A Brief History of Teeth in Art

From the Dabbler's rich archives, Toby Ferris examines the place of teeth in the art of fifteenth century Italy and Northern Europe... I have come to realise that if I am to make any real progress on my much anticipated, much delayed History of Whistling, I will first have to address ... Read More...

The Meaning of Size

Lost in reproduction: a tiny Venus meets a colossal Samson. I was recently in Frankfurt for a few hours and visited the Städel gallery, where I reacquainted myself with Lucas Cranach’s Venus (1532), the painting used as the poster image for the Royal Academy Cranach show of 2008. She is an unforgettable ... Read More...

Wagner and the Contraption

The unexpected pleasures of the technical glitch. 2013 is Richard Wagner’s bicentenary, and I notice there will be a concert performances of several of his operas at the Proms in July, including a complete Ring cycle. I’ve seen concert performances of Wagner before and they are exhilarating, effective, moving, what you will; ... Read More...

Bench Life

Prepare to be re-oriented - we welcome back the Atlas of Norbiton, which today maps out benches and their historical ramifications. Years ago when I was teaching English in Rome I had an American colleague – William Smith III of Colombia, South Carolina – who one month, with still some days ... Read More...

A Brief History of Teeth

In this bulletin from Norbiton, Toby examines the place of teeth in the art of fifteenth century Italy and Northern Europe... I have come to realise that if I am to make any real progress on my much anticipated, much delayed History of Whistling, I will first have to address the ... Read More...

The Norbiton Charabanc

The country house as shipwreck... The location of artworks around the world is a form of historical record. You could if you wished read the flows of trade and money and power and financial clout over the ages by studying the bills of sale of oil paintings, statuettes, antiquities, in much ... Read More...

Arrows of Norbiton

What does the flight of an arrow describe for us today? In my last post, speaking of horses, I concluded that we were losing a certain collective mental shape, and I now find the same to be true of the flight of an arrow. I was a spectator at the Olympic women’s ... Read More...