Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright 8 February – 21 September 2014 Admission: FREE The 23rd April 2014 marks 450 years since William Shakespeare was born. To mark this occasion, the Victoria and Albert Museum has a new exhibition exploring how Shakespeare’s works have inspired theatrical interpretations through the centuries and across the globe. Shakespeare: Greatest Living Playwright takes Shakespeare’s First Folio …Read More »
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The White Lady There is a theory that most of us fall deeply in love twice in our lives. I believe that William Shakespeare did: that there were two women with whom he fell in love; that these two love affairs had a lasting impact on his life and work; and that neither of these women was his wife. As …Read More »
Having loved my recent encounters with Henry Jermyn, Cosimo de Medici & the rest of the rogues from London’s 17th century Chocolate House Tour, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity for more confectionary time-travel, on this occasion to meet the legendary chocolatier Thomas Tosier, who resided at Hampton Court Palace three hundred years ago. Mr Tosier was the …Read More »
Amber Butchart is a fashion historian on a quest to reveal the secrets of our sartorial past and place the semiotics of style in a wider cultural, political and social sphere. She has contributed to productions for BBC 1 & 2, BBC Learning, Radio 4, Channel 4 and Sky Arts, from the Breakfast News to Making History and Woman’s Hour, and she …Read More »
A Spy In The Archives: A Memoir of Cold War Russia By Sheila Fitzpatrick I.B. Tauris Moscow, June 1968. A young Oxford doctoral student is outed as a spy in a Soviet newspaper. It could have been a devastating event for an ambitious young academic but, in a comic twist worthy of an Evelyn Waugh novel, the episode seems to …Read More »
Over the past few weeks politicians and academics have engaged in fierce debate about how the First World War should be remembered and how history itself is being taught in our schools. The most recent furore began on the 30th December 2013 when the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘Start the Week’ hosted by Andrew Marr discussed this very question. The …Read More »
The Life of Major Lanoe Hawker VC DSO 1890-1916 By Tyrrel M Hawker MC Pen & Sword, 2013 Lanoe Hawker accomplished a great deal in his 26 years. Awarded both the Distinguished Service Order and Victoria Cross, prolific inventor, and commander of an RFC squadron, he was eventually shot down by the Red Baron in 1916. From a military family, …Read More »
For many, 1960s Britain was full of women in miniskirts and men in flares. The colours were vivid and the sound of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones was in the air. This is how 1960s Britain is often remembered. The country was, as Time Magazine commented, ‘swinging.’ Except, of course, that it wasn’t. While London was certainly a hub …Read More »
If Louis Blake Duff is to be believed, Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby ‘missed by a hair’s breadth getting into the main channels of history’. This is short-sighted and Dr John W. Hawkins’ impressive new book well and truly rebukes the notion. It would be fair to say that, like many figures celebrated in their time through a grasp of the zeitgeist …Read More »
Move aside Dermot! Run away Ant and Dec! Dead kings are the new TV must-have. In just under two years, Channel 4 has signed up Richard III, and BBC2 has snapped up Alfred the Great. Boudicca is supposed to be under a McDonalds in Birmingham, so there is still time for ITV to get in on the action (yes, I …Read More »
The V&A has unveiled details of the new Europe 1600-1800 galleries, opening to the public December this year. The £12.5m project – that will be free to the public – will see seven galleries transformed for the redisplay of more than 1,100 objects from the Museum’s unrivalled collection of 17th- and 18th-century European art and design. Europe 1600-1800 will tell …Read More »
THE RAILWAY MAN is based on Eric Lomax’s best-selling memoir and a series of meetings, over many years, with Lomax and his wife, Patti. The film tells the extraordinary and epic true story of Eric Lomax, a British Army officer who is tormented as a prisoner of war at a Japanese labour camp during World War II. Decades later, Lomax …Read More »
A Conversation Starter Bulstrode Whitelocke and the Anglo-Swedish alliance of 1654 Personal relations are highly important when conducting politics today. The first steps towards political decisions are often made through conversations and discussions at an informal level. The same applied to the early modern period, although its unofficial dialogue is harder to trace in the archives. However, oral history gives …Read More »
The incomparable Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby (1842-1885) In 1876 Fred Burnaby returned from an epic winter-ride on horseback and by sledge to the Khanate of Khiva, in the heart of central Asia. His book, A Ride to Khiva, was an instant hit and ran to eleven editions in the space of a year. On Horseback through Asia Minor, written after …Read More »
The New Architecture and the Bauhaus Walter Gropius Faber & Faber, 1935 JULY IS A quiet time of year for the appearance of that fragile commodity, a new book. Titles launched in the summer may be liable to being appraised by second string reviewers; the book-buying public is apt to be on holiday. Nevertheless, in July 1935 Faber issued The …Read More »