Almost Human

In today's Dabbler Verse feature, Stephen considers self-awareness, and introduces a poem by C. Day Lewis... Is it possible to look at yourself objectively?  To see yourself for who you are?  Speaking for myself, I have my doubts.  Still, I like to think that I am more optimistic about the possibility ... Read More...

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...

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 – The Shoreditch Iago

Waking before dawn I first reached for my phone to check on England’s latest reassuringly routine cricket thrashing by Australia, then groaned out of bed to descend and in the kitchen force tea and toast into unwelcoming guts. Twice since the last diary I have had long work days in ... 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...

Flaming June

Nige reflects on the enduring appeal of a high Victorian painting... 'Flaming June eh?' we sigh, and roll our eyes, as the rain siles down relentlessly, the cold wind blows, and temperatures struggle to stay in double figures (in the new money). And so, unwittingly, we keep alive the name of the ... Read More...

John Linnell – Kensington Gravel Pits

Nige reflects on a precocious talent, and his disappointing son-in-law... I was up at Tate Britain, mooching among the rehung Romantics, when this very accomplished oil painting caught my eye. Its subject is Kensington Gravel Pits, and it was painted in 1811/12 - when Kensington was still a village surrounded by ... Read More...