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

Arms to Luxury Furniture

Arms to Luxury Furniture

One of the biggest problems governments had at the end of wars was what to do with the unemployed servicemen and the factories which had been churning out arms. Peter the Great of Russia learnt a lot when he lived and worked in England. I think he may be the only one to build an … 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

Karel Capek’s Apocryphal Stories

Karel Capek’s Apocryphal Stories

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:
In this week’s Dispatches from the Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle reads the charming short stories of Karel Čapek The modern meaning of the word ‘robot’ has its origins in a 1920 play by Czech writer Karel Čapek. The play, titled R. U. R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), begins in a…

Forth Bridge and Britain’s Decline

Forth Bridge and Britain’s Decline

This is from a piece by Ian Jack who remembered the opening of its predecessor 53 years ago. What has been lost? Odd little things: a quiet pice of shoreline a view, a further erosion of Fife’s separateness – which could be argued is for the good. The argument against the car is a bigger … 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

The Death of Eli Dupree

The Death of Eli Dupree

Here’s a monument from Gloucester Cathedral which is very much out of the ordinary. It says Eli Dupree was “abused unto death” at Hayes Middlesex. My immediate thought was he was a child somehow mistreated in school or but the man was 74 years old. I asked one of the guides what this meant; she … Continue reading

Machin Tomb, Gloucester Cathedral

Machin Tomb, Gloucester Cathedral

This is the only Tudor tomb in the Cathedral (I think), showing the family of Alderman Thomas Machin who died in 1614 and Christian his wife who survived him by only a year. They were survived by quite a large brood, but what intrigues me is how the young boys had to continue round the … Continue reading

Portrait of a farmer

Originally posted on The Incidental Runner:
Summers in the planes of Piemonte are long, hot affairs. Insects hum from dawn until dusk as the relentless sun beats down on all beneath it. Giovanni Cavaglià’s brown skin tells of the heat he works in during the year’s warmest months, earning his daily bread in fields that have…