Thursday, August 03, 2006

England: The Best Sunshine In the World

Today, a further installment of my occasional series on newspaper items I've found whilst doing research on interwar crime in Britain. Today's example would have been more appropriate during the the weeks of oppressive heat which now seem to have, at least for a while, receded. But still, I don't think those have yet faded from memory.

I find this article particularly amusing in light of what has become an annual mass migration of Britons to Spain to bask in the sun. Furthermore, we might note that the British fascination with more relaxed Continental attitudes toward the body is an example of historical continuity in action.

From the Sunday Express 22 July 1928:




The Spanish Duchess of Penaranda is leaving London to-day after a season which she declares has been sunnier than any she has ever known during her eternal quest for a sun-tanned complexion.

The duchess is a sun-worshipper, and is bolder than the average woman who tries to prevent sunburn and freckles by screening her beauty behind picture hat and parasol. Every morning the duchess sits at her window, in nature's own garb, basking in the sun's rays. This is in London, while in the country she seeks some sequestered spot where she has her daily sun-bath amid trees and flowers.

"I adore your country, and that is why I come every season from Spain," she said to a "Sunday Express" representative yesterday.

She turned her great, luminous eyes up to where the sun was burning fiercely in a blue sky. "They say you have no sun here in England. But, see, I have had more sun here than anywhere." She showed a little smooth, velvety hand, the colour of chocolate.

"My husband loves polo; I love the sun. So we come to England every season. When your sun shines it is the best sunshine in the world. Not too hot, just right to be healthy and to give me what you in England call the tan."

At the beautiful Madrid home of the Penaranda family the duchess has special provisions for her daily sun-bath There is an elaborate and massive bath in the secluded gardens without water supply or shower appliances. It is a specially-devised structure that permits the health-laden, tint-promoting rays of the sun to reach her entire skin.

Yes, her entire skin. Rather daring for London in 1928, I would think...

Ah, foreigners.

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