In this special hybrid PPG, Humphrey Hawksley will be joined by his fellow presenter – and very distant cousin! – Lucinda Hawksley. He’ll be interviewing Lucinda about the difficulties she faced when researching her biography, The Mystery of Princess Louise (Vintage Books).
As an art historian, Lucinda was interested in Princess Louise as a sculptor and part of the Aesthetic art world of late 19th-century London, but it soon became apparent that this was going to be a very different research journey from that of her two previous biographies (of the artists Lizzie Siddal and Kate Perugini).
Many months after applying to research at the Royal Archives, Lucinda finally received a response stating “Princess Louise’s files are closed to researchers”. She soon discovered that many other avenues had also been closed off. She persevered – meaning her 3-year book deadline had to stretch into 6 years – and became truly fascinated by the woman she discovered behind the royal façade.
Humphrey will also be talking to Lucinda about what it is like to research and write about her great great great grandfather Charles Dickens – and what surprises can ensue when writing about members of one’s own family.
Join me at 12pm on 15th March for PPG on Goldster, I’ll be with documentary maker Valerie Blankenbyl, joining me live from Vienna. Valerie will be talking about ‘The Bubble’, her film about the world’s largest retirement community in Florida.
Dr Cindy Sughrue OBE has been the Director of the Charles Dickens Museum in London since October 2015. Prior to this, she was Chief Executive & Executive Producer at Scottish Ballet, where she developed opportunities for the company to present its work across the UK and internationally and moved the company into new national headquarters following a major capital project. Cindy has worked in the cultural sector for over 30 years in jobs as varied as running a contemporary art gallery and producing theatre. Cindy is also a Trustee of the National Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Dame Margot Fonteyn Scholarship Fund.
On 21 February, Cindy will be joining Lucinda Hawksley – a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum – in conversation. Cindy will talk about the challenges of running a museum during successive lockdowns, as well as what the subsequent social changes caused by the pandemic have meant for the cultural and tourism sectors. She will also be talking about what it is like to run a museum dedicated to a long-dead, white Victorian man, in a world of cancel culture. Join Lucinda and Cindy at 12pm on PPG.