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Do your homework

David Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May, 16 March 2017

Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... and paternal grandmothers were in service and one of her great-grandfathers was a butler. As Rosa Prince writes, perhaps unnecessarily, Cameron’s ancestors ‘were more likely to employ maids than to work as servants’.May went to a series of local schools, both state and private (the private school, St Juliana’s, charged fees of £25 a ...

Twenty Kicks in the Backside

Tom Stammers: Rosa Bonheur’s Flock, 5 November 2020

Art Is a Tyrant: The Unconventional Life of Rosa Bonheur 
by Catherine Hewitt.
Icon, 483 pp., £20, February, 978 1 78578 621 1
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... The​ 20th century was not kind to Rosa Bonheur. In her heyday, she was adored by Gilded Age millionaires and the gallery-going public on both sides of the Atlantic. For the Art Journal in 1879, it was irrefutable: ‘Certainly no woman ever lived who has painted so admirably as Rosa Bonheur ...

At the V&A

Rosa Lyster: Fabergé in London, 27 January 2022

... with gold and dotted with diamonds, which cluster around the watercolour portrait of the baby prince. Above the cabinets are large portrait photographs of the Romanovs in studiedly casual poses, inviting the viewer to imagine them engaged in activities other than the giving and receiving of precious metals: at the beach, chopping wood, looking at the ...

Red Flag, Green Light

Rosa Lyster: Keep the Con Going, 16 November 2023

Anansi’s Gold: The Man Who Swindled the World 
by Yepoka Yeebo.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £20, August 2023, 978 1 5266 6857 8
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... an offer like this lands in our spam folder. Advance-fee scams – sometimes called ‘Nigerian prince scams’, although they mostly originate in other countries – have become a hackneyed example of online fraud. But Blay-Miezah and his varyingly complicit associates managed to keep the con going for almost twenty years, extracting hundreds of millions ...

Creamy Polished Globes

Blake Morrison: A.E. Coppard’s Stories, 7 July 2022

The Hurly Burly and Other Stories 
by A.E. Coppard, edited by Russell Banks.
Ecco, 320 pp., £16.99, March 2021, 978 0 06 305416 5
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... took,’ she tells him). The pregnancy is awkward, since he’s engaged to the well-to-do Rosa, but he insists they marry (‘there’s naught else to be done, and I’m middling glad of it’). So far, so fairy tale: Cinderella gets her prince. But she’s still Glas’s servant, he’s still seeing ...

Irish Adventurers

Janet Adam Smith, 25 June 1992

The Grand Tours of Katherine Wilmot: France 1801-3 and Russia 1805-7 
edited by Elizabeth Mavor.
Weidenfeld, 187 pp., £17.99, February 1992, 0 297 81223 8
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... Later, in the Appenines, there was a night of real horror, as if they had walked into a Salvator Rosa picture: bandits lurked round their squalid inn, they slept on the floor under their greatcoats, and had to make a dawn escape. This was not romantic. At Florence they met the Countess of Albany, widow of Prince Charles ...

Squeegee Abstracts

Malcolm Bull: Gerhard Richter’s Dialectic, 10 August 2023

Gerhard Richter: Painting after the Subject of History 
by Benjamin H.D. Buchloh.
MIT, 661 pp., £40, September 2022, 978 0 262 54353 8
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... Realism and the realism of contemporary artists such as Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Richard Prince, who celebrate ‘the total fetishisation of object relations’, but maintains a more ambiguous relationship with formalism in which he ‘attempts to imbue abstract painting with a mnemonic dimension, commemorating, if nothing else, at least its failed ...

I am not a world improver

Christopher Turner: Building Seagram, 6 February 2014

Building Seagram 
by Phyllis Lambert.
Yale, 306 pp., £45, January 2013, 978 0 300 16767 2
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Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography 
by Franz Schulze and Edward Windhorst.
Chicago, 493 pp., £25, April 2013, 978 0 226 15145 8
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... said. ‘It wasn’t that she knew anything about buildings, but it was like having the crown prince present.’ But Lambert wasn’t the sort of person happy just to supervise. When a model needed to be built, she offered to help: the offer was rejected but she stayed late anyway to watch it being finished. When Mies drew her attention to the excellence ...


Tobias Jones: Postwar history in Italy, 8 March 2001

... comic opera than military operation, actually took place three months after his disappearance. Prince Junio Valerio Borghese, the organiser of the coup, is one of the most controversial figures in recent Italian history. During the Second World War, he commanded the infamous Decima Mas, the body of assault troops responsible for raids on the British fleet ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... respected … resented … rude and too self-regarding’. Nureyev’s sister, Rosa, and best friend, Tamara Zakrzhevskaya, tried to see what was going on through a slightly open door, until someone saw them and ‘kicked’ the door closed. Rosa had already provided a statement about Rudolf’s character ...

Yoked together

Frank Kermode, 22 September 1994

History: The Home Movie 
by Craig Raine.
Penguin, 335 pp., £9.99, September 1994, 0 14 024240 6
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... Sea dacha, date 1905, where the Pasternaks, children of the painter Leonid and his Jewish wife Rosa, are at play. Boris makes his first appearance. The 1905 Revolution is in progress offstage. The painter’s palette is compared to a latrine, turds of fresh pigment fresh from their bolsters, and the painter himself wipes his hands on a newspaper, thus ...

Perfect Bliss and Perfect Despair

Errol Trzebinski, 3 June 1982

Letters from Africa 1914-1931 
by Isak Dinesen, edited by Frans Lasson, translated by Anne Born.
Weidenfeld, 474 pp., £12.95, September 1981, 9780297780007
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... freedom from convention. He farmed, traded with the Masai and became a white hunter, taking the Prince of Wales out twice on safari. Karen Blixen writes to her mother that ‘he has a magical effect on me; never have I ever known such a feeling of happiness as I have in his company, it is as if I get light and air after having been confined in a room.’ He ...

Into a Blazing Oven

Lili Owen Rowlands: Virginie Despentes, 17 December 2020

Vernon Subutex Three 
by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne.
MacLehose, 306 pp., £14.99, June, 978 0 85705 982 6
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... blowjob during which he loses consciousness. When the weather gets colder, they move into the Rosa Bonheur, a bar hidden among the Buttes-Chaumont’s trees, where they ‘eat and chat shit’. In the evenings, Vernon plays a set and everyone goes nuts, as if they’re on drugs, except they aren’t. His tastes are eclectic: The Who, Tom Jones, ...

English Proust

Christopher Prendergast, 8 July 1993

In Search of Lost Time 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright.
Chatto, £15, November 1992, 0 7011 3992 7
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... speech on the subject of ice-cream: ‘Those mountains of ice at the Ritz sometimes suggest Monte Rosa, and indeed, if it’s a lemon ice, I don’t object to its not having a monumental shape, it being irregular, abrupt, like one of Elstir’s mountains ...’ Try as the narrator might to distinguish Albertine’s ludicrous speech from the use of figures in ...

Bitchy Little Spinster

Joanne O’Leary: Queens of Amherst, 3 June 2021

After Emily: Two Remarkable Women and the Legacy of America's Greatest Poet 
by Julie Dobrow.
Norton, 448 pp., £13.99, January 2020, 978 0 393 35749 3
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... Kingdoms – afterward – they say –In perfect – pauseless Monarchy –Whose Prince – is Son of None –‘Immortality’, the kingdom of which ‘they’ speak, is a chimera presided over by a fictional monarch: the ‘Son’ of nobody. Life is a ‘brief Drama in the flesh’, ‘the term between’ two eternities of blankness.Her ...

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