Category Archives: London

A Curious Herbal

In Modena recently, we were having a nice mooch round the Biblioteca Estense in the Palazzo dei Musei, which also houses the Galleria Estense, the Lapidario Romano, the Musei Civici di Modena, and several other collections. (A tasting session for … Continue reading

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First Catch Your Unicorn

After reading a depressing story about the number of songbirds illegally netted on the British RAF bases in Cyprus, in order to create a dish sanctified (as the hunters claim) by centuries of Cypriot ‘culture’, I was thinking back to … Continue reading

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In Chancery

Bleak House is my favourite Dickens novel. I don’t propose to defend the assertion now, but I mention it because recent rummagings in the library in which I spend my Friday mornings have brought to light a rather sad tale … Continue reading

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Westminster Bridge

I tend to ignore the porcelain gallery at the Fitzwilliam Museum, since, as I have mentioned before, I really don’t like the coy, arch, simpering, figurative pieces that populate so many of the shelves. A quick genuflect towards the bookcase … Continue reading

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Dr Ducarel Writes to Dr Watson

Whether history has been kind to Andrew Coltée Ducarel (1713–85) rather depends on which source you use. Francis Grose and Horace Walpole seem both to have loathed him (but didn’t the latter loathe almost everyone?). Others, including John Nichols, have … Continue reading

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Object of the Month: December

I bought a pack of these Christmas cards at the Fitzwilliam Museum shop a couple of weeks ago (don’t all rush, because sadly they are showing as out of stock on the website at the moment), partly because it’s a … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: November

I was parking my car outside a friend’s house in leafy western Cambridge when something squidged from above on to the bonnet and disintegrated most messily. I opened the car door and was assailed by a most appalling smell of … Continue reading

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