Rosemary Hill

Rosemary Hill’s most recent book is Time’s Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism. Her four-part series, Romantic History, can be found on the LRB Podcast. She is a contributing editor at the LRB.

Diary: At Mars Avenue

Rosemary Hill, 26 May 2022

In January​, when the 1921 census became available, I decided to look for my father. He was six months old in the summer the census was taken and children are usually easy to find in the records. They don’t move independently and rarely change their names. I didn’t expect much from the search because I already knew where he was born, but it was an excuse to play with a new...

Dining Room Radicals

Rosemary Hill, 7 April 2022

Joseph Johnson​ was fourteen when he arrived in London from Everton, Lancashire in 1753. He came to be apprenticed to George Keith, a bookseller in Gracechurch Street in the City. This was Hogarth’s London, a scene of dirty streets and dark alleys in which impressionable young people were met off the coach by an expectant crowd of brothel keepers, cutpurses and card sharps. The...

In His White Uniform: Accidental Gods

Rosemary Hill, 10 February 2022

Apotheosis​ can happen to anyone, although in the case of women it is rare. Men, however, are deified with astonishing frequency and their reactions range from bewildered irritation to dismay. While the idea of being godlike may be attractive, being an actual god is less so. One is at the mercy of one’s worshippers, who tend to be demanding, dictatorial and impossible to shake off....

‘Abroad … is it worth the trouble of getting there?’ So begins Rose Macaulay’s alphabetical journey through the mixed pleasures of existence. First published in 1935, this reissue comes at a moment when Abroad is once again hedged about with difficulty. The bureaucratic obstacles ‘that crouch and snarl before you’ like dragons no longer include...

‘Hotel by the Sea’ (1946)

Three women,​ all in their way members of the higher bohemia, were having lunch in a London restaurant. Agnes Magruder was a grand Bostonian, ‘a character from a Henry James novel’ according to her daughter. She was known as ‘Magouche’, the name given her by the painter Arshile Gorky, with whom she had a turbulent marriage...

Leave me my illusions: Antiquarianism

Nicholas Penny, 29 July 2021

Moonlight on broken stone tracery is a common motif; dark interiors provide a foil for stained glass and for white satin and deep blue velvet. The men must be away on the crusades. Young women are sobbing...

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Very Pointed: Pugin

Dinah Birch, 20 September 2007

Modern lives look prim beside the turbulent existence of Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin. Distractions and misfortunes proliferated throughout his career: shipwreck (he was in his own boat,...

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