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Nymph of the Grot

Nicholas Penny, 13 April 2000

The Culture of the High Renaissance 
by Ingrid Rowland.
Cambridge, 384 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 521 58145 1
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Hypnerotomachia Poliphili 
by Francesco Colonna, translated by Joscelyn Godwin.
Thames and Hudson, 476 pp., £42, November 1999, 0 500 01942 8
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After Raphael: Painting in Central Italy in the 16th Century 
by Marcia Hall.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £45, March 1999, 0 521 48245 3
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... in Pinturicchio’s paintings there is no reference to any library, ancient or modern. In the ‘hall of saints’, one of the lunettes depicts Catherine of Alexandria confounding the pagan sages sent to convert her. But no attempt is made to locate this event in Egypt and indeed, a version of the Arch of Constantine occupies much of the composition. This ...

Into the Gulf

Rosemary Hill, 17 December 1992

A Sultry Month: Scenes of London Literary Life in 1846 
by Alethea Hayter.
Robin Clark, 224 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 0 86072 146 9
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Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850 
edited by John Barrell.
Oxford, 301 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198173922
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London: World City 1800-1840 
edited by Celina Fox.
Yale, 624 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 300 05284 7
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... Parliament had been rejected, he exhibited two of his massive historical paintings in the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly. The public flocked to the building, but to see the midget, General Tom Thumb, who was being shown downstairs. On the first day Haydon attracted only four visitors. ‘I would not have believed it of the English people,’ he wrote in his ...

You’re only interested in Hitler, not me

Susan Pedersen: Shirley Williams, 19 December 2013

Shirley Williams: The Biography 
by Mark Peel.
Biteback, 461 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 1 84954 604 1
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... perfect strangers feel you speak for them, and feel honoured to leave their fate in your hands. Marcia Falkender, Harold Wilson’s much feared secretary, believed that Williams had a gift that ‘few male and even female politicians possess’: ‘an ability to project an idealised version of herself, a myth in which all those around her believe gladly and ...

Some Sad Turtle

Alison Light: Spinsters and Clerics, 29 July 2021

The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym: A Biography 
by Paula Byrne.
William Collins, 686 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 832220 5
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... if only because their celibacy is optional (though ‘there should be a biretta in the hall rather than a perambulator,’ one character says, perhaps loath to encourage interfering clergy wives).On the fringe of the fiction and outside the social pale are the nonconformists and evangelicals with their egalitarianism and tin-roofed chapels. Roman ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... re-annihilation.Few Aboriginal historians were prepared to contribute to the project at all; one, Marcia Langton, who works not for a university but for the Central Lands Council, is co-author of the chapter in Australians: 1938 on the Day of Mourning, organised against the sesquicentennial celebrations of 50 years ago. There is no chapter on Aborigines in ...

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