The Blog


THE AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 3

For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of the month and blogging about it. Monday 3 August Exhibition: Cornelius Johnson, Charles I’s Forgotten PainterPlace: National Portrait Gallery [...]

THE AUGUST CHALLENGE DAY 2

For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exhibition on every day of the month and blogging about it. Sunday 2 AugustExhibit: Christine Mackie: the filtersPlace:  Tate Britain Even as the doors of Tate Britain s [...]

The August challenge

  For the Silly Season I've set myself the challenge of visiting a different art exh bition on every day of the month and posting a blog about it. The shows will be chosen in a reasonably ad hoc way from public and commercial galleries, as well as p [...]

Crisis in Greece

In the second canto of Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Byron agonises over the enslavement of Greece. The hero arrives there at carnival time....But midst the throng of merry masqueradeLurk there no hearts that throb with secret pain,Even through the clo [...]

What's in a Title?

I doubt readers often pause to wonder how a novel came by its title. Occasionally a title might invite a question, either because it’s obscure (The Quincunx) or archly complicated (The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B). But for the most part we leav [...]

Your Sorrowful Reptile

On 15 March 1780, the Wiltshire clergyman-naturalist Gilbert White noted in his diary: “Mrs Snooke buried”. His next entry, a couple of days later, recorded:  “Brought away Mrs Snooke’s old tortoise, Timothy, which she valued much & had treated k [...]

Golgotha's Man

The memoirs of Peter Scott, the prolific high-end-of-society burglar who died last week aged 82, were published as Gentleman Thief. That title was not his preference, and Scott had to be persuaded to adopt it. I think the reason he did not like it wa [...]

Stubbs: the Georgians' David Attenborough

The news is that two 1772 paintings by Stubbs – The Kongourou from New Holland and The Dingo – are to be sold from the collection at Parham Park, Sussex. If the export of these important works is to be prevented – not surprisingly A [...]

James Joyce in Winter

I post this on the 72nd anniversary of the death of James Joyce in Zurich, as he failed to recover from an operation for a perforated ulcer.  He died twenty days short of  his 59th birthday.   This was wartime, and James and No [...]

The Wreck of the Wager

18th century gentlemen, professionals and merchants subscribed in large numbers to a monthly publication that claimed (according to the Preface to its volume for 1742) to be "highest in the Esteem of the Learned, Inquisitive and Judicious" in providi [...]
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