art


Dismaland

“This event is so much more than just an art show, well, two things more. It’s got a bar and a cinema. Think of this as a fairground that embraces brutality and low level criminality – so a fairground then. Here you’re encouraged to consider, not just consume, to look, not just spectate and most important of all – beware of uneven floor surfaces.” — Banksy. Many, many years ago when I was growing up in Aberdeenshire, I used to be forced to spend rather too much time at a place called Anderson’s Storybook Glen, a most miserable little spot […]


Berlin – Part One

When it comes to history, there are few cities with such a chequered and fascinating past as Berlin. I’ve wanted to visit for a really long time but had been vaguely put off by friends’ accounts of a grim concrete wilderness and endless building sites as the newly prosperous and unified city pulled itself together. However, as time went on, I started hearing different reports about Berlin and how beautiful and interesting is and once again my interest was raised and I put it to the top of my Must Visit List. Imagine my joy therefore when my rather nice […]


Windsor Castle

When I posted the other day about my forthcoming fortieth birthday (eek!), many of you expressed astonishment that I had ‘visit Windsor Castle’ on my Things To Do Before I Turn Forty List. Which is fair enough – after all, I am a history blogger and have been resident in the UK for my entire life so far so how come I’ve never managed to visit? The thing is that I HAD actually been to Windsor Castle before. Well, sort of. I spent a lovely afternoon in the private bit of the estate, near Frogmore House, there a couple of […]


The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy 1714-1760

A Musical Tea Party, Laroon, 1740. Photo: Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014. In 1714 George I ascended the throne as the first British monarch of the German House of Hanover. With the dawn of a new dynastic age came a silent revolution – one of the most dramatic periods of change across all aspects of British political, intellectual and cultural life. To mark the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Georgian era, The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy 1714-1760 explores royal patronage and taste in the reigns of George I and George II as a product of […]


Madame Récamier

Madame Récamier, Gérard, 1805. Photo: Melanie Clegg/Musée Carnavalet. The gorgeous brunette Jeanne-Françoise Julie Adélaïde Bernard, better known as Juliette, Madame Récamier, was born in Lyon on this day in 1777. There are so many representations of Madame from the austere portrait by David, which shows her reclining wide eyed and slightly timidly on a chaise longue to the much softer and more alluringly confident painting by Gérard to countless others, all of which show Madame wearing her trademark simple white gown, which was intended to represent a virginity that it was whispered she did not relinquish until she was in […]