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18 March 1982
The Meanings of Modern Art 
by John Russell.
Thames and Hudson, 429 pp., £18, October 1981, 0 500 27248 4
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The Oxford Companion to 20th-Century Art 
edited by Harold Osborne.
Oxford, 656 pp., £19.50, November 1981, 0 19 866119 3
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Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years 
by Robert Hobbs and Gail Levin.
Cornell, 137 pp., £17.50, November 1981, 0 8014 1365 6
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... and the many lesser eddies all conscientiously described by Harold Osborne) is no more useful as a term than Romanticism or Classicism have been in helping us to understand the art of the past. JohnRussell, meantime, in his new book, Meanings of Modern Art, is a little bolder. He begins conventionally enough with Manet and the 1860s, but, unlike the formalists who also took this line when formalism was ...

I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth: ‘Brief Lives’

7 October 2015
‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ 
by John​ Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett.
Oxford, 1968 pp., £250, March 2015, 978 0 19 968953 8
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John​ Aubrey: My Own Life 
by Ruth Scurr.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 0 7011 7907 6
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... A friend​ who teaches in New York told me that the historian Peter Lake told him that J.G.A. Pocock told him that Conrad Russell told him that Bertrand Russell told him that Lord JohnRussell told him that his father the sixth Duke of Bedford told him that he had heard William Pitt the Younger speak in Parliament during the Napoleonic Wars, and that Pitt had this curious way of talking, a ...
8 November 2018
... had a better view of French troop positions outside Verdun. ‘Do something beautiful,’ Paul Cret, chair of the steering group of the American Battle Monuments Committee, told the architect, JohnRussell Pope, in 1925: ‘This is the most important monument and for this reason it has been entrusted to you.’ Pope was one of the most successful and visible American architects of the era – he ...

Royal Panic Attack

Colin Kidd: James VI and I

16 June 2011
King James VI and I and His English Parliaments 
by Conrad Russell, edited by Richard Cust and Andrew Thrush.
Oxford, 195 pp., £55, February 2011, 978 0 19 820506 7
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... autodidacts, knitters and servants have all emerged from the shadows of neglect and condescension. In the midst of this historical revolution the career of the parliamentary historian Conrad Russell, whose first book was published in 1971 and who died in 2004, seemed like a fantastical conceit on the unfashionable notion of ‘history from above’. Certainly, the bald facts of the case suggest ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... in Government. This may indicate the administrative path to editorial favour, for A.V. Dicey’s academic writings on the 19th century state are rewarded with an entry of nine lines, the same as Lord JohnRussell who was merely in office at the time. This is three lines less than Bonar Law, dubbed by Asquith as the unknown prime minister, which proportionately must make Russell practically unheard-of ...
28 May 1992
The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell. Vol. I: The Private Years, 1884-1914 
edited by Nicholas Griffin.
Allen Lane, 553 pp., £25, March 1992, 0 7139 9023 6
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... Bertrand Russell has been dead for twenty years, but his ability to arouse strong emotions seems undiminished. The Economist’s reviewer of these letters – perhaps carried away by pre-election anxiety – offered ...

At the RA

John-Paul Stonard: Anselm Kiefer

6 November 2014
... with words, annotate the stack in terms of the strata of geological eras. At first it seems to be a monument to art’s failure in the face of history, or an attempt to escape history. The critic JohnRussell saw an earlier form of the work, titled Twenty Years of Solitude (1971-91) as a ‘portrait of the artist as Atlas, bearing upon his shoulders a whole world in epitome’. But despite this ...

Feigning a Relish

Nicholas Penny: One Tate or Two

15 October 1998
The Tate: A History 
by Frances Spalding.
Tate Gallery, 308 pp., £25, April 1998, 1 85437 231 9
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... but took on a North American look. The dust-jacket shows the austere lonic Portland stone sculpture hall. Spalding observes, justly, that by insisting on the intervention of the American architect JohnRussell Pope in 1929 the sponsor, Lord Duveen of Millbank, was promoting, against the inclinations of British curators and civil servants, the ‘latest American style’, the style of the new ...

In the dark

Philip Horne

1 December 1983
The Life of Alfred Hitchcock: The Dark Side of Genius 
by Donald Spoto.
Collins, 594 pp., £12.95, May 1983, 0 00 216352 7
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Howard Hawks, Storyteller 
by Gerald Mast.
Oxford, 406 pp., £16.50, June 1983, 0 19 503091 5
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... was aware that his morbid representations made him vulnerable to misrepresentation: ‘A lot of people think I’m a monster.’ The biography he authorised and checked – Hitch by his friend JohnRussell Taylor – appeared two years before his death on 29 April 1980 to contradict this idea, and, for all its blandness and sparseness of reference, brought much information to light. Its blurb called it ...
19 November 1992
... the subsequent formation of the Liberal Party, though it took twenty years of faltering manoeuvres to accomplish, entailed a Parliamentary union between Peelites like Gladstone and Whigs like Lord JohnRussell. The Gladstonian Liberal Party, which was to dominate Victorian politics, was conceived in the Ayes lobby that night in 1846: it was their baby. When the baby grew up, it duly encountered its ...

In Russell​ Square

Peter Campbell: Exploring Bloomsbury

30 November 2006
... In the north-west corner of Russell Square, on an extension to the School of Oriental and African Studies, a neatly lettered stone plaque attached to a nicely detailed brown brick wall reads: THE UNIVERSITY OF LONDON HEREBY RECORDS ...

Mere Party

Robert Stewart

22 January 1987
Pillars of Government, and Other Essays on State and Society c.1770-c.1880 
by Norman Gash.
Arnold, 202 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 7131 6463 8
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Sir Robert Peel: The Life of Sir Robert Peel after 1830 
by Norman Gash.
Longman, 745 pp., £12.50, July 1986, 0 582 49722 1
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... a Tory cast of mind. It would, of course, be entirely wrong to regard Gash, Tory or not, as a narrow historian. His notions of history-writing may not accommodate the wilder ambitions of Whigs like John Morley, who said that ‘the history of England ought to end with something that might be called a moral,’ or Professor Seeley, whose Expansion of England, invigorating though it is, gave ample ...

He fights with flashing weapons

Katherine Rundell: Thomas Wyatt

6 December 2012
Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest 
by Susan Brigden.
Faber, 714 pp., £30, September 2012, 978 0 571 23584 1
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Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy 
by Nicola Shulman.
Short Books, 378 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 1 906021 11 5
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... poetry. As Shulman puts it, until Wyatt, the vernacular was seen as ‘a shaggy and hopalong means of expression’. Now English poetry, dormant since Chaucer and Lydgate, got to its feet and sang. John Leland, a friend of Wyatt’s youth, later wrote: ‘The English tongue was rude, its verses vile/Now, skilful Wyatt, it has known your file.’ The only blot on Wyatt’s record was his marriage to ...

Dealing with Disappointment

Adam Phillips: Bertrand Russell

8 March 2001
Bertrand Russell​ 1921-70: The Ghost of Madness 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 574 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 224 05172 5
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... In the introduction to the first volume of his biography of Russell, Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude, Ray Monk was clear, as his title indicated, about the story he had to tell, though also daunted by the amount of material he had to work with. The bibliography of Russell’s ...
24 November 1988
Algernon Sidney and the English Republic 1623-1677 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £27.50, August 1988, 0 521 35290 8
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Seeds of Liberty: 1688 and the Shaping of Modern Britain 
by John​ Miller.
Souvenir, 128 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 285 62839 9
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Reluctant Revolutionaries: Englishmen and the Revolution of 1688 
by W.A. Speck.
Oxford, 267 pp., £17.50, July 1988, 9780198227687
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War and Economy in the Age of William III and Marlborough 
by D.W. Jones.
Blackwell, 351 pp., £35, September 1988, 0 631 16069 8
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Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister 
by Brian Hill.
Yale, 259 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 300 04284 1
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A Kingdom without a King: The Journal of the Provisional Government in the Revolution of 1688 
by Robert Beddard.
Phaidon, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780714825007
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... the Revolution of 1688 could not be mentioned with praise, without giving some indirect encouragement to the Revolution of 1789; and it was thought as well to say nothing in favour of Hampden, or Russell, or Sydney, for fear it might give spirits to Robespierre, Danton or Marat.’ Four years later the same journal warned, in terms drawn from Fox, that while ‘the doctrine of resistance’ was to be ...

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