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The Light at the Back of a Sequence of Rooms

Peter Campbell: Pieter de Hooch, 29 October 1998

Pieter De Hooch 1629-84 
by Peter Sutton.
Yale, 183 pp., £30, September 1998, 0 300 07757 2
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On Reflection 
by Jonathan Miller.
National Gallery, 224 pp., £25, September 1998, 1 85709 236 8
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... Some good places for looking at pictures retain the feel of the private houses they once were (the Phillips Collection in Washington, or Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge), but there are no rules – re-hangings at the Tate gave new life to pictures which seemed to have lost heart, just by putting them in the right company. In places where they are happy, you can look at paintings you know and still have the sense that it is a first encounter ...

At the British Library

Mary Wellesley: Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms, 22 November 2018

... beyond its shores through a lively exchange of books, goods and ideas. Visitors are greeted by the Sutton Hoo belt buckle, discovered in a spectacular seventh-century ship burial in East Anglia in 1939. The buckle is Anglo-Saxon bling at its best: from a distance, what you see is a massive lump of gold (it weighs nearly half a kilo). Wearing it on a belt would ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2009, 7 January 2010

... time at the Trafalgar Studios. I saw the first production at Wyndham’s in 1964 with Madge Ryan, Peter Vaughan and Dudley Sutton. Good in the part Sutton was already too old, as have been most of the actors who’ve played in it since. It’s a play I would dearly like to have ...

Rome’s New Mission

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Early Christianity, 2 June 2011

Christians and Pagans: The Conversion of Britain from Alban to Bede 
by Malcolm Lambert.
Yale, 329 pp., £30, September 2010, 978 0 300 11908 4
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... work begins. Consequently, the last century has witnessed an astonishing array of new finds. The Sutton Hoo grave was the flagship: it was discovered on the eve of the Second World War, and in it we can say with reasonable certainty is interred King Raedwald of East Anglia, a familiar if ambiguous historical figure from Bede’s account of the early years of ...
... Centre, the administrative head of BBC Birmingham, objected strongly to the play, and Mr Shaun Sutton, Head of Drama Group, Television, effected the ban. At a meeting with the latter, I was told the play was ‘untransmittable’ and that this was not a time for adventurous projects. Specific objections to the play were not mentioned then or at any other ...

Death (and Life) of the Author

Peter Wollen: Kathy Acker, 5 February 1998

... itself. In a theatrical fragment, she cast herself as Electra in a bizarre society drama, set in Sutton Place, her childhood home on New York’s affluent and fashionable Upper West Side, and woven around her mother’s suicide, which had taken place there twenty years before, yet remained the most emotionally painful event of her life. The author of My ...

Pissing on Pedestrians

Owen Bennett-Jones: A Great Unravelling, 1 April 2021

Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell 
by John Preston.
Viking, 322 pp., £18.99, February, 978 0 241 38867 9
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... once he made that choice, he was whole-hearted. He learned English from a female tobacconist in Sutton Coldfield and etiquette from an upper-middle-class nurse. He ended up with a plummy accent, a collection of bow ties and the habit of drinking tea from a bone china cup. For many years he denied his origins: he told the Jewish Chronicle he wasn’t Jewish ...

No Surrender

Tom Shippey: Vikings, 22 July 2010

The Hammer and the Cross: A New History of the Vikings 
by Robert Ferguson.
Allen Lane, 450 pp., £30, November 2009, 978 0 7139 9788 0
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... while swords and skulls were shuffled into the background. See the title of the late Peter Foote’s The Viking Achievement (1970). Ferguson, though long based in Norway, was a pupil of Foote’s and although he early on declares an interest in restoring ‘the violence to the Viking Age’, his training still shows, notably at the end of Chapter ...

Follow the Money

David Conn, 30 August 2012

... in the glory years of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Now he was ousting the deeply unpopular Peter Swales, who had been chairman for twenty years, and I was in the stands cheering his arrival. But when I interviewed Lee, I was unsettled to discover that the takeover was in fact a corporate deal. He and his associates were buying 29.99 per cent of the ...

Battle of Britain

Patrick O’Brian, 7 July 1988

The Spanish Armada 
by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker.
Hamish Hamilton, 296 pp., £15, April 1988, 0 241 12125 6
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Armada 1588-1988 
by M.J. Rodriguez-Salgado.
Penguin and the National Maritime Museum, 295 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 14 010301 5
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Armada: A Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588-1988 
by Peter Padfield.
Gollancz, 208 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 575 03729 6
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Froude’s ‘Spanish Story of the Armada’, and Other Essays 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Sutton, 262 pp., £5.95, May 1988, 0 86299 500 0
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Ireland’s Armada Legacy 
by Laurence Flanagan.
Sutton, 210 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 9780862994730
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The Armada in the Public Records 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HMSO, 76 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 11 440215 9
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The Spanish Armada: The Experience of War in 1588 
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.
Oxford, 300 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 19 822926 7
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... by the splendid pictures: as a catalogue, however, it is a most valuable possession. For Peter Padfield in his Armada the context spreads wide to include not only the historical background but the designing, building, rigging and sailing of the ships on either side; and on this subject he is well-informed and interesting, since he spent much of his ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... the Drop of a Brick’, a reference to Flanders and Swann’s At the Drop of a Hat and Peter Cook’s suggestion that we call it ‘Quite the best revue I’ve seen for some time. Bernard Levin’, the point being that whatever the notices this could go up at the front of house.27 January. A woman writes to me saying that having read a piece I’d ...

Barely under Control

Jenny Turner: Who’s in charge?, 7 May 2015

... schools – and that was only ‘the tip of the iceberg’, according to the report’s author, Peter Clarke. Last summer, when he was still secretary of state for education, Michael Gove floated the idea of requiring schools to teach British values. In November, the DfE issued what it called ‘strengthened guidance’ on ‘promoting British values in ...

The Party and the Army

Ronan Bennett, 21 March 1996

... to cause explosions and sentenced to 25 years. Kelly was confined in a special secure unit in Full Sutton, where his medical condition – he is suffering from melanoma – went completely untreated. He was moved to another prison and eventually taken to hospital in chains to undergo extensive surgery on his back. Since the ceasefire three other IRA lifers ...

Literary Friction

Jenny Turner: Kathy Acker’s Ashes, 19 October 2017

After Kathy Acker: A Literary Biography 
by Chris Kraus.
Allen Lane, 352 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 1 63590 006 4
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... persuade her at least to ring her nearest relative and let her know she was ill.Acker grew up in Sutton Place in Manhattan, and was a star pupil at the Lenox School, at that time ‘the only “white glove” Upper East Side private girls’ school that was widely open to Jews’. Classmates remember her as academically brilliant – ‘Modern Library ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... this story, comes towards the end of July 2014. Two separate sources spoke to me of emails between Peter Maddison, director of Assets and Regeneration at the TMO, and Feilding-Mellen and others, discussing the colour and type of fixing for the proposed cladding on Grenfell Tower. At the time, residents were putting some pressure on the TMO and the council’s ...

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