Tag: 19th century

Total 43 Posts

Selfridges, history and TV: a rant

In 2008, I reviewed Lindy Woodhead's book, Shopping, Seduction and Mr Selfridge. It was, by a long way, one of the worst books I had ever read: sloppy, repetitive, self-contradictory and filled with factual errors. It has, of course, now been made into a television 'period drama'. I reprint my… Read more

Swan Lake: Royal Ballet

The Royal Ballet’s autumn season began on Monday, but this was the eagerly awaited Swan Lake. Natalia Osipova, ex-Bolshoi, now principal with American Ballet Theater and the Mikhailovsky in St Petersburg, was making her debut as a guest with the Royal Ballet, partnered by Carlos Acosta. Osipova had, dramatically, left… Read more

William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

William Morris has been in and out of fashion so often that the sympathetic watcher can get whiplash following his reputation. Lauded by his contemporary, the great critic John Ruskin, by 1904 he was merely “a great man who somehow delighted in glaring wallpapers”. Yet Morris, the forerunner of the… Read more

Paul Thomas Murphy: Shooting Victoria

British television has a lot to answer for. From “Upstairs, Downstairs” to “Downton Abbey,” it has perpetrated an image of “historical” Britain as a country filled with a loved, even revered, upper class that gracefully patronizes the lower orders, who in turn are thrilled to roll over and have their… Read more

Clare Clark: Beautiful Lies

  Clare Clark has a well-deserved reputation for creating atmosphere. Her first novel, The Great Stink, was an evocative mélange of madness and mire, set in the London sewers in the 1860s. My favourite, The Nature of Monsters, encompassed more madness, as well as contemporary science and myth. These books… Read more