Rosemary Hill

Rosemary Hill’s most recent book is Time’s Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism. Her four-part series, The Lives of Stonehenge, can be found on the LRB Podcast. She is a contributing editor at the LRB. Having dismissed Constable, she is still pondering the subject of her next book.

For those of us who had not grown up in houses where there were grand pianos or interesting pebbles thoughtfully arranged to catch the light, Kettle’s Yard was an introduction not only to the work of particular painters and sculptors but an experience in itself, an idea about what art and life could be. 

Coiling in Anarchy: Top of the Lighthouse

Rosemary Hill, 16 February 2023

As an enigmatic symbol, the lighthouse has long held an imaginative appeal. The Pharos at Alexandria was remarkable among secular buildings, E.M. Forster wrote, in having ‘taken on a spiritual life of its own’, being, in effect, worshipped, so that ‘long after its light was extinguished, memories of it glowed in the minds of men.’ A secular age still feels a need for the light that shines in the darkness and for comfort in places of danger.

Spaghetti Whiplash: On the Menu

Rosemary Hill, 17 November 2022

One of​ the more depressing aspects of the post-lockdown ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ phase was the abolition of the menu. On the dubious premise that handling them might transmit infection, menus were replaced, especially in pubs, by a QR code bathetically sellotaped to the table. Thus was lost a little more of the pleasure, the ceremony and the novelty of being catered for, and a...

From The Blog
27 October 2022

The first time I remember meeting Carmen was at a London Review Christmas party. She came up to me and said: ‘You’re marvellous darling, you understand irony.’ I’m not sure whether she actually poked me in the chest but I felt as if she had. Then she moved off without further comment.

At the Musée de Cluny

Rosemary Hill, 20 October 2022

The sisters ​ of artists are doomed to bear the brunt of their brothers’ disappointments, or so Balzac’s struggling poet Lucien tells his sister, Eve, at the start of a long letter home listing his difficulties. Having come to Paris to seek love and fame he has found neither. He is broke and has had to take a furnished room in the Hôtel de Cluny, a derelict...

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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