Category Archives: Biography

The Loss of the ‘Royal George’

Was Proust the first or merely the best to describe the extraordinary moment when a completely forgotten incident in your life rises fully formed in your memory? In my most recent incident, it was a phone call at work about … Continue reading

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Allegorical Tombs

… are apparently a Thing, and one which I have come across twice in as many days in Venice, though they seem to owe their origin to one Owen Swiny (MacSwiny, McSweeny, MacSwiney, McSwiny, and other variants), of Enniscorthy in … Continue reading

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A Life in Footnotes

I mentioned some time ago that I was going to investigate (at my usual superficial level, naturally) the life and career of the physician Francesco Travagino (sometimes Travagini), who appears to have taken advantage of a space on somebody else’s … Continue reading

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The Charterhouse

Another real bargain in London … Last week I took a tour of the Charterhouse. In my case it was organised by the Friends of Strawberry Hill, but you can book online yourself. I was escorted there by kind relatives … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: March 2019

As I have mentioned in passing before, the botanist Pierre Magnol (1638–1715) was born in Montpellier, and spent most of his life there. His father and grandfather were apothecaries, and his mother’s male relatives were physicians. His older brother César … Continue reading

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Ruskin at Two Hundred

To London last week for a few days of Culture. I decided to go down the night before my first assignation, rather than turn up at Two Temple Place (which does not have cloakroom facilities) with two stuffed gorillas and … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: February 2019

I first came across William de Morgan in the second-hand bookshop in the stables at Wimpole Hall, an alarming number of years ago. His novel, Alice-for-Short (published 1907), was available for 50p, and I availed myself, drawn mostly by the … Continue reading

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