art history

Rubens and his Legacy at the Royal Academy

The Artist and His First Wife, Isabella Brant, in the Honeysuckle Bower, Rubens, c1609. Photo: Alte Pinakothek, Munich. (Not in the exhibition!) It sometimes comes as something of a surprise to people when they find out that I have a degree in History of Art. I’m not entirely sure why that is but suspect that it’s down to a combination of this blog being more weighted towards the history side of things and also my own demeanour being somewhat unlike that of the stereotypical Art History graduate, which I suppose is understandable as I didn’t really fit in with my […]

Berlin Part Three

Although we’d heard that Sunday brunch is a traditional part of Berliner culture, we decided instead to head out to Friedrichshain for a much anticipated vegan kebab at Vöner. I’d been looking forward to this absolute treat for MONTHS so you can imagine how excited I was as we hopped on to the tram and headed off. I’m glad to say that it absolutely did NOT disappoint – Vöner is amazing as they have an actual proper vegan kebab spit thing and they carve the meat off just like a ‘real’ kebab. Just thinking about it now is making me […]

Salisbury Cathedral

Buoyed up by our amazingly successful visit to Wells, I decided to persuade my husband that we really ought to attempt a trip to Salisbury to take a look at THEIR cathedral the next day. Which would have been fine, except my husband’s enthusiasm for old things in general and cathedrals in particular is MUCH less than mine so this day out didn’t go quite so well as the previous day’s adventure. However! Thanks to Salisbury Cathedral being as amazingly photogenic as its sister in Wells, I still managed to come away with some really great, even if I do […]

Wells Cathedral

I don’t usually post very much about Medieval history here but due to getting really into the research for my sixteenth century novel (which has led me WAY back into the fascinating and often surprising French family tree of Mary Queen of Scots) and also FINALLY reading Helen Castor’s superb and completely gripping She-Wolves: The Women Who Ruled England Before Elizabeth, which is just so brilliant that I can’t BELIEVE that it’s taken me so long to read it, I have been on a little bit of a Medieval kick lately and what better way to indulge this than with […]

Ian Finlay-Hamilton at the Arnolfini

I’ve been a huge fan of Ian Finlay-Hamilton ever since I was a spotty sixth former, completely obsessed with the French Revolution and wracked with a terrible and obviously unrequited love for Louis-Antoine de Saint Just. I remember feeling utterly astounded by Finlay-Hamilton’s work at the time, unable to believe that here was someone who had taken the same obsessions, the same instinctive passion for neo-classical design and actually turned it into something of beauty. I thrilled when I read about his imaginary organisation, the Saint-Just Vigilantes – an organisation without members or rules but with a very definite agenda […]

Portraits in Minette

Henrietta Anne, Duchesse d’Orléans, Lely, c1662. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, London. As you may expect of an Art History graduate like myself, the pages of my books are liberally filled with descriptions of paintings – in particular portraits of the characters themselves, painted by a whole plethora of wonderful artists from Van Dyck to Vigée-Lebrun to David. Minette was a particular joy in this respect as there are some wonderful royal portraits from the period that I was writing about and I thought I would share some of them with you today! Anne of Austria, Rubens, c1620. Photo: Musée Louvre. […]