Filed under European history

Paupers Riot 1830

Paupers Riot 1830

Here’s another horror story from Bristol’s past which serves as a warning of where we may be heading. The 1840s was a time of massive social upheaval across Europe, echoing the previous century’s ‘hungry forties’, but the problems were soaring in the 1830s. In Bristol, trade declines, so many workers were reduced to pauperism and … Continue reading

Wellington’s Victory Dinner Service

The Duke of Wellington is one of Britain’s greatest military heroes, but he was also seen as a saviour in Spain and Portugal. In the V&A is this huge dinner set commissioned by these grateful nations, produced 1813-16  

Art for Peace

Art for Peace

This follows on from the previous piece, how to deal with the many unemployed servicemen after wars end. Traditionally, they became vagabonds, criminals and generally troublesome, so Duke Carl of Brunswick created a scheme to employ men after the end of the Seven Years’ War. The skills of beadwork were new – at least in … Continue reading

UK Royalty and Race

UK Royalty and Race

There’s a lot of discussion about how the present royal family is dealing with Prince Harry’s present partner, but I am increasingly fascinated by what defines race. This is an article by Kate Williams takes definitions of race onto a new level: Queen Charlotte, the German wife of “mad” King George III and mother of … Continue reading

Rudolph II & Daughter Sophie

Rudolph II & Daughter Sophie

I have often noted how rare are images of children from the past; here’s an unusual pair of wax portraits. The first is of Rudolph II,(1552-1612) son and heir to Maximilian II Holy Roman Emperor. It was made in the dreaded year 1666. He is noted for being a bad ruler, helping cause the 30 … Continue reading

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