on the side of the tigers. Poor things. (I love those old pictures. Your family’s for instance. They’re reflection of a world long gone.) (And I too tend to say Rhodesia rather than Zimbabwe…)😉 Have a nice week, Col.

        Like

  3. Merwyn Wright says:

    Well I’ll be blowed, my dear mother-in-law, Helga (Lewis Nobel’s widow) befriended the late Lucy Wiles and has moved up to Port Alfred. Helga recently managed to obtain an original WG Wiles pastel of a night scene, found amongst a bunch of old picture frames being thrown out of a hotel in Port Elizabeth. It is part of a set showing scenes depicting an ox-wagon in various settings, and at different times of the day. This particular art piece shows a camp fire with an ox-wagon dimly lit in the background. Various figures crouch around the fire, or move in the background. She had it professionally framed and mounted. Over the space of a few months more and more details started to emerge from the dark picture as the old chalk pigments possibly de-oxidised and came back to “life”.
    The pastels were preliminary works for the series of large oils called “On trek”. One of these was purchased by the Reserve Bank in Pretoria for the then very handsome price of 500 guineas. The curator at the Wiles Gallery in Bathurst kindly studied the pastel and confirmed it was indeed an original and in excellent condition.
    As for the assembled worthies, not the vaunted Pommies, I’m of course referring to the Nobles, we identified all except the lady with the far away look, between Bertie and Margaret.
    For those who may be confused by all the talk of twins, the two men squatting in front with dark tops are non identical twins, Hyla (the dreaded Colonialist’s father) and Cyril. Of the lightweights sitting on the stairs,the handsome bright-eyed centrepiece is the esteemed Leslie, born 5 minutes before midnight and the lad with his eyes closed, his cousin Derek, was born 10 minutes later i.e. 5 minutes after midnight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • colonialist says:

      What a fabulous find! How very silly of the hotel. I’d love to see the painting — or at least a picture of it!
      Thanks for clarifying for the readers the names of some of the dramatis personae. It seems you have identified the lady on the left. I can’t quite place her, nor the one in the background.

      Like

  4. Tokeloshe says:

    Lovely photos, you are lucky to have so much information about them and well done with the restoration.

    Like

  5. Hou baie van die seuntjie heel regs se lyftaal – die manier waarop hy sy handjies entoesiasties vou en heel vrolik na sy nefies en niggies kyk – maar ek dink jy is die ordentlike outjie reg in die middel?

    Like

  6. Such wonderful photos!

    Like

  7. Dammit. Arkenaten proves you are male, so I got that wrong.🙂

    Like

  8. A great find, Leslie. Twins – moustachioed gents in front row. The pretty little girl must be you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Arkenaten says:

    Couldn’t work out the twins, but I’ll take a stab that’s you on the left, Mister N.

    Like

  10. manxkeeills says:

    I love this post- how wonderful! Hoping you find some more photos to share.

    Like

  11. Stephanie Haahjem says:

    What treasures, Les-you are SO lucky! I remember your Dad very well, even though I was quite young, I was captivated by him and his wonderful stories! How amazing to have those photos of the King, Queen and Royal Princesses! (Are you the middle little boy in the cousins photo?)

    Like

  12. There are many dispraging remarks made regardng the Royal family, but being a Cockney, I can’t help but be a Royalist, even having lived the past 65 years in Australia.

    They were a lovely family and we were lucky to have them between 39 and 45!

    Like

    • colonialist says:

      One of the few living prominent people I unstintingly admire and respect is the Queen. Her main ‘fault’ has been to have taken her undertaking to serve very seriously, and she has put duty above all else. This, together with her expectations of the same attitude from the rest of the family, has led to much of the criticism levelled at her.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. de Wets Wild says:

    I can just imagine the memories these pictures would have jogged!

    Like

  14. disperser says:

    . . . and also a great story.

    Like

  15. elspethc says:

    Now that’s a brilliant find.

    Liked by 1 person

You have the right to remain silent - but please don't!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s