England, My England

Nige watches Tony Palmer's curious 1995 film about Henry Purcell and finds that the music triumphs over the clunking polemics... On Christmas Day in 1995, Channel 4's TV treat was a two and a half hour film about Henry Purcell (how times change!). I didn't watch England, My England at the ... Read More...

Methodism: A Common Cause of Lunacy

How Methodism leads to Bedlam...   misfortunes, troubles, disappointments, grief...206 family/heredity......................................................115 fevers......................................................................110 religion and methodism........................................90 childbed...................................................................79 love..........................................................................74 drink.........................................................................58 fright.........................................................................51 study.........................................................................90 These figures are for 'Lunacy by Cause' in a table published by the apothecary of the Bethlem Hospital (Bedlam) towards the end of the 18th century. I came across it in The Air Loom Gang, Mike Jay's fascinating study of the ... Read More...

Gustave Doré’s Inaccurate Victorian London

Nige on the French artist whose largely inaccurate drawings fixed an idea of Victorian London in the popular consciousness... The dark, dramatic engravings of Gustave Doré have done a lot to fix our image of Victorian London, in all its murky squalor. But (as I learnt from an informative footnote in Bill Bryson's ... Read More...

Boulevard du Temple, Paris, 1838

Today, a small Dabbler tribute to the endurance of Paris. Nige celebrates an extraordinary photograph... The Parisian street scene above dates from 1838, and was captured by Louis Daguerre, who was born this week (18 November) in 1787. Daguerre, who achieved worldwide fame with his Daguerrotype process, began his photographic researches with ... Read More...

Beverley Nichols: Mostly whimsical

Some pretty twee writing on a wall prods Nige's memory of a once-famous author... Quotations have their uses. Without them, according to Wodehouse, any conversation between chaps would be nothing but an endless succession of 'What ho's. Oddly, these days, they are increasingly becoming an element of interior design, gracing the ... Read More...