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As God Intended

Rosemary Hill: Capability Brown

5 January 2012
The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown​ 1716-83 
by Jane Brown.
Chatto, 384 pp., £20, March 2011, 978 0 7011 8212 0
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... the House would not be better Higher Up … consult about Water in the park … which kind of Evergreens for the W Front?’ These were the questions he intended to put to Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, then at the peak of his career as the most famous and sought after landscape designer of the day, who had been booked to make an inspection of Burton Constable and give his opinion of its ...

Unruly Sweet Peas

Alison Light: Working-Class Gardens

18 December 2014
The Gardens of the British Working Class 
by Margaret Willes.
Yale, 413 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 0 300 18784 7
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... design and management of the grounds, their landed owners and specialist plantsmen. In the last twenty or thirty years, this has changed. ‘Garden history has been overly aristocratic,’ declared JaneBrown, whose Pursuit of Paradise (1999) proposed a social history of gardening that could be both ‘popular and nostalgic’. She took her inspiration from G.M. Trevelyan’s English Social History ...

At the Courtauld

Peter Campbell: Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane​ Avril

8 September 2011
... artists tried running with them. Of those who wanted to get their teeth into it Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was among the best. His painter/illustrator bilingualism is relevant to Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril, the exhibition the Courtauld has built round a picture from its own collection. (The exhibition closes on 18 September.) The same subject is shown in both portrait and poster modes. The ...

Doing the bores

Rosemary Ashton

21 March 1991
The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane​ Welsh Carlyle, Duke–Edinburgh Edition. Vols XVI-XVIII: 1843-4 
edited by Clyde Ryals and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 331 pp., £35.65, July 1990, 9780822309192
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... There will be many more years –and many more volumes – before the Carlyles’ Collected Letters are brought to completion. Twenty-two more years of Jane Carlyle’s long, witty, sharp, self-dramatising yet oddly attractive litanies about the obstinacy of servants, her husband’s indifference to her, and the annoyances of her lot as a ‘Lion’s ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine

21 January 1982
Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... sustained inventiveness and unfailing exuberance overwhelm, intimidate and demand admiration. Not surprisingly, the catalogue commentary requires the combined efforts of Colin Amery, Mary Lutyens, JaneBrown, John Cornforth, Gavin Stamp and John Summerson to do justice to an architect whose career, in its range, dimensions and achievements, outshines Wren, Vanbrugh and the Adam brothers. Cloud-capp ...


Zvi Jagendorf: In Jerusalem

7 March 1991
... to pull out of one’s throat if one’s hypersensitive ears are ferociously scanning all sounds for symptoms of wailing. The trouble is that the radio is always on, even while we are reading about Jane Fairfax’s pianoforte, so that the hard electronic pips of the news and the drone of undefined voices impose a nervous, irregular punctuation upon the rational grace and subtle poise of Jane Austen ...

Two Stories

Diane Williams

13 September 2018
... With this New Greasiness One of them breaks the routine at the office usually – mouths off or is sullen, every once in a while. The man said, ‘You know why I’m here, Jane.’ Jane grabbed at the man where some soft flesh is, with some force, perhaps because so many persons were no longer in her life – not Titus or Roddy, Mamie or Cecelia Bouché – whom she had checked in ...
23 May 1996
After Tylor: British Social Anthropology 1888-1951 
by George Stocking.
Athlone, 570 pp., £50, January 1996, 0 485 30072 9
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... the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton: my project was a biography of J.G. Frazer. At Columbia I had written a dissertation on the literary-critical legacy of the ‘Cambridge Ritualists’ (Jane Ellen Harrison, F.M. Cornford, Gilbert Murray and A.B. Cook, turn-of-the-century classicists who had written on the connection between Greek myth and ritual and the origins of drama), and had then ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig

20 June 1985
Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane​ Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane​ Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... biography, fiction and all inform that eccentric piece of writing). These, at best, are neither extensions nor offshoots, but playful and original tributes to the work that’s set them off. With Jane Gardam’s latest novel the background book, and enriching ingredient, is Robinson Crusoe. Mrs Gardam is not new to the practice. The Summer after the Funeral (1973) has a heroine (aged 16 – it’s ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting

1 January 1998
Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane​ Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... in front of them our eyes are educated to overlook. It is wrong to attribute the crowded episodes exclusively to Dadd’s madness, for the compositional congestion is not so different from Ford Madox Brown’s Work, and may perhaps also be compared to Dickens’s plots. A more important influence than photography, generally speaking, was that of book illustration, in which almost all the painters of ...

Fie On’t!

James Buchan

23 March 1995
The Oxford Book of Money 
edited by Kevin Jackson.
Oxford, 479 pp., £17.99, February 1995, 0 19 214200 3
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... On 24 January, a Tuesday, Mr Cedric Brown, chief executive of British Gas, testified before the House of Commons Committee on Employment on the subject of his pay, which is £475,000 a year. In the course of a brisk and competitive exchange ...

Throw it out the window

Bee Wilson: Lady Constance Lytton

15 July 2015
Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr 
by Lyndsey Jenkins.
Biteback, 282 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 1 84954 795 6
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... and starved herself. She may not have been a charismatic leader in the Pankhurst mould, but she provided the movement with one of its boldest acts when she had herself arrested disguised as ‘Jane Warton’, a working-class woman, to expose the government’s double standards. Earlier accounts of Constance’s life have claimed that she was interested in prison reform long before she became a ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ruin Lust’

2 April 2014
... recur with changes rung on them according to the artists’ tastes and abilities. Francis Towne’s Netley Abbey has the crisp immediacy of a stage set while in the hands of Samuel Prout it is cosily brown and crumbly, accoutred with cows. Cotman’s Crowland hangs in watery mist. Like Turner in his detail of a massive Norman column from Holy Island suspended in a tiny sketch, Cotman could conjure up ...

Can’t hear, speak up!

Joanna Biggs: 'I'm a narcissist and so is Ben Lerner'

25 November 2019
The Topeka School 
by Ben Lerner.
Granta, 304 pp., £16.99, November, 978 1 78378 572 8
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... writing and low living; but it wasn’t always easy being in Adam’s company. (Between that novel and The Topeka School, Lerner the writer – born in Topeka, school debating champion, graduate of Brown, Fulbright fellow in Madrid, now poet and novelist, resident in Brooklyn and married with two girls – has received a Guggenheim fellowship and a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant; when early copies of ...
9 May 2002
... I denied my father three times, but he only died once. The Obituaries Editor of the Times was responsible for my first denial. I was living in London with my wife, Jane Sheridan, and things were not going well. At University College, where I was teaching philosophy, I had become one of those figures whom students romanticise and sometimes pity. I didn’t have the ...

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