Autumn blues

Autumn blues

20th October 2021

I’ve been dipping into a book by Franz Reitinger called Die blaue Epoche: reduktive Farbigkeit im Rokoko (2016), which explores the fashion, between about 1730 and 1765, for printing mezzotints using blue ink. It wasn’t something I’d really been aware of before, but I have always found the colour, Prussian blue, quite captivating. I only […]

Old books, new books (and new music)

Old books, new books (and new music)

14th October 2021

Attentive readers will have noticed that there was no blogpost last week. I was in York, teaching at YABS, the York Antiquarian Book Seminar: three-and-a-half days talking about books and bookselling to some wonderfully engaged students keen to know more. It’s always an enjoyable few days, and this year particularly so as going away to […]

At Cana

At Cana

1st October 2021

I’ve blogged before about translating, and then setting, the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke. As yesterday was International Translation Day, I thought this week I’d write about another piece of mine, At Cana. This was actually what first brought me to Rilke, when, in 2019, I was looking for a text to set for a […]

A Scot in the American Revolutionary War

A Scot in the American Revolutionary War

23rd September 2021

Printed in Jedburgh in 1821, these poems were written by a Andrew Scott (1757–1839), a Scottish a shepherd boy who enlisted at the outset of the American War of Independence and served for the duration of the campaign.  Of the many poems he penned there, most were lost, but ‘The Oak Tree’ survived and is […]

Derbyshire on Dunstable

Derbyshire on Dunstable

16th September 2021

The town of Dunstable is not too far away from here in Chesham, just over half an hour’s pleasant drive through the northern part of the Chilterns, near where I grew up and past the wonderful Ivinghoe Beacon (the name of which is the source for Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe). While not a Buckinghamshire book, I […]

A sensible bit of paper

A sensible bit of paper

9th September 2021

‘Without a play-bill’, stated The Tatler in September 1830, ‘no true play-goer can be comfortable.  If the performers are new to him, he cannot dispense with knowing who they are: if old, there are the names of the characters to learn, and the relationships of the dramatis personæ: and if he is acquainted with all […]