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They would not go away

Conrad Russell, 30 March 1989

England’s Iconoclasts: Laws against Images 
by Margaret Aston.
Oxford, 548 pp., £48, July 1988, 0 19 822438 9
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... as hard to manage as a Parliament divided on whether to bow to the mace. The great strength of Dr Aston’s book is her ability to come to this issue with a Medieval background. She does not merely give us the 15th-century background her readers will expect: she gives us the Byzantine background of the iconoclastic controversy. Never again will we need to ...

Homage to the Old Religion

Susan Brigden, 27 May 1993

The Stripping of the Altars: Traditional Religion in England, c.1400-c.1580 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 704 pp., £29.95, November 1992, 0 300 05342 8
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... contemporaries who imagined the precise pains of Purgatory than with those later reformers who, as Margaret Aston brilliantly showed in England’s Iconoclasts, strove for a faith which worshipped God in spirit and truth and cast out the ‘idols of the mind’. The contemplative spirituality which was one characteristic of late medieval piety is not a ...

Leave me my illusions

Nicholas Penny: Antiquarianism, 29 July 2021

Time’s Witness: History in the Age of Romanticism 
by Rosemary Hill.
Allen Lane, 390 pp., £25, June, 978 1 84614 312 0
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... pittie; and sett the thoughts a-worke’. In her article ‘English Ruins and English History’, Margaret Aston emphasised how extensive the visible devastation must have been and how powerfully and frequently it generated a sense of nostalgia: ‘And with nostalgia came invigorated historical activity.’ The mainstream of antiquarianism that sprang ...

Saint Shakespeare

Barbara Everett, 19 August 2010

... the Word of God. In her study of the 16th-century image-breakers, England’s Iconoclasts (1988), Margaret Aston showed lucidly how the iconoclasm took its violence from the conceptual depth of the ancient belief in the supremacy of Word over Image. The Word was God. The power of Reformation in England was in part a result of Henry’s obsession with a ...

At the V&A

Esther Chadwick: Opus Anglicanum, 5 January 2017

... to surviving examples reveal their destinations: there are the Syon, Butler-Bowdon and Steeple Aston copes, and the Chichester-Constable chasuble, but also the Vatican, Pienza, Toledo and Bologna copes, the Ascoli Piceno cope, probably presented as a diplomatic gift by Edward I to Gregory X, or the Madrid cope, referred to in an inventory of 1397 in the ...

Ooh the rubble

Rosemary Hill: Churchill’s Cook, 16 July 2020

Victory in the Kitchen: The Life of Churchill’s Cook 
by Annie Gray.
Profile, 390 pp., £16.99, February, 978 1 78816 044 5
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... poor village where Landemare was born in 1882, the local market town of Tring and the backwater of Aston Clinton where she grew up, families like the Youngs were held in the orbit of the local landowners, who included the Flowers, the Harcourts (for whom her grandfather was a gamekeeper) and, especially, the Rothschilds at Tring Park. The Tring estate covered ...

What Nanny Didn’t Tell Me

Bernard Porter: Simon Mann, 26 January 2012

Cry Havoc 
by Simon Mann.
John Blake, 351 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 84358 403 2
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... reasons’ for omitting all this – we’re told that two reported conversations with Margaret Thatcher have been cut on similar grounds. Her son, Mark, isn’t spared, however, mainly because in 2005 he admitted complicity in the affair as part of a plea bargain in South Africa; and because of Mann’s animus against him. Thatcher claimed that he ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... an indicator of national self-sufficiency? Is it still? Rover, Morris, Austin, Triumph, Vauxhall, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Mini, Land Rover: when we hear the names of these firms, we think of the cars they made, and of cars driven by parents or grandparents, sisters or old boyfriends. But we also think of the places in Britain where the cars were ...

It’s already happened

James Meek: The NHS Goes Private, 22 September 2011

... Player argue that, having failed to persuade the public and the medical establishment under Margaret Thatcher that the NHS should be turned into a European-style national insurance programme, the advocates of a competitive health market gave up trying to convince the big audience and focused on infiltrating Whitehall’s policymaking centres and the ...

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