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...

John Snagge, Wally Hope and the Counterculture

Nige on a legendary hippie and his surprising family connection... One of the more surprising facts about John Snagge, the old-school BBC radio announcer and boat race commentator ('I can't see who's in the lead, but it's either Oxford or Cambridge') is that he was the guardian of a legendary figure of ... Read More...

Cecil Beaton and the Baroness

When Steerforth came across the strange-looking autobiography by one Baroness Von Bülop, he was intrigued - especially as she seemed to have enlisted the celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton... One stormy afternoon, I came across an illustrated 1939 autobiography called 'My Royal Past', by Baroness Von Bülop: It didn't look terribly inspiring, but then I noticed ... Read More...

Aldous Huxley’s views on jazz

'A brimming bowl of hogwash': Aldous Huxley's views on jazz... It was the first time, I realised, that I had ever clearly seen a jazz-band. The spectacle was positively frightening… Oh, those mammy-songs, those love-longings, those loud hilarities! How was it possible that human emotions intrinsically decent could be so ignobly parodied? ... Read More...