Thomas Langlois Lefroy

Thomas Langlois Lefroy was an Irish-Huguenot politician and judge. He served as an MP for the constituency of Dublin University in 1830–1841, Privy Councillor of Ireland in 1835–1869 and Lord Chief Justice of Ireland in 1852–1866. Thomas Lefroy was born in Ireland, he had an outstanding academic record at Trinity College, from 1790 to 1793. His great-uncle, Benjamin Langlois, sponsored Tom's legal studies at London. One year Lefroy served as Auditor of Trinity's College Historical Society, the still-active debating society of the college. Still, he became a prominent member of the Irish bar and published a series of Law Reports on the cases of the Irish Court of Chancery. In 1796, Lefroy began a flirtation with the young Jane Austen, a friend of an older female relative. Jane Austen wrote two letters to her sister Cassandra mentioning "Tom Lefroy", some have suggested that it may have been he whom Austen had in mind when she invented the character of Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, as the courtship between Tom Lefroy and Jane Austen took place over the year or so that Pride and Prejudice was written.

In his 2003 biography, Becoming Jane Austen, Jon Spence suggests that Jane Austen used her and Tom LeFroy's personalities as the models for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, but not in an expected way. Spence suggests that Jane Austen used Tom Lefroy's more gregarious personality as the model for the novel's heroine Elizabeth Bennet, her own measured demeanor was used as the model for the male protagonist, Mr. Darcy. So while the exact influence of Tom Lefroy on Pride and Prejudice continues to be debated, it does seem certain that his presence in Austen's life is in some way reflected in the novel. In a letter dated Saturday, Austen mentioned: You scold me so much in the nice long letter which I have this moment received from you, that I am afraid to tell you how my Irish friend and I behaved. Imagine to yourself everything most profligate and shocking in the way of dancing and sitting down together. I can expose myself however, only once more, because he leaves the country soon after next Friday, on which day we are to have a dance at Ashe after all.

He is a gentlemanlike, good-looking, pleasant young man, I assure you. But as to our having met, except at the three last balls, I cannot say much. After I had written the above, we received a visit from his cousin George; the latter is very well-behaved now. He is a great admirer of Tom Jones, therefore wears the same coloured clothes, I imagine, which he did when he was wounded. In a letter started on Thursday, finished the following morning, there was another mention of him. Friday. — At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow. Austen's surviving correspondence contains only one other mention of Tom Lefroy, in a November 1798 letter that Austen biographer Claire Tomalin believes demonstrates the author's "bleak remembrance, persistent interest" in Lefroy. In the letter to her sister, Austen writes that Tom's aunt Mrs. Lefroy had been to visit, but had not said anything about her nephew... " me, I was too proud to make any enquiries.

Upon learning of Jane Austen’s death, Thomas Langlois Lefroy travelled from Ireland to England to pay his respects to the British author. In addition, at an auction of Cadell's papers, one Tom Lefroy bought a Cadell publisher's rejection letter—for Austen's early version of Pride and Prejudice, titled First Impressions. Caroline Austen said in her letter to James Edward Austen-Leigh on 1 April 1869: I enclose a copy of Mr. Austen's letter to Cadell—I do not know which novel he would have sent—The letter does not do much credit to the tact or courtesy of our good Grandfather for Cadell was a great man in his day, it is not surprising that he should have refused the favour so offered from an unknown—but the circumstance may be worth noting as we have so few incidents to produce. At a sale of Cadell's papers &c Tom Lefroy picked up the original letter—and Jemima copied it for me – It was rather unlikely that Caroline Austen would address the Chief Justice Lefroy as only'Tom Lefroy'. However, if it is true that the original Tom Lefroy purchased the Cadell letter after Jane's death, it is possible that he handed it over to Thomas Edward Preston Lefroy.

T. E. P. Lefroy would give Cadell's letter to Caroline for reference. Cadell & Davies firm was closed down in 1836 after the death of Thomas Cadell Jr; the sale of Cadell's papers took place in 1840 in November. In the latter years of Tom Lefroy's life, he was questioned about his relationship with Jane Austen by his nephew, admitted to having loved Jane Austen, but stated that it was a "boyish love"; as is written in a letter sent from T. E. P. Lefroy to James Edward Austen Leigh in 1870, My late venerable uncle... said in so many words that he was in love with her, although h

Akiyoshi Kitaoka

Akiyoshi Kitaoka is a Professor of Psychology at the College of Letters, Ritsumeikan University, Japan. In 1984, he received a BSc from the Department of Biology, University of Tsukuba, Japan, where he studied animal psychology and neuronal activity of the inferotemporal cortex in macaque monkeys. After his 1991 PhD from the Institute of Psychology, University of Tsukuba, he specialized in visual perception and visual illusions of geometrical shape, color, in motion illusions and other visual phenomena like Gestalt completion and Perceptual transparency, based on a modern conception of Gestalt Psychology, he became renowned through his Rotating Snakes peripheral drift illusion. In 2006, he received Science of Color contest. In 2007, he received the Award for Original Studies from the Japanese Society of Cognitive Psychology. In 2008, his designs were the inspiration for the critically acclaimed indie rock band Animal Collective's album Merriweather Post Pavilion, which featured a leaf covered optical illusion.

"Rotating snakes" can be downloaded for non-commercial purposes from the website Akiyoshi's illusion pages

Abbott Handerson Thayer

Abbott Handerson Thayer was an American artist and teacher. As a painter of portraits, figures and landscapes, he enjoyed a certain prominence during his lifetime, his paintings are represented in the major American art collections, he is best known for his'angel' paintings, some of which use his children as models. During the last third of his life, he worked together with his son, Gerald Handerson Thayer, on a book about protective coloration in nature, titled Concealing-Coloration in the Animal Kingdom. First published by Macmillan in 1909 reissued in 1918, it may have had an effect on military camouflage during World War I; however it was roundly mocked by Theodore Roosevelt and others for its assumption that all animal coloration is cryptic. Thayer influenced American art through his efforts as a teacher, training apprentices in his New Hampshire studio. Thayer was born in Boston to William Henry Ellen Handerson; the son of a country doctor, he spent his childhood in rural New Hampshire, near Keene, at the foot of Mount Monadnock.

In that rural setting, he became a hunter and a trapper. Thayer studied Audubon's Birds of America, experimented with taxidermy, made his first artworks: watercolor paintings of animals. At the age of fifteen he was sent to the Chauncy Hall School in Boston, where he met Henry D. Morse, an amateur artist who painted animals. With guidance from Morse, Abbott developed and improved his painting skills, focusing on depictions of birds and other wildlife, soon began painting animal portraits on commission, he taught his sister, Ellen Thayer Fisher, techniques that he was learning. At age 18, he relocated to Brooklyn, New York, to study painting at the Brooklyn Art School and the National Academy of Design. Studying under Lemuel Wilmarth, he met many emerging and progressive artists during this period in New York, including his future wife, Kate Bloede and his close friend, Daniel Chester French. He showed work at the newly formed Society of American Artists, continued refining his skills as an animal and landscape painter.

In 1875, after having married Kate Bloede, he moved to Paris, where he studied for four years at the École des Beaux-Arts, with Henri Lehmann and Jean-Léon Gérôme, where his closest friend became the American artist George de Forest Brush. Returning to New York, he established his own portrait studio, became active in the Society of American Painters, began to take in apprentices. Life became all but unbearable for Thayer and his wife during the early 1880s, when two of their small children died unexpectedly, one year apart. Devastated, they spent the next several years relocating from place to place. Although he was not yet secure financially, Thayer's growing reputation resulted in more portrait commissions than he could accept. Among his sitters were George Washington Cable, Mark Twain, Henry James, he made numerous portraits of the three remaining Thayer children, Mary and Gladys, used them as models for symbolic compositions such as Angel and Virgin Enthroned. After her father died, Thayer's wife lapsed into an irreversible melancholia, which led to her confinement in an asylum, the decline of her health, her eventual death on May 3, 1891, from a lung infection.

Soon after, Thayer married their long-time friend, Emmeline "Emma" Buckingham Beach, whose father Moses Yale Beach owned The New York Sun. He and his second wife spent their remaining years in rural New Hampshire and working productively. In 1901, they settled permanently in New Hampshire, where Thayer had grown up. Eccentric and opinionated, Thayer grew more so as he aged, his family's manner of living reflected his strong beliefs: the Thayers slept outdoors year-round in order to enjoy the benefits of fresh air, the three children were never enrolled in a school; the younger two and Gladys, shared their father's enthusiasms, became painters. In 1898, Thayer visited St Ives, Cornwall and, with an introductory letter from C. Hart Merrian, the Chief of the US Biological Survey in Washington, D. C. applied to the lord of the Manor of St Ives and Treloyhan, Henry Arthur Mornington Wellesley, the 3rd Earl Cowley, for permission to collect specimens of birds from the cliffs at St Ives. During this latter part of his life, among Thayer's neighbors was George de Forest Brush, with whom he collaborated on camouflage.

It is difficult to categorize Thayer as an artist. He was described in first-person accounts as eccentric and mercurial, there is a parallel contradictory mixture of academic tradition and improvisation in his artistic methods. For example, he is known as a painter of "ideal figures", in which he portrayed women as embodiments of virtue, adorned in flowing white tunics and equipped with feathered angel’s wings. At the same time, he did this using methods that were unorthodox, such as purposely mixing dirt into the paint, or using a broom instead of a brush to lessen the sense of rigidity in a newly finished, still-wet painting. Thayer was surrounded by women, be they his family, models or students. Biographer Ross Anderson believed that in his mind "feminine virtue and aesthetic grandeur were inextricably linked"; when he began to add wings to his figures in the late 1880s, he was making more obvious the transcendent qualities