“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
— Mark Twain

Another Little “Old China” Mystery Solved – PR Chalmers

Posted: March 5th, 2013 | No Comments »

I blogged the other days a short poem called Old China that featured, anonymously, in a 1914 edition of Punch in London. And so my thanks to Robert Bickers of Bristol University (and, of course, numerous works and scholarship on China including the great Empire Made Me and The Scramble for China) for letting me know that the poem was penned by one Patrick Reginald (PR) Chalmers (1872-1942). Mr Chalmers, who was Irish, apparently penned rather a lot of books about shooting, hunting, fishing and deerstalking as well as being a prolific biographer (his subjects included Kenneth Grahame and JM Barrie). He wrote regularly for Punch and The Field, mostly poems also about hunting, fishing and Irish country life. So that’s the author identified, though quite why he decided to stop writing about Ireland, country pursuits and shooting things and pen a ditty about old China with plenty of Chinoiserie motifs is still not really clear. Afraid I don’t have a picture of him but here’s a rather nice old cover of one of his country pursuits tomes…

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