Category Archives: Art and Literature

Richard Parkers and the Titanic

In 1884, the yacht Mignonette sank en route from Southampton to Sydney. The four-manĀ  crew escaped in a lifeboat with two tins of turnips but no freshwater. Two months later, when they were rescued by a German ship, only three … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature, History | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Queen Mary’s House

In 1924, work was completed on a new house for Queen Mary, the grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. The four-storey Palladian villa was designed by one of Britain’s greatest architects, Sir Edwin Lutyens. He employed 200 craftsmen, 700 artists and … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature, History | Tagged

Words Without Meaning, Meaning Without Words

In 1987, Chinese artist Xu Bing began hand-carving woodblocks which he used to print scrolls and books using traditional Chinese methods. The four thousand blocks took four years to make. The printed material formed an installation known as A Book … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Heretics in Novgorod and the Lost Works of Archimedes

The Archimedes Palimpsest In the 1840s, Biblical scholar Constantine Tischendorf was examining an ancient codex at a Greek Orthodox monastery in Constantinople. The book contained a liturgical text written in 1229, but beneath the writing, Tischendorf noticed a second text, … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature, History | Tagged , ,

Graham Greene, Edward Lansdale and Audie Murphy

In Graham Greene’s 1955 novel, The Quiet American, the attempts of the idealistic Alden Pyle to clandestinely influence the course of the First Indochina War are viewed with increasing horror by the book’s main character, the cynical, older English journalist, … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature, History | Tagged , , , ,

Vampyres, Volcanoes and Byron

The current spate of vampire fiction is a continuation of the almost unabated popularity of the genre over recent decades. Much of the blame for this can be attributed to Lord Byron and a volcanic eruption in Indonesia almost two … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature | Tagged , , , , ,

The 27 Club and 9 Curzon Place

By dint of her age at the time of her death, Amy Winehouse joins an unusual group. The 27 Club refers to the large number of recent famous musicians who have died at the age of twenty-seven. The core group, … Continue reading

Posted in Art and Literature | Tagged , , , ,