When I found this dramatic engraving of the Leaning Tower of Zaragoza, unknown to me, at a temporary antiques/junk stall in Gijón, I spied a possible story—and I don’t think I’m referring to the storeys of the tower, though I may be. ‘Drawn by David Roberts from a Sketch by Lieut. Eldridge of the Royal Artillery. Engraved by H. Adlard.’
Robert Leeds Edridge (1800 – 1841) was apparently at the Battle of Waterloo at the ripe age of 15, receiving one of 39,000 medals, which irritated veterans who fought their way through the entire Peninsular War against Napoleon. What, mass production of medals for anyone who was on the field? (Still, these were also the first ever personalised medals, the recipent’s name imprinted by machinery around the edge.)
Evidently Edridge was no lion since he was a mere lieutenant when he left the Gibraltar garrison 19 years later. The Gibraltar garrison mainly occupied itself with hunting, shooting, and fishing, while Edridge devoted his time to painting charming watercolours, and evidently he visited Zaragoza. David Roberts (1796 – 1864) was a more robust Scottish artist specialising in Orientalism, with a delicate alcoholic wife, who issued the lithographed Picturesque Sketches in Spain in 1837, a framed page from which I bought at that junk/antiques stall.
Surely no leaning tower could really have leaned so much? The city of Zaragoza duly demolished the tower in the 1890s—what a shame, since the tower proved to be structurally sound. (Though in a selfish way I prefer the tower to have disappeared, since fewer visitors will be inspired by it.) I only found the tower’s footprint in the Plaza de San Felipe, while an almost secret, unadvertised private museum beneath the gourmet food and drink shop on the corner safeguarded the clock face and clock mechanism as well as umpteen prints and paintings of La Torre Nueva (new at the start of the 16th Century).
Yet look what happened to me elsewhere in Zaragoza!
Is “Cyborged in Zaragoza” a good title for my story, and how does this connect with the Leaning Tower? I await an epiphany.