Category Archives: France

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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Object of the Month: March 2019

May I strongly recommend the new exhibition in the Fan Gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum (it’s on until January 2020, so you have plenty of time)? It is a selection of the fan collection of the Hon. Christopher Lennox-Boyd, given … 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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The Artichoke

I have been to Strawberry Hill twice now, and on both occasions the weather was foul. Luckily, the house is well signposted from the station, and barely five minutes’ walk away, but I really must try and get myself over … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: August 2018

This month, I give you Gladiolus murielae, for no better reason (or, in my opinion, the extremely cogent reason) that I have, after several years of trying, actually got it to flower this year! Admittedly, one flower and one bud … Continue reading

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Doomed to Find a Premature Grave

These portentous words appear in the introduction to the 1834 English edition of Letters from India by the French natural historian Victor Jacquemont (1801–32), ‘Travelling Naturalist to the Museum of Natural History, Paris’. If his name is remembered now in … Continue reading

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(Yet) Another Artist Of Whom I’d Never Heard

Well, had you (assuming, of course, that you are not an expert in eighteenth-century French flower paintings) heard of Gerard van Spaendonck? You will gather from his name that he was not French – he was born in 1746, in … Continue reading

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