Today in the UK, it’s Books are My Bag day. All over the country, readers, booksellers and authors are getting together to host the nation’s Big Bookshop Party, in shops throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. To mark this auspicious day, I have taken the opportunity to interview myself about my book-ey thoughts. What Do […]
When I wrote The Day Parliament Burned Down I didn’t know anything about the economics of the book trade. Now I do. What I know is a lot more about how high-street bookshops are struggling in the face of massive competition from supermarkets and Amazon, and that we should do all we can to support […]
Over 44 artists captured the terrible accidental fire which devastated the old Palace of Westminster on 16 October 1834, and its consequences. Renditions ranged from quick pen and pencil doodles to full-scale oil paintings and commercial engravings. The most frequently-painted view of the fire was from the eastern, Lambeth, bank of the river (the most […]
News has reached me from British Columbia of yet another snuff box made from the salvaged wood of the Painted Chamber. So far this is the most far-flung one I know of: taken there by someone who emigrated in 1929. Can anyone do better? Any in Australia or New Zealand, for example? Keep hunting!
James Gillray (1756-1815) was one the most brilliant caricaturists of all time. He was brought up in the Moravian faith, a strict Protestant sect which forebade any form of entertainment or indulgence. Although he rebelled as an adult against this, becoming a student at the Royal Academy, its influence can be seen in his engravings which are […]
When the young Charles Barry visited Paris on the first leg of his Grand Tour in 1817, he had yet to acquire the necessary social polish of a gentleman. On his arrival the future architect of the new Palace of Westminster made a few blunders in polite society which he never repeated. His diaries are […]