Mah-Jongg (lemur)

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Mah-Jongg or Jongy was a ring-tailed lemur who was owned by Virginia and Stephen Courtauld. Jongy was purchased at Harrods in 1923 and lived with the Courtaulds for fifteen years, accompanying the couple on their travels and changes of residence. Jongy died at Eltham Palace, Greenwich, in 1938.

Jongy had his own room at Eltham Palace. The room was centrally heated with a ladder (made of bamboo) that accesses the entrance to the house.[1][2]

Artistic representations[edit]

The Courtaulds had Jongy's likeness incorporated into artistic details of Eltham Palace. In the Billiard Room, a mural of St Cecilia, painted by Mary Adshead, features a lemur perched on the ledge between two painted columns. Jongy is featured in carved wooden roof bosses in the north bay of the Great Hall. In Leonard Campbell Taylor's portrait of the Courtaulds in the music room of their London townhouse (47 Grosvenor Square), Jongy sits next to Virginia Courtauld, on the arm of her chair. Jongy's memorial consisted of a banded obelisk (in imitation of his tail) and a lead relief of the lemur. It was initially located at Eltham Palace but is now at the Courtauld's last home, La Rochelle in Zimbabwe.

Impact on Arctic expeditions[edit]

Stephen Courtuald sponsored the 1930-31 British Arctic Air Route Expedition, for which his cousin Augustine Courtauld served as metereologist. On the morning of the expedition's departure, the Courtaulds held a farewell lunch on board the yacht. Jongy bit the hand of Percy Lemon, the expedition's wireless operator, puncturing an artery. Iodine was provided, to which Lemon proved allergic. It took Lemon three months to recover, delaying the expedition.

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/discover/explore/modern/mah-jongg/
  2. ^ Carrier, Rhonda (2008). Frommer's London with Kids. Wiley Publishing. p. 185. ISBN 978-0-470-16545-4.