Category Archives: Venice

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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Object of the Month: January 2017

If ever I were to take up collecting as a serious pastime (as distinct from the random acquisition of books, plants and balls of wool), I think I would go for Italian maiolica pharmacy jars. (The sine qua non, of … Continue reading

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Object Of The Month: November

In the Western Christian churches, Advent is the period of four weeks (or so) before Christmas Day, beginning on the Sunday closest to the feast of St Andrew on 30 November. This year it falls on 27 November, and may … Continue reading

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The Extraordinary Lusignans

I haven’t read or watched Game of Thrones, but, from what I gather, the story of how the obscure Lusignan family, minor nobility from Poitou in France, ended up as kings of Jerusalem, Armenia and Cyprus would fit in quite … Continue reading

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Messing About In Boats

The origins of the Regata Storica in Venice are unclear. One version is that it commemorates the occasion on which twelve poor but honest and beautiful girls, who had been given dowries by the state and were about to be … Continue reading

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Plantin and Moretus

Not quite a Proustian moment, as no madeleines were dunked in lime-flower tea, but the other day a friend with unexpected time on his hands in Belgium enquired of the world via Twitter what was interesting in Antwerp. Immediately, I … Continue reading

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Bambini

Anyone who spends any time mooching around art galleries cannot fail to be struck by the quite remarkable ugliness of many infant Jesuses. I’m not talking about the extreme stylisation – derived from the Byzantine tradition – of Virgin and … Continue reading

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