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.

From The Blog
18 March 2015

Battersea Arts Centre, badly damaged by a fire last Friday, started life as the town hall. In the spirit of late Victorian civic pride and aspiration, the capacious porch is decorated with figures representing Labour, Progress, Art and Literature instructing the infant Battersea, who looks remarkably confident about the likely benefits coming his way. Built in 1892-93 to the designs of E.W. Mountford (the architect of the Old Bailey), the imposing exterior anticipates Edwardian Baroque while the interior is tinged with the dawning of art nouveau, most strikingly in the great coloured glass dome, painted with tendrils of golden foliage, like a giant Tiffany lampshade.

From The Blog
10 November 2014

Chris Larner’s comedy The Frida Kahlo of Penge West had its first performance last June at the Rosemary Branch Theatre in Islington, where the mere mention of Penge no doubt guaranteed a quick, if cheap laugh. All the braver of him then to take the play into the lion’s mouth by putting it on at the Bridge House Theatre in Penge High Street, that defiantly hipster-free part of southeast London where, as one of his characters puts it, ‘London was sick over Kent.’

From The Blog
13 November 2013

There is nothing obviously odd about the generic military-man-on-a-horse partly visible through the nearly leafless trees in Cavendish Square. He is William, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65), and the plinth would lead you to believe his statue has been there since 1770. It hasn’t.

From The Blog
23 July 2013

On Sunday I went to my first Prom of the season. Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto, Shostakovich's 10th Symphony and 'Magiya', a new piece co-commissioned by the BBC from Sean Shepherd. This last was the programmers' equivalent of cod liver oil, the bit they put in every concert to keep you in touch with new work, which is Good For You and must be taken along with the cake and jam.

From The Blog
31 December 2012

Critics have not been kind to Viva Forever!, the musical based on the story of the Spice Girls, but as Alexis Petridis pointed out in the Guardian, that doesn’t really matter. It is ‘critic-proof’, and nobody in the audience three nights ago looked as if they would care what Michael Billington thought, even if they knew who he was. I went with three friends as much inclined as I am to over-think popular culture, in the hope of a night off for our critical faculties, and very successful it was too. Yes the plot is slight and implausible, the characters are indeed over-drawn to the point of caricature and the music is patchy, but you could say the same about a lot of Verdi. As a pop Christmas panto it works very well.

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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