Category Archives: History

Object of the Month: September 2017

Now that I spend part of my time in a museum (tough gig, but somebody has to do it), I am getting quite good at pausing mid-stride and staring without actually falling over or causing anyone else to fall over. … Continue reading

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Torcello

Assuming anyone can be bothered to make the trip, I think I’d like my ashes scattered at the Secret Cat Place on Torcello. Though alas, even Torcello is going a bit downhill, since today, for the first time ever, there … Continue reading

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Robert Harrild and Sons

Just as everything is connected to everything else, so one thing leads to another. I was leafing through an ancient copy of Country Life in the doctor’s waiting room the other day, and was electrified to see a photograph of … Continue reading

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St Antholin’s

4 September 1666 is generally reckoned to have been the most destructive day of the Great Fire of London, during which large amounts of the city on the north bank of the Thames were razed to the ground. The lost … Continue reading

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Father of the More Famous

I’m currently reading a book about Sir Joseph Banks as an Enlightenment figure (yes, I probably should get out more), and was struck by this quotation: ‘Mann [the Abbé Mann (1735–1809), a Yorkshire Catholic convert and savant who became a … Continue reading

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The Unusual Grand Tour of Sir J.E. Smith

Although, in my previous existence, I had been involved in reissuing the hagiographic two-volume ‘life and letters’ of Sir J.E. Smith (1759–1828), founding president of the Linnean Society, written by his delightfully named widow, Pleasance, I did not actually read … Continue reading

Posted in Biography, Botany, France, Gardens, History, Italy, Natural history, Printing and Publishing | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Plant of the Month: August 2017

Quasi-familial motives led the Hedgehog ménage to Thessaloniki recently, and a jolly time was had by all, in spite of 40 degrees C, 98% humidity, and the overwhelming nature of Greek hospitality. We had time for a little light sightseeing; … Continue reading

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