It was the Kingdom of Naples that gave Emma the chance to transform herself into an artist, society lady and skilled operator at the court of Queen Maria Carolina, wife of King Ferdinand IV, its reigning monarch.
Overlooked for centuries, her paintings were often wrongly attributed to her father, Orazio Gentileschi. In the same period her work sank to a level of obscurity equal to that one of her greatest influences, Caravaggio. His reputation was restored in the 1920’s. Artemisia Gentileschi had to wait a little longer.
Posterity remembers Emma Hamilton as the mistress of Nelson. The reality is her achievements in the society salon were in their way as brave and out of the ordinary as his naval exploits.
James Roderick Burns finds Geraldine Paine’s new narrative collection to be a timely reminder of traditional poetic virtues
John Lucas finds multiple reasons to recommend this memoir by Gail Holst-Warhaft which is studded through with her own accomplished poetry and also gives a shrewdly observant account of post-war Greek history
James Roderick Burns notes that Michael Crowley has taken some risks in order to negotiate a way through conflicting themes and historical viewpoints in his new collection
Le Corbusier has mostly gone down in history as a visionary Swiss urban planner. For the thousands forcibly evicted from District Six in Cape Town, he has a more sinister resonance as the proponent of “the surgical method” – as mentioned in the notorious apartheid-era Group Areas Act – of sweeping away what he saw as chaos and disorder.
A New Life for the Riding-Crop-Handle Maker; Sarah Lawson reminds us of a popular account of an immigrant’s experience which has – perhaps undeservedly – fallen out of the public eye
If you’re a Londoner with time on your hands, take a trip to Rotherhithe and spend an afternoon immersed in centuries of history.
Bernard Green offers another of his distinctive reminiscences about his early life in post-war Surrey. .
The Zoo: the wild and wonderful tale of the founding of London Zoo by Isobel Charman. A review by Jane McChrystal
When a book appeared in October promising the “wild and wonderful tale of the founding of London Zoo” I picked it up in search of insight into what drove the founding fathers of the London Zoological Society and whether it has any relevance to the function of zoos today.
Anyone seeking to be reminded of how we used to work not so very long ago should take the 10-minute tram journey from Birmingham’s newly revamped Grand Central Station to the city’s Jewellery Quarter, where every other shop is a jeweller and the close-knit atmosphere of a neighbourhood once closed to the wider city lingers on.