Category Archives: London

The Unhappy Countess

I was lured into reading about the melodramatic and unhappy life of Mary Eleanor Bowes (1749–1800), by the National Trust, who said, on its website on Gibside, one of her many homes, that she was a botanist. Further investigation revealed … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: July 2020

This was going to be Object of the Month for November 2019, but various unfortunate events from a database problem up to Covid-19 have rather got in the way. However, onwards and upwards!

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Captain Gurle

I came across the name of Captain Gurle (also spelled Garle and Garrle) in the excellent Economic History of the English Garden, by Sir Roderick Floud, a really cracking book, with eye-opening figures about the importance of gardening in the … Continue reading

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SPAB

Anyone with even a transient acquaintance with the life and works of William Morris will probably know that, inter multa alia, he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877, saying that ‘We are only the trustees … Continue reading

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Jonas Webb, the Southdown Man

I imagine that most people these days, if they have heard of Babraham at all, know it for the Babraham Institute, a research campus at which the nineteenth-century Babraham Hall (it had several antecedents) sits in the centre, and which, … Continue reading

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Sir Thomas Gresham and His College

I had for some time been meaning to find out more about Sir Thomas Gresham, but, when embarking on this quest, was diverted almost immediately by the discovery that the first substantial biography of him was written by John William … Continue reading

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Art and Spectacle

… is the subtitle of the current exhibition at the Queen’s Gallery on the art collections of George IV, of whom I wrote, some time ago and in another place: ‘But the mystery of the Prince’s character – childish, petulant, … Continue reading

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Francesco Cupani

The Alpine House @CUBotanicgarden is pretty stunning at the moment, what with the cyclamen, autumn crocus and colchicums – do go and have a look! Among all the incredibly photogenic flowers, I came across Colchicum cupani, which compelled me finally … Continue reading

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The Great Belzoni

… is today hung on display in the Fitzwilliam Museum – or, at any rate, a spectacular likeness produced after his death is. I mentioned this fascinating character several times in my previous blogging persona, but his arrival in Cambridge … Continue reading

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Popinjays

I didn’t mention that at Niguliste, there is also a collection of silver objects, many of them formerly owned by the various guilds of Tallinn. By far (in my view) the most attractive of these items is a popinjay, made … Continue reading

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