Filed under European history

How to Create a Perfect Wife

How to Create a Perfect Wife

This is an intriguing book by Wendy Moore, a journalist and author who I’d never heard of. The story fills in a lot of gaps in my historical knowledge, especially featuring the poet Thomas Day who I knew from his famous abolitionist poem The Dying Negro and his book on child centred education. He was … Continue reading

Stromboli

Stromboli

This is another film free to subscribers of the BFI. The film is important in its own right, but also for the scandal that accompanied it – Ingrid Bergman had written to the director Roberto Rosellini  as an admirer of his work, wishing to appear in a film. Their scandalous affair produced the actress Isabella … Continue reading

Brexit – The Devil and the Details

I’ve heard a lot about how hard Brexit will be, and the governments rush into it is worrying. Here’s an article from the i’s Jim Armitage which provides an example of the complexities ahead, and should terrify anyone in these islands. The complexity of untangling 44 years of seamless trade and regulation with Europe is … Continue reading

Suffering Tradesmen

Suffering Tradesmen

Ornate cabinets were popular in Europe Post Reformation, especially North of the alps. Many skilled tradespeople were involved, but we generally know nothing about them. This cabinet was built for Gallus Jacob, financier of the Prince Bishop of Wurzburg about 1716. Inside the completed cabinet was this cry of pain: I don’t understand this. Should be … Continue reading

Origin of Vampires

Origin of Vampires

Here’s a story that justifies reading outside a person’s normal area of interest. Tschiffley’s Ride is one of the great travel adventures, the sort of journey only Werner Herzog would contemplate filming. Please. Aime Tsciffley, a Swiss former teacher, footballer and boxer moved to Buenos Aires in 1920. In 1925 he set of in the … Continue reading

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

Thatcher’s Art Foiled by a Dog

This is from the i paper a few weeks ago, and is  a fine lesson in how the best laid plans can fail: Previously unseen government documents show how the former Prime Minister pulled out all the stops in 1988 to persuade Swiss-based industrialist Baron Heini Thyssen-Bornemisza and his Spanish wife to bequeath their collection … Continue reading

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

This is a wonderful, haunting but small museum, a place that should make you fall down and give thanks to whoever you believe in that modern medicine exists. It’s in the attic to provide maximum light for operations. Everything is so small, especially the operating table which I doubt would be long enough for me. … Continue reading

Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Anselm Kiefer ‘Walhalla’

Kiefer may be my favourite artist and I have no idea why, as I’m not usually into such weirdness. I love this huge exhibition, on at the White Cube till 12 Feb. It’s title refers to Norse mythology’s paradise for those slain in battle but also, this being Keifer and heavily into things Germanic, also … Continue reading