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In Walthamstow

Rosemary Hill: William Morris, 13 September 2012

... The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow was reopened on 2 August by Chris Robbins, leader of Waltham Forest Council, who pronounced its refurbishment ‘truly stunning’. He said how ‘extremely proud’ he and his fellow councillors were to have been part of the ‘multimillion-pound development’, which has seen the fine Georgian house that was Morris’s childhood home from 1848 to 1856 ‘restored to its former glory’ and its collections enhanced by a new space for temporary exhibitions, a tea room and a freshly landscaped park ...

Anything but Staffordshire

Rosemary Hill, 18 September 1997

Rare Spirit: A Life of William De Morgan 1839-1917 
by Mark Hamilton.
Constable, 236 pp., £22.50, September 1997, 0 09 474670 2
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... learning’, which in the early 1850s fired the imaginations of the Oxford undergraduates William Morris and Edward Burne Jones. But De Morgan was enrolled at University College, where there was no scope for picturesque medievalism. The spirit of place did not haunt Gower Street. Having failed to get a degree, De Morgan decided to become a painter. He made ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Stonehenge for the solstice, 6 July 2006

... up near the Heel Stone. Like most people I saw dawn rise over other people’s shoulders. Then the Morris Dancers ...

Smocks

Rosemary Hill, 5 December 1991

Gertrude Jekyll 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 323 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 670 82788 6
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People’s Parks 
by Hazel Conway.
Cambridge, 287 pp., £49.50, August 1991, 0 521 39070 2
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The History of Garden Design: The Western Tradition from the Renaissance to the Present Day 
edited by Monique Mosser and Georges Teyssot.
Thames and Hudson, 543 pp., £45, May 1991, 0 500 01511 2
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... London offered some curious sights in the 1840s. To the north in Epping Forest the infant William Morris could be seen riding out in a toy suit of armour, while down in Surrey, in the Tillingbourne Valley, little Gertrude Jekyll was learning to make gunpowder. In the event it was Morris who became the political ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus, 22 May 2008

The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... away from the diplomatic quarter in Arts and Crafts country at Hammersmith. This was where William Morris lived at Kelmscott House and where in October of that year he died. It was Morris, along with Ruskin and occasionally Goethe, whose writings gave Muthesius the epigraphs for his book, and it was in ...

Coloured Spots v. Iridescence

Steven Rose: Evolutionary Inevitability, 22 March 2018

Improbable Destinies: How Predictable Is Evolution? 
by Jonathan Losos.
Allen Lane, 364 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 241 20192 3
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... Gould discussed the bizarre fossils uncovered by the Cambridge palaeontologist Simon Conway Morris in an outcrop of rock in the Canadian Rockies, known as the Burgess Shale. The shale was formed 511 million years ago, in the period when animal life was first emerging. Buried within it Conway Morris found the fossils ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary Hill: Victor Pasmore, 20 April 2017

... Pasmore’s contemporaries who failed the abstraction test but are surely greater talents: Cedric Morris, Augustus John, Paul and John Nash, Tristram Hillier and, perhaps the most underrated, Edward Burra. Burra’s big watercolour The Straw Man (1963) – showing a group of male figures on urban wasteland, involved in some kind of ritual dance or game with a ...

At the Whitechapel

Rosemary Hill: ‘Black Eyes and Lemonade’, 23 May 2013

... note by the then director, Hugh Scrutton, dismisses the objections as the product of a ‘William Morris creed … unrealistic, romantic and naive’. The present exhibition omits to mention that the Whitechapel had itself been an expression of Arts and Crafts ideals, promoted by Morris’s friend Henrietta Barnett, who ...

A Generous Quantity of Fat

Paul Henley: Yes, People Were Cooked, 2 September 1999

Man Corn: Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric American South-West 
by Christy Turner and Jacqueline Turner.
Utah, 512 pp., $60, January 1999, 9780874805666
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Cannibalism and the Colonial World 
edited by Francis Barker and Peter Hulme.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £13.95, August 1998, 0 521 62118 6
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Cannibals: The Discovery and Representation of the Cannibal from Columbus to Jules Verne 
by Frank Lestringant, translated by Rosemary Morris.
Polity, 256 pp., £39.50, April 1997, 0 7456 1697 6
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Chronicles of the Guayakí Indians 
by Pierre Clastres, translated by Paul Auster.
Faber, 256 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 571 19398 6
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... Even before it was published, Christy and the late Jacqueline Turner’s Man Corn provoked media hubbub. Last November, the New Yorker published a long profile of Christy Turner, and soon afterwards the story was picked up in Britain. The Times dedicated half a page to a discussion of the book’s findings, and even reflected on them in a leader ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: Aubrey Beardsley, 24 September 2020

... figure in Withered Spring, a drawing of 1891, has the heavy, sensuous eyes and mouth of Jane Morris. A year later, in Incipit Vita Nova, they had gone. An impassive female head with closed eyes faces a foetus with its eyes open. By the following year Beardsley had found his style, monochrome and linear. ‘I take no notice of shadows,’ he ...

Late Worm

Rosemary Hill: James Lees-Milne, 10 September 2009

James Lees-Milne: The Life 
by Michael Bloch.
Murray, 400 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 7195 6034 7
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... later antiquities. The National Trust, which had been founded by admirers of Ruskin and William Morris to preserve threatened areas of countryside, had, at first, no remit to take on buildings. With its ethos of inspired amateurism, however, this ‘dedicated group of happy-go-lucky enthusiasts’, as Lees-Milne called them, was more acceptable, when the ...

‘We would rather eat our cake than merely have it’

Rosemary Hill: Victorian men and women, 4 October 2001

A Circle of Sisters: Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin 
by Judith Flanders.
Penguin, 392 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 670 88673 4
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The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939 
by Adam Nicolson.
Short Books, 96 pp., £4.99, May 2001, 0 571 20835 5
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Victorian Diaries: The Daily Lives of Victorian Men and Women 
edited by Heather Creaton.
Mitchell Beazley, 144 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 1 84000 359 6
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... stunner, an artistic, if not a liberated alternative to conventional femininity. Unlike Janey Morris, whose remarkable appearance was so close to Rossetti’s pictures of her that Henry James was unsure whether she was an original or a copy, the Macdonald sisters, though strikingly attractive, were not in the heavy-eyed big-haired vein. If they were, as ...

Positively Spaced Out

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Building of England’, 6 September 2001

The Buildings of England: A Celebration Compiled to Mark 50 Years of the Pevsner Architectural Guides 
edited by Simon Bradley and Bridget Cherry.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 128 pp., £9.99, July 2001, 0 9527401 3 3
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... the first of his books to be written in English, Pioneers of the Modern Movement from William Morris to Walter Gropius. His parents stayed in Germany where, in 1940, soon after his father’s death, his mother killed herself to escape the camps. Pevsner and his family were to remain permanently in this country. The idea for The Buildings of ...

Heaven’s Gate

Rosemary Hill, 8 September 1994

Pugin: A Gothic Passion 
edited by Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright.
Yale, 310 pp., £45, June 1994, 0 300 06014 9
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... still dependent on Raymond Williams’s brief summary in Culture and Society. Unlike Ruskin and Morris, whom he anticipated in many ways, Pugin has not found a following outside architectural history. Nor has he gained a nook in the national imagination, the heritage trail passes him by. His extraordinary house at Ramsgate stands empty, its future ...

Metropolitan Miscreants

Matthew Bevis: Victorian Bloomsbury, 4 July 2013

Victorian Bloomsbury 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 15447 4
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Metropolitan Art and Literature, 1810-40: Cockney Adventures 
by Gregory Dart.
Cambridge, 297 pp., £55, July 2012, 978 1 107 02492 2
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... where the phylum or the city will end up – or whether the city is making us worse or better. Rosemary Ashton’s Victorian Bloomsbury offers a less vertiginous outlook on the terrain by surveying one corner of it. Her focus is on ‘the activities of an earlier set of Bloomsbury-based pioneers, men and women of the 19th century who fought against ...

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