Category Archives: Natural history

Pills

An appurtenance of any self-respecting apothecary’s shop was, it seems, a pill-tile. Made of pottery, and sometime lavishly decorated like that other essential, the pharmacy jar, it provided a flat, smooth surface on which to roll pills. The Fitzwilliam Museum … Continue reading

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The Immortal Peacock

I first saw a real live peacock when I was quite young, in Victoria Park in the city where I was brought up. An area of grass and trees very close to the railway station, and therefore – in the … Continue reading

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A Secret Garden

Of course, a great many gardens in Venice are secret – that is, invisible to the normal passer-by in the calle. But the garden of Palazzo Soranzo Cappello is probably the most famous secret garden in the city (with the … Continue reading

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Anon.

I just made it to ‘Artist: Unknown: Art and Artefacts from the University of Cambridge Museums and Collections’, the current exhibition at Kettle’s Yard. (It continues until 22 September, but the Hedgehog ménage will be away – Venice, since you … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: August 2019

Passiflora, the passion flower, is – perhaps unsurprisingly – a genus in the family Passifloraceae, which is itself part of the enormously varied order of Malpighiales, which includes everything from the willow to the violet by way of poinsettias. The … Continue reading

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Plant of the Month: July 2019

The nasturtium (occasionally nasturtian, or, if you are an A.A. Milne fan, mastershalum) is one of those plants which it is quite easy to overlook for their ubiquitous familiarity. Simple to grow (and to regrow if you save the seeds), … Continue reading

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Popinjays

I didn’t mention that at Niguliste, there is also a collection of silver objects, many of them formerly owned by the various guilds of Tallinn. By far (in my view) the most attractive of these items is a popinjay, made … Continue reading

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