Providence 2 Questions

Two mysteries in one panel - what art is that? what statue is that? Detail of Providence #2 P11,p1 - art by Jacen Burrows
Two mysteries in one panel – what art is that? what statue is that? Detail of Providence #2 P11,p1 – art by Jacen Burrows

Our Providence #2 annotations are published. We’ll keep editing and improving them, but at this point, we think they’re more-or-less thorough, with tons of Lovecraft, plus Poe, Chambers, Duchamp, Huxley, demons, witches, werewolves, polyptychs, slow zooms, Yazidi, Neonomicon, a family tree, and even some minor nitpicks.

But, a few things have still eluded even our obsessive review.

Can you help figure out any of these details that we couldn’t quite solve? Click on images to enlarge. A few of these may become clearer as subsequent issues come out. We’ll see.

Is this framed land/sea image based on something specific? Detail of Providence #2 P9,p4 - art by Jacen Burrows
Is this framed land/sea image based on something specific? Detail of Providence #2 P9,p4 – art by Jacen Burrows

1. What is the framed land and sea picture?

It’s on the wall at Suydam’s, next to an image of King Tut, first on Page 9, panel 3 and it’s visible in a handful of panels. It could be generic, or maybe there’s a specific reference that Moore and Burrows are trying to make.

The mysterious second statue at Suydam's. Detail from Providence #2 P14,p1 - art by Jacen Burrows
The mysterious second statue at Suydam’s. Detail from Providence #2 P14,p1 – art by Jacen Burrows

2. What is the second statue at Suydam’s?

There’s a small statue with horns (P10,p2) which we’re pretty sure is Cernunnos, a Celtic horned deity. Then there’s a second small statue that we never quite get a really clear view of. It’s visible on P11,p1, P13,p1 and P14,p1. It certainly is not the Silver Surfer, but I think it resembles him, probably as much as any smooth shiny metallic statue would, so that’s my (Joe’s) pet name for it. Commenter John Zaharick suggests it could be a Deep One (from Lovecraft’s “Innsmouth” and Moore and Burrow’s Neonomicon.) Anyone recognize it?

Providence #2
What framed picture is this? Detail of P13,p1 of Providence #2 – art by Jacen Burrows

3. What is the framed woman in black picture?  solved: Goya

It’s also not shown entirely clearly, but there’s a framed art piece depicting a woman in black (maybe a witch) with cherubs (or some other small creatures) at her feet. The best view of it is on P13,p1. It looks like it might be in the style of J.C. Leyendecker, who Jacen Burrows mentions here. Is there a source that it references?

Any one know why there are worms at the base of this golden pillar? Detail of Providence #2, P17 - art by Jacen Burrows
Any one know why there are worms at the base of this golden pillar? Detail of Providence #2, P17 – art by Jacen Burrows

4. What are those worms at the base of the gold column?

On Page 17, at the base of the gold column there are worms. The column from is from Lovecraft’s story “The Horror at Red Hook” but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the story that would indicate worms at its base. Any ideas?

5. Who is Aloysius Massey?

On Page 36 (page [7] of Suydam’s pamphlet), there’s a reference to Aloysius Massey. Aloysius was married to Hekeziah Massey, who is Providence’s analog for Keziah Mason from Lovecraft’s story “The Dreams in the Witch House.” The pamplet states that Aloysius Massey was a ‘common peddler’ “hanged at York Assizes in 1640, where he stood accused of murdering three women whom, allegedly, had been in his employ as prostitutes.” Keziah Massey insisted that “she’d known nothing of where the dead women’s wedding rings and personal effects, which she tried to sell, had come from.” The story particulars don’t match any history, legend, or fiction we’ve found. Suggestions? His initials matching Alan Moore’s might be some kind of in-joke.

6 – Who is Shadrach Annesley?

On Page 38 (page [9] of Suydam’s pamplet), there’s a reference to Sea-Captain Shadrach Annesley who brings Providence‘s Neonomicon to America. Moore has Annesley associated with Providence’s analog for Joseph Curwen from Lovecraft’s The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and with Etienne Roulet of Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House.” It will likely be clearer in a future issue, but possibly Annesley is a sea-captain that served Joseph Curwen in The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, such as Capt. Manuel Arruda, or else an Innsmouth captain, possibly one that would go on to serve under Obediah Marsh (Providence analog: Jack Boggs) from Lovecraft’sThe Shadow Over Innsmouth.”) Who do you think Annesley is?

7 – What buildings are these?

Providence #1 is full of very specific real buildings in lower Manhattan, including the Flatiron Building, the Herald Building, and others. We were able to use Google maps to nail down exactly where and which way Robert Black is walking in most exterior panels. Providence #2 is a little more difficult to nail down locations. A church and a church-graveyard are clear. But there are pretty distinct looking buildings that Burrows depicts that look very characteristic of 1919 Brooklyn, but don’t correspond specifically to any specific site we’ve been able to pin down. Do any of these building look familiar to anyone?

Buildings across from the cemetery.  Detail from Providence #2, P8,p1 - art by Jacen Burrows
Buildings across from the cemetery. Detail from Providence #2, P8,p1 – art by Jacen Burrows
Suydam's home - on Martense Street per Lovecraft. Detail from Providence #2, P9,p1 - art by Jacen Burrows
Suydam’s home – on Martense Street per Lovecraft. Detail from Providence #2, P9,p1 – art by Jacen Burrows
Distinctive building theoretically west (setting sun) of Suydam's home. Detail of Providence #2, P26 - art by Jacen Burrows
Distinctive building theoretically west (setting sun) of Suydam’s home. Detail of Providence #2, P26 – art by Jacen Burrows

In theory, these are all across from the street from the Dutch Church cemetery at Church Avenue and Flatbush Avenue. Some of this area has been redeveloped since 1919, so not finding these specific buildings there today doesn’t indicate that Providence is somehow inaccurate… but maybe we missed something, or maybe it would be fun to find Burrows’ references.

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7 thoughts on “Providence 2 Questions

  1. I think the “worms” are bones. In Black’s diary entry at the end of ish #2 he writes’s,

    “There was a pedestal or altar made of solid gold, that had a litter of suspiciously small human bones around it, and then, worst of all, there was this luminous and glowing female monster…”

    They certainly look like some sort of worm to me too though .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The real Martense Street is a short walk from the Dutch Reform Church Cemetery. Literally “around the corner.” Martense has a short run of existing homes (numbers 34-54) near Flatbush Avenue that evince a similar unique “bow” or “compass” windowed facade, though there are apparently no oval doorway transoms in the extant buildings and Burrows plays with other architectural features.

    In fact his window looks more like the design of the massive entranceway to Erasmus Hall High School, an edifice directly across from the cemetery on Flatbush Avenue. The castle like facade surrounds the original “academy” building erected on land given to the school by the Dutch Reform Church.

    In the cemetery panel, if Robert Black’s back is to Flatbush Avenue then the school would be just one building from his left. I’m well familiar with those buildings as one of my favorite used LP stores, Titus Oaks Records, resided there (at 893 Flatbush Avenue) through the 1970’s. The facades of those properties have been massively altered with commercial signage.

    That said, the cemetery is visible from the street on all sides, so Black may be entering from Church Avenue or E. 21 st. or even the short Kenmore Terrace, which does not run through to Flatbush Avenue, though apparently no current entry gates are on any of those blocks.

    An interesting aside, found in the listing of Martense family documents currently held by the Brooklyn Historical Society reads, “In addition to multiple generations of Martenses, among the surnames found in the collection are Cornell, Hegeman, Lefferts, Remsen, Suydam, Terhune, Van Brunt, Van der Bilt, Van der Veer, and Waldron. The bulk of the collection is in English, but there are several documents in Dutch and one in Spanish.”

    Hope this helps some. Google maps will show you all of the landmarks I’ve mentioned. Also check out the building near the “Pet Delight” store at Third Avenue and 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY for a very similar architectural facade. This building is in my home neighborhood of Sunset Park, South Brooklyn. Yes, near the docks and nestled between the Red Hook and old Yellow Hook.

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    • This is interesting! Here’s Lovecraft’s description “his [Suydam’s] lonely house, set back from Martense Street amidst a yard of venerable trees…” It makes me think Martense Court (very near Flatbush Ave.) but there’s nothing via Google street view (today) anywhere there that quite matches Lovecraft’s description… so I think Moore and Burrows have done a good job creating something that makes sense storywise.

      That facade next to Pet Delight does look like the second story window! https://www.google.com/maps/@40.661619,-74.000374,3a,75y,297.64h,90.88t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s18rs2Riy-QZGtcWlZjqvqw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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      • That Lovecraft would have seen a “lonely house set-back from Martense Street” is not remarkable for the early days of Brooklyn’s urban development. Indeed Martense Court, or more likely the property behind it, may have been the site he chronicled in 1925. Current residences were not built there until 1930.

        My research found that Mrs. Martense purchased an acre of land in the early 1830’s at Flatbush Avenue and Linden Street (now Boulevard). That places it directly behind the dead end that is now Martense Court. If my facts are straight, the property at Flatbush and Linden continued to be farmed until the late 1800’s and remained in the hands of extended family members until approximately 1910.

        I suspect that Martense Court was an entrance road to the original homestead and continued to be even after the City of New York ratified purchasing the property that represents Martense Street on October 30, 1900.

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