Posted by Claire Percy, Senior Marketing Executive
Whilst out jogging in my then new hometown of Farnborough, Hampshire, I was surprised to be flagged down by a group described by their spokesperson as ‘tourists’. As I struggled to recall famous Farnborough attractions in addition to the airfield and an ASDA superstore, I quickly decided they must be extremely lost. ‘The Abbey, Farnborough Abbey’, said the Japanese tourist, offloading his map into my reluctant hands. As he and his group expectantly repeated their request, I admitted I’d no idea where it could be, returned the map and apologetically jogged on.
I later Googled ‘Farnborough Abbey’ and discovered it did exist! The Abbey had been commissioned by the Empress Eugenie, wife of Emperor Napoleon III of France who had bought Farnborough Hill House after exile to England in 1870. Her background, how she came to be in the UK, the influential artistic and political roles she played, made her much more interesting than your average royal figurehead.
I was predictably interested when Ashgate commissioned a book called Empress Eugénie and the Arts, and today we are delighted to announce that the book has won a Fondation Napoléon History Prize (the Prix du livre non francophone 2011). The prize ceremony will be held in Paris on December 8th, 2011.
Congratulations to author Alison McQueen and to all at Ashgate who worked on the book.
About the Author: Alison McQueen is Associate Professor of Art History at McMaster University