Friday, 1 April 2011
Towards the end of Elizabeth's reign, Easement did finally succeed in finding America... and he even managed to find his way back to England again. As a gift from the New World, he presented the Queen with a small furry animal -- which turned out to be a skunk (it was at this point that it was realized the explorer lacked a sense of smell, as well as a sense of direction). Unimpressed by the skunk incident, the Queen put Easement in charge of the royal latrines... an office he enjoyed greatly, adopting the Latin motto Quod Init Exire Oportet ("What Goes in Must Come Out").
If the biography of Sir Joshua Easement sounds rather like a work of fiction, that's because (sadly) it is. The "Easement" painting forms part of Montacute's Imagined Lives exhibition -- consisting of a number of Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits whose subjects have been lost in the mists of time. To compensate for this lack of historical data, the paintings have been supplied with fictionalized biographies by a variety of writers including Tracy Chevalier, Sarah Singleton, Joanna Trollope, Minette Walters... and Sir Terry Pratchett, who was responsible for the tale of Sir Joshua Easement!