The Good Intentions of Lady Mico

Fate, in the form of a house move, has brought the grand-daughter (and her parents, naturally) to another neck of the London woods, which I look forward to exploring on those occasions when grandmotherly duties take me down. My first discovery, in the course of the move (which resulted in a terrifying tower of flattened-out cardboard boxes and even more terrifying sackfuls of bubblewrap irretrievably stuck down to packing tape) was on the way to the Stepney City Farm, a place already appreciated by me and my Lovely Companion, but now much closer. Continue reading

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The Bells, the Bells …

As the website of Save Venice, Inc. tells us: ‘Venetian noble Pietro Gradenigo (1695–1776) commissioned Giovanni Grevembroch, a Venetian artist of German descent, to record Venetian clothing, artworks, occupations, collections, buidlings and daily life through a series of watercolor drawings bound into volumes. In 1879 the Gradenigo family donated the Grevembroch volumes to the Correr Museum, where they continue to be studied. They continue to be a valuable source for scholars today, as well as of great interest to the general public for the glimpse into Venetian life that they provide.’ Continue reading

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The Chelsea Physic Garden

Well, I made it to the one-day exhibition on Philip Miller at the Chelsea Physic Garden, and it rained only at the end of our stroll around, and then not much. We were greeted at the entrance by welcoming staff, and the Miller Stuff in the Education Room was being guarded by genial and hugely knowledgeable people both from the Physic Garden archives and from the Natural History Museum. Continue reading

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Fool’s Gold

The other day, I came across the name of Giambattista Angello, described as a Venetian alchemist in London. Always keen to follow the path of the legendary all-purpose cure, theriaca, around Europe, I pursued him, though I was slightly puzzled by the spelling of his surname, with two ells. But then I found him as John Baptista Lambye, and the light dawned: Angello is a mis- (or alternate) spelling of ‘agnello’, ‘lamb’. And he appears not to have been a treacle-pedlar, but more on the inorganic side of alchemy – and, by accident or design, the instigator of what must have been one of the most expensive wild-goose-chases of all time. Continue reading

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When It’s Gone, It’s Gone …

I was slightly disconcerted to note that a small new display which opened yesterday at the Fitzwilliam Museum is available only until 22 April; and even more so that an exhibition opening at the Chelsea Physic Garden on 15 April will also close on 15 April. From pop-up boutiques and restaurants to pop-up museums? Continue reading

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Memos to Self …

A blissful afternoon in the garden today. Sun! Warmth! Ladybirds! Tulips! Robins! But after five hours of stern effort, I feel the need to set down a few reminders to myself, some of which may possibly be of more general application. Continue reading

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Hans Hoffmann

One of the benign prerogatives of the University of Cambridge is that department and faculty librarians needing to de-access duplicate or redundant books are required to offer them first to the University Library, then to other department libraries. What is left after this process is often offered to staff on a first-come, first-served basis, and thus it was that, a few days ago, I first heard of Hans Hoffmann. Continue reading

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