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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 ...
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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... still hankering after the ‘great silent libraries’, and the ‘intoxicating traditions of ancient 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 ...


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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... The woods around 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 ...

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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... was brought sharply into focus by the late Stephen Jay Gould in his book Wonderful Life (1989). 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 ...

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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... observant visitor who already knew what to look out for. He and Anna took a house, The Priory, well 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 ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary​ Hill: Stonehenge for the solstice

6 July 2006
... and the dancing spread out. As the sun rose it didn’t break the cloud so we didn’t see it come up near the Heel Stone. Like most people I saw dawn rise over other people’s shoulders. Then the Morris Dancers arrived ...

At Pallant House

Rosemary​ Hill: Victor Pasmore

19 April 2017
... British Surrealism, offers a de facto critique of Towards a New Reality by including artists among 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 ...

At the Whitechapel

Rosemary​ Hill: ‘Black Eyes and Lemonade’

23 May 2013
... this was not the face they wanted to put on the new Britain – but the Whitechapel backed her. A 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 ...

‘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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... Jones, who was perhaps a little in love with all of them, into that exceptional type, the Pre-Raphaelite 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 ...

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. Turner, a biological anthropologist from Arizona with ...

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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... Garden Suburb, where he was joined by his wife, Lola, and their children. The next year he published 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 ...

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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... fixed tread of those who flow up the hill and down King William Street. We can’t be sure 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 ...

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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... book is some broader interpretative account of Pugin’s place in 19th-century thought. For that we are 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 ...

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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... Monuments established as an acknowledgment that the nation might take some responsibility for 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 ...

Swaying at the Stove

Rosemary​ Hill: The Cult of Elizabeth David

9 December 1999
Elizabeth David: A Biography 
by Lisa Chaney.
Pan, 482 pp., £10, September 1999, 0 330 36762 5
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Waiting at the Kitchen Table. Elizabeth David: The Authorised Biography 
by Artemis Cooper.
Viking, 364 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7181 4224 1
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... omelette and a glass of wine’ sound so exciting. Deflected sexuality was another element in the tradition of pastoral romance to which Mediterranean Food belonged. Like Leach’s Japan and William Morris’s Middle Ages, it offered if not an innocent then a simpler world, ‘small and white and clean’, the sort of other Eden with which the English and at times the Scots have consoled themselves ...

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