Archive

A crowded field

A crowded field

22nd June 2022

Although I had dabbled a bit before—I remember showing some things I had written to Lionel Dakers on an RSCM singing course once (I must have been about eleven), and I wrote a couple of psalm chants in my late teens—my composing only really got going in 2006, when I was in my early thirties […]

Hello, yellow

Hello, yellow

13th June 2022

In his A History of the World in 100 Objects, Neil MacGregor writes that ‘you can hardly turn on the radio or open a newspaper these days without being bombarded by yet another anniversary – a hundred years since this, two hundred years since that.  Our popular history seems to be written increasingly in centenaries, […]

Carta di Varese

Carta di Varese

25th May 2022

Last week, We Love Endpapers, the Facebook group I set up (now with over 7000 members!), turned six. To celebrate, I decided to put together a short list featuring various types of historic decorated paper (marbled, sprinkled, bronze-varnish, brocade, block-printed, and paste). One particularly interesting type is Carta di Varese. Perhaps the most famous Italian […]

A little je ne sais quoi by Beckford’s librarian

A little je ne sais quoi by Beckford’s librarian

6th April 2022

Printed in Meaux, east of Paris (and presumably in limited numbers), this is a copy of the first edition of a rare little book of epigrams by Ange-Denis Maquin (1756–1823), a professor of rhetoric and belles-lettres who subsequently fled across the Channel during the Terror.  Settling at Hastings, ‘he began learning English and supported himself […]

Herrnhut 300

Herrnhut 300

1st April 2022

Paste paper (Kleisterpapier in German) is a type of decorated paper in which coloured paste is brushed onto paper and then manipulated in some way before allowing to dry.  It was especially popular, particularly in northern and eastern Germany, in the second half of the eighteenth century (although the technique itself had already been around […]

Beethoven’s 9th

Beethoven’s 9th

21st March 2022

I realise things have been rather quiet on the blog for the past few weeks, but that’s because I’ve been busy preparing for two book fairs (Edinburgh later this week, New York in April), plus finalising my latest translation, for Pushkin Press (due out in September). However, I thought I’d share the following today as […]