Marianne North – Globetrotting Flower-painter

Nige pays tribute to the extraordinary Victorian spinster, globetrotter, botanist, artist and 'very wild bird', Marianne North... Tomorrow marks the birthday of the brilliant flower painter and tireless traveller Marianne North (born 1830), who, even by the standards of intrepid, globetrotting Victorian spinsters, was pretty extraordinary. In an age before jet ... Read More...

Achievement Gaps

Ever tried to write a novel that wasn't worthless? Douglas considers talent, mediocrity, the limits of creativity and the art of appreciation... In A Mathematician’s Apology G.H. Hardy estimates that only five or ten people in a hundred can do something “rather well.” Considerably fewer are truly gifted. We do not each have ... Read More...

A Trip to Dieppe

Nige visits the French town of Dieppe, once home to Oscar Wilde, Frits Thaulow and a society of Anglophile artists... About this time last year I headed for Dieppe to spend a few days as a summer flaneur, a thoroughly restorative trip. Dieppe retains its unique, slightly faded charm, and its ... Read More...

Stonehenge and British art

Visiting Stonehenge this half-term? Here's Alexandra Harris' post on its influence on British culture, from Turner to Hepworth... Stonehenge is a good example of how a particular landmark in the English countryside could inspire different kinds of appreciation. Its image was particularly potent because it signified strength and endurance while at ... Read More...

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...

Still Life: Objects and Initimacy

Nige reflects on the power and meaning of still life painting, in the light of a book by American poet Mark Doty... Still Life with Oysters and Lemon is the title of a painting by Jan Davidsz de Heem (above)  that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New  York - or ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – Flying Low

‘One adult for The Hobbit in 3D, please,” I said, thus setting the bar pretty high for the Saddest Thing Uttered in 2014 contest. It can’t be helped: a residue of youthful Tolkein geekdom means that a part of me will always yearn for the world of dragons and pointy-eared ... Read More...

Three Paintings… in Sound

An audio-visual treat for you this Sunday, as Mahlerman brings you three pieces of music inspired by great paintings... Musical inspiration is, like mercury, almost impossible to grasp.  It can arrive, as many believe it did to a certain WA Mozart, in a 'lightbulb moment' as if from God, and the ... Read More...