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Refuge of the Aristocracy

Paul Smith: The British Empire, 21 June 2001

Ornamentalism: How the British Saw Their Empire 
by David Cannadine.
Allen Lane, 264 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 7139 9506 8
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... earlier, most colourfully in the great imperial pageant that marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. The thumping Unionist electoral triumph of 1895 was confidently ascribed by Sir Robert Ensor (who had been a Winchester schoolboy at the time) to an upsurge of expansionist imperialism, while A.G. Gardiner, the biographer of Sir William ...

Over the top

Graham Coster, 22 October 1992

Hell’s Foundations: A Town, its Myths and Gallipoli 
by Geoffrey Moorhouse.
Hodder, 256 pp., £19.99, April 1992, 0 340 43044 3
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... of success in the crucial Allied landings at Suvla Bay, while the commander of the campaign, Hamilton, politely declined to intervene over his incompetent subordinate’s head, Prime Minister Asquith wrote to Kitchener that ‘the generals and staff engaged ... ought to be court-martialled and dismissed from the Army.’ Out of 410,000 Allied soldiers ...

Political Purposes

Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... Council. But the optimism of this period was often in stark contrast with reality. In 1946 the Victoria and Albert Museum mounted an exhibition of manufactured goods for export. Its title – Britain Can Make It – elicited a mocking ‘Britain Can’t Have It’, as coal shortages, a severe winter and economic problems began to undermine Labour’s ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... to Wittgenstein, was deposited, on ‘permanent loan’, at nearby UCL. The Penguin and Hamish Hamilton archives are, substantially, on loan at Bristol University library, in recognition of Allen Lane’s birthplace. In the 1970s Ian Fletcher and Jim Edwards at Reading University had the bright idea of offering publishers what was in effect curatorship in ...

Looking for a Way Up

Rosemary Hill: Roy Strong’s Vanities, 25 April 2013

Self-Portrait as a Young Man 
by Roy Strong.
Bodleian, 286 pp., £25, March 2013, 978 1 85124 282 5
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... was enchanted by Leslie Howard in Korda’s Scarlet Pimpernel and even more by Vivien Leigh in The Hamilton Woman, which begins with the elderly, raddled Emma looking into the camera as the picture dissolves and we see her young again ‘in all her beauty, running through the splendours of the palace in Naples’. It was thus, Strong recalls, that ‘history ...

Wild Hearts

Peter Wollen, 6 April 1995

Virginia Woolf 
by James King.
Hamish Hamilton, 699 pp., £25, September 1994, 0 241 13063 8
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... on Bloomsbury was enormous and lasting. Omega’s first major commission came in 1913, from Lady Hamilton, whose niece worked for Diaghilev, and who, in Judith Collins’s words, wanted to turn her own home into ‘the approximation of a stage-set for a Diaghilev ballet’. The influence of the Ballets Russes went much deeper than décor, however. As Peter ...

Taste, Tact and Racism

Ian Hamilton: The death of Princess Diana, 22 January 1998

Assassination of a Princess 
by Ahmad Ata.
Dar Al-Huda, 75 pp., £5, September 1997, 977 53 4023 3
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Diana: A Princess Killed by Love 
by Ilham Sharshar.
Privately published, 125 pp., £10, September 1998, 977 51 9095 9
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Who Killed Diana? 
by Muhammad Ragab.
Privately published, 127 pp., £5, September 1998, 977 08 0675 7
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Harrods: A Place in Knightsbridge 
by Tim Dale.
Harrods, 224 pp., £35, November 1995, 1 900055 01 5
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... to his English nanny and to his education in one of the pre-Nasser English-style public schools, Victoria in Alexandria, where he was caned and stuffed full of crumpets by Oxbridge-educated masters. Less than six months later, on the eve of al-Fayed’s Harrods takeover, the same story – give or take a crumpet – was still solidly intact. Ivan Fallon in ...

Dangerous Misprints

M.F. Perutz, 26 September 1991

by Jerry Bishop and Michael Waldholz.
Touchstone, 352 pp., £8.99, September 1991, 0 671 74032 6
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... or absence of the protein specified by that gene, and gives rise to a congenital disease. Queen Victoria, for instance, carried the gene for haemophilia which surfaced in some of her male descendants as a malfunctioning of a protein needed for the clotting of blood: consequently several of them bled to death. Thanks to discoveries made over a span of many ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... had used this device many times before, in conjunction with opaque glass panels and signage. As Victoria Newhouse noted in her 1997 book, Towards a New Museum, they have been extremely critical of architects whom they regarded as having imposed their own architectural vision on the art museums they designed (the list includes ...


E.S. Turner, 3 July 1986

Augustus Hare: Victorian Gentleman 
by Malcolm Barnes.
Allen and Unwin, 240 pp., £20, May 1986, 9780049201002
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Midway on the Waves 
by James Lees-Milne.
Faber, 248 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 571 13723 7
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... horreur!’ One will search in vain for Hare’s account of the obsequies of the tenth Duke of Hamilton, who elected to be buried in an Egyptian princess’s sarcophagus too small for him. ‘Double me up! Double me up!’ were his parting words, but no amount of doubling up would suffice and they had to cut his feet off (his mausoleum by contrast was of ...


Richard Poirier, 24 January 1985

Slow Learner 
by Thomas Pynchon.
Cape, 204 pp., £8.50, January 1985, 0 224 02283 0
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... and Goodfellow, three German spies, Moldweorp, Lepsius and Bongo-Shaftsbury, and a girl named Victoria Wren, a prefiguration of the object of the quest of V., where ‘Under the Rose’ was to appear, in greatly revised form, as Chapter Three. Here, as in the other stories, Pynchon presupposes a condition of imminent crisis or blankness which excites in ...

Little England

Patrick Wright: The view through a bus window, 7 September 2006

Great British Bus Journeys: Travels through Unfamous Places 
by David McKie.
Atlantic, 359 pp., £16.99, March 2006, 1 84354 132 7
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... as a way of manoeuvring the modern city into new patterns of disclosure. Starting at Victoria Coach Station, Goldring boards a bus that is about to depart for Essex, a county he has scarcely seen since his days as a severely flogged yet still uncompliant boy at Felsted School in Great Dunmow. Finding Chelmsford buried in industrial muddle, he ...


John Lanchester: A Month on the Sofa, 11 July 2002

... watched it on my own. When you do that you concentrate harder and it takes more out of you, as Ian Hamilton said: ‘I don’t play football any more, but you should see me watch it.’ Underlying this is the point that a football match isn’t a spectacle but an experience: you don’t look at it, you live through it. This was England’s best performance for ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... bookshops burst, the coffee-tables groan – may be less than obvious. The anthropologist Annette Hamilton, reviewing Australians to 1788, judges that excellent volume disappointing, not so much in what it says and shows of precontact Aboriginality, but in the limitation of its address to readers who are already culturally privileged. The work, she said, is ...

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