Marie Antoinette’s jewellery comes up at auction

If you’re looking for a very special Christmas present, and happen to have a few million to spare, this upcoming auction in Geneva next month may be of interest. The rest of us can just appreciate the beauty of this incredible jewellery.


(From Sotheby’s website)

One of the most important royal jewellery collections ever to come to auction is set to capture the world’s imagination when it comes to Sotheby’s this autumn Royal Jewels from the Bourbon Parma Family (Geneva, 12 November), which spans centuries of European history, from the reign of Louis XVI to the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, will offer a fascinating insight into the splendour of one of Europe’s most important royal dynasties.


Descended from Louis XIV of France, the Holy Roman Emperors and from Pope Paul III, the Bourbon-Parma family is linked by blood to the most important ruling families of Europe – from the Bourbons to the Habsburgs. Members of the lineage include Kings of France and Spain, Emperors of Austria and the Dukes of Parma.


The king and queen were executed by guillotine in 1793 and their 10-year-old son Louis XVII died in captivity shortly after. Their last surviving child Marie-Thérèse, known as “Madame Royale”, was released from three years of solitary confinement in 1795. Upon her eventual arrival in Vienna in 1796 she reclaimed her mother’s jewels, which had been kept safe by her cousin, the Austrian Emperor.

ear rings

The illustrious jewels to be offered in November also bear witness to the family’s connections with the House of Habsburg, one of the most influential royal dynasties of Europe. Reigning over the Austro-Hungarian Empire until 1918, the Habsburgs also occupied the throne of the Holy Roman Empire and produced emperors and kings whose dominions included Germany, England, Spain, Holland and Italy.

pearl and diamond pendant

Daniela Mascetti, Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Jewellery Europe and Senior International Specialist: “It is one of the most important royal jewellery collections ever to appear on the market and each and every jewel is absolutely imbued with history. Never before seen in public, this extraordinary group of jewels offers a captivating insight into the lives of its owners going back hundreds of years. What is also striking is the inherent beauty of the pieces themselves: the precious gems they are adorned with and the exceptional craftsmanship they display are stunning in their own right.”

The Scarlet Pimpernel abridged – another performance scheduled

theatre masks

I have found another performance space, in Denny, near Falkirk, for the Saturday evening so we now have venues for Friday 3 May in Glasgow, Saturday 4 May in Denny and Sunday 5 May in Edinburgh.

I have had some great news regarding funding and hope to be able to greenlight the production soon.

We will be holding auditions in late January, rehearsals will be for a fortnight week beginning 22 April.

Broompark view from stage:balcony
Broompark Centre, Denny FK6 6NP

Keep climbing – the fruits are on the top

“Keep climbing. The fruits are on the top of the tree. Stretch your hands and keep stretching them. Success is on the top, keep going.”
― Israelmore Ayivor

Elderberry tree with black berries


Just an update on the fundraising – I’m writing to large companies headquartered in Edinburgh and Glasgow asking for support for the semi-staged performances next year -over 50 letters sent out in the past week. I’ve also applied to Creative Scotland for support as we have raised some funds towards the project ourselves.

Jennifer Dick has completed her dramaturgical work on the abridged version of the script we are going to perform next year. She requested an additional scene to show the Pimpernel at his mischievous best; it was so much fun to jump back into that world again. I can’t wait to see what the actors do with it.

As Keats so memorably wrote, we’re into the ‘season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.’ It has been a particularly good year for all manner of hedgerow fruits and apples here in Scotland. I planted a small orchard two years ago – my neighbours’ bees obviously did a great job pollinating.

Apples 080918

Harvest time seems a good excuse to stop and review our progress. I am very happy with how far we’ve got along the path with my adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel and the end is now in sight!


I hope you all get to enjoy some lovely autumn weather.

£138 raised so far… follow our progress here

£138 is the first payment deposited by easyfundraising – the site that raises money via online retailers. Thank you to the supporters who have signed up to this. If you aren’t signed up yet you can do so via the link below –  please remember to go via their portal when shopping on ebay and Amazon!


Use easyfundraising to shop with over 3,300 retailers including Amazon, Argos, John Lewis, ASOS,, eBay, Boden, and M&S.

Every time you shop, you’ll raise a free donation for Scarlet Pimpernel on stage every time, it’s that easy!

Find out more:

Below is the venue where we plan to stage the Glasgow performance.

Adelaide Hall in Glasgow

Can you help us reach our target?

Copy of Theatre Template - Made with PosterMyWall

Here is the deal – any money donated will be held in our business account until we reach the target when the project will be green-lit. If we are unable to reach our target money will be returned to supporters (similar to the crowdfunding model).

Here’s the link to our video Pimpernel Productions Official Website

Please contact Helen Bang on for more information on how to donate including a copy of our case for support.

Exciting news – only £6,000 more required!

A generous supporter has offered us £10,000 towards the costs of two semi-staged performances of The Scarlet Pimpernel in Edinburgh and Glasgow next May IF we can raise the final £6,000 required.

I am writing to businesses based in these cities asking for support.

almost there Star Wars

Please note that any money raised will be held in the business account until the project is green-lit. If we are not able to go ahead the money will be returned to donors at the end of January next year.

Below is the Edinburgh venue where we intend to stage the play.

Roxy Upstairs-Landscape
Roxy Upstairs – Edinburgh

Here is the link to our video:

Official Website with promotional video

If you are able to make a donation please contact Helen Bang at

Thank you!



Adjusting my sails

adjusting my sails

Hello all,

I hope you have all had a lovely summer.

It has proved difficult to raise £80,000 from a standing start to stage a week-long production of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

However, having talked it through with the director, I am now planning to produce two semi-staged performances, one in Edinburgh and one in Glasgow, in May next year. I hope that this will serve as a showcase for the play to attract further funding in order to achieve my long-term goal of a full production and a tour.

The actors will have two weeks of rehearsal on an abbreviated version of the script. It should be a great evening’s entertainment.

Now I just need to raise £16,000…

I will keep you posted.


Ask an expert

So far I’ve raised £4800 towards producing my play. This has paid for the logo, website, video, costume designs, initial script work, insurance etc.

But there’s still a long way to go.

The Kickstarter didn’t achieve its very ambitious £80K target.

What I need are 16 wealthy individuals who can each afford to put in £5,000 to make this show happen. But where to find them?


Andrew Carnegie – Punch cartoon 1903

Perhaps it’s time to get some expert assistance. There are consultants who specialise in fundraising for organisations. I’ve contacted ten of them, will see what response I get.

Does anyone know someone who works in this field?

I understand it’s against the fundraisers’ code of ethics to work on commission and would expect to pay a fee.

Do get in touch if you know someone with expertise in this area!

Or know someone with £5,000 to spare 🙂



Have you ever heard the old joke about the person lost in the countryside who asks for directions from a local and gets the response ‘I wouldn’t start from here’?

I’ve had some interesting discussions over the past few days regarding my ambitions for my adaptation of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

It’s taken me many years to learn that when the BBC open their submission windows they are not looking for a wonderful script for a show they intend to make. They are looking for ‘writers with a distinctive voice’ who they can then get onto various schemes for their soaps and returning series.

It seems that theatres too are more interested in the writer than any individual work. Although it is rarely stated so bluntly there’s a definite undercurrent of ‘who do you think you are, coming here with your script that needs a big cast and big budget? Don’t you know there are people who have been toiling away at the coalface for years writing and touring small scale shows who are way ahead of you in the queue? Go away and write a show for Oran Mor. Submit your work to competitions like everyone else.’

Come back when you have more of a track record.

With regard to funding the same seems to apply. ‘We want to know who you are before we are prepared to invest in you.’ (There’s not enough money to go round to fund established artists, let alone unknowns with ambitious projects).

Come back when you have some people on board who we know and trust.

SAS hopefuls are sent on a twenty mile hike with a heavy backpack. When they finally arrive at the truck it pulls away. It drives just out of reach for another twenty miles.

That’s how I feel. I thought I was almost there but, no, ‘I wouldn’t start from here.’