Lord Berners – The man who left Lesbos

Steerforth remembers one of the more flamboyant dabblers of the 20th century... One of the most colourful and unjustly forgotten characters of the last century is Lord Berners. Born Gerald Hugh Tyrwhitt-Wilson in 1883, Berners went to Eton and worked as a diplomat until he inherited his title. For the remainder of ... Read More...

Christopher Lee and The Benefits of Being Undead

Gaw uncovers one of the secrets of a good obit: stick around, keep working... Christopher Lee died a knight, lauded for a film career that extended from propping up a very poorly British industry to featuring in some of the most profitable film franchises in Hollywood history. I don't want to knock ... Read More...

Carl Larsson – More than Swedish charm

Nige appraises Swedish artist Carl Larsson, who along with his wife Karin virtually invented the 'Ikea' style... Born on this day in 1853 was the Swedish painter Carl Larsson. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this supreme master of the blissful, love-infused domestic interior (and exterior) and celebrator of ... Read More...

Tarka the Rotter

He wrote animal stories of exquisite prose, yet Henry Williamson ended up as an overt, unapologetic Nazi. In this Dabbler classic, Jonathan Law looks at the good and the (alarmingly) bad sides of the author of Tarka the Otter... If we’re honest, most of us have at least one friend that we ... Read More...

Forgotten authors: Warwick Deeping

Steerforth discovers Warwick Deeping, once a prolific writer of bestsellers, now all but forgotten (and in this case, perhaps deservedly so)... In his wonderful essay Bookshop Memories, Orwell lamented that the authors who were most popular with his customers were Ethel M Dell and Warwick Deeping. I didn't recognise the first ... Read More...

Adrian Carton de Wiart: Happy Odyssey

Gaw pays tribute to one of the most remarkable soldiers this country has produced... Adrian Carton de Wiart's soldiering career extended from Boer to Second World Wars, taking in many events of large historical importance. He was usually to be found in the thick of the action, winning a VC during the ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – A History of Failure

‘I hate Cleopatra!’ says the precocious student and mathematical genius Thomasina Coverly in the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard. She goes on to explain: The Egyptian noodle made carnal embrace with the enemy who burned the great library of Alexandria without so much as a fine for all that is overdue. Oh, ... Read More...

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

Susan Muncey reviews the major Alexander McQueen retrospective at the V&A and marvels at the late designer's constant creativity... Commercial yet contrarian, Lee Alexander McQueen CBE (17 March 1969 – 11 February 2010) inhabited a parallel world to most of those around him. Being so rapidly catapulted from council house kid to multi-millionaire couturier ... Read More...