Richard Barnett

Richard Barnett is the author of The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration.

The Greatest Geek: Nikola Tesla

Richard Barnett, 5 February 2015

Over six feet tall​ and thin as wire, with Slavic cheekbones and a ‘Wild West moustache’, Nikola Tesla combined confidence and charisma with a gift for big tech, electro-prophecy and bullshit. He was a near perfect Thomas Pynchon character, and his cameo appearance in Pynchon’s Against the Day in 2006 confirmed his status as a counter-cultural hero. Pynchon’s Tesla...

The Immortal Coil: Faraday’s Letters

Richard Barnett, 21 March 2013

In the summer of 1831, James Woods, master of St John’s College, Cambridge, and Wordsworth’s former tutor, decided that his college should have a portrait of its most celebrated living alumnus. He commissioned Henry William Pickersgill – an apprentice Spitalfields silk-weaver turned Royal Academician – to produce a full-length oil painting of Wordsworth in an...

‘Many​ dentists,’ my mother once portentously remarked, ‘are thwarted sculptors.’ No doubt she herself had experienced their creative frustration – and painfully...

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