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At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: John White’s New World, 5 April 2007

... John White is famous for the drawings he made in the late 1580s which record aspects of the North American littoral: its geography, its inhabitants, their dress, customs and dwellings, and the birds, plants and animals found there. Seventy-five of White’s drawings, along with navigational instruments, maps, books and relics of 16th-century exploration are on show in A New World, an exhibition at the British Museum until 17 June ...

At the Barbican

Peter Campbell: Alvar Aalto, 22 March 2007

... English housing and town planning. In other English buildings the influence is direct. Colin St John Wilson was a friend and admirer. Sources for the steep roofs, the vertical accent (the clock tower), the plain brick walls, wave-profiles in entrance hall ceilings and the careful modulation of light in the reading rooms of his British Library can be found ...

On the way to Maidenhead

Peter Campbell: Deep holes and narrow tracks at Paddington, 3 June 2004

... had passed as a subject ‘out of the orbit of landscape into that of Victorian genre’, as John Gage says in his book about Turner’s picture. The Railway Station shows a train about to leave Paddington; the detail of the architecture is correct – Frith had photographs taken for reference – but it is the partings and greetings you look at ...

In the Park

Peter Campbell: Frank Gehry’s Pavilion, 31 July 2008

... how things should look breaks down. Maverick architects then indulge in all kinds of impropriety. John Nash’s excursions into an exotic vernacular with his Oriental pavilion at Brighton was to the received style of late 18th-century architecture what Gehry’s Guggenheim Bilbao was to minimal white-box museum design. Innovative buildings are ...

In Bexhill

Peter Campbell: Ben Nicholson, 20 November 2008

... in the company of other English artists who dipped into abstraction and then out again (as John Piper did) or who abandoned impressionistic realism of a traditional sort for it (as Victor Pasmore did). None of them in doing this lost a craftsmanlike pleasure in things well and carefully made. That may be why it is almost as easy to relate the look of ...

Rough, tough and glamorous

D.A.N. Jones, 24 May 1990

That was business, this is personal: The Changing Faces of Professional Crime 
by Duncan Campbell.
234 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 436 19990 4
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... nicknamed for his habit of wearing a long black cape. He is the subject of one of Duncan Campbell’s 23 interviews. The other subjects ‘on the right side of the law’ are a judge, a barrister and a solicitor; three policemen and a prison officer; an Indian victim of crime, a (female) ‘victim supporter’ and a (black, female) probation ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: On Bullshit, 17 April 2003

... the Messenger, a title rich in ‘poor me’ implications; this one is called The Wages of Spin (John Murray, 261pp., £18.99, March, 0 7195 6481 6), the implication of which is that Sir Bernard wants to impose a buffer zone between himself and those who now do the bullshitting job he once did: they being headed, it seems, not for a knighthood but for the ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: Reading Butler, 5 August 2004

... intelligence wordings in the worrying sense. It’s quite extraordinary that the ghastly Alastair Campbell, Blair’s PR man now turned vaudevillian, was not even asked to give evidence to Butler’s committee. The incriminated dossier of September 2002 was of course presented as the work of the Joint Intelligence Committee but – Butler p. 154, and this is ...

At the Villa Medici

Peter Campbell: 17th-Century Religous Paintings, 30 November 2000

... Philippe de Champaigne gave when his daughter became a Jansenist nun – a Mary Magdalene and a John the Baptist – are in the exhibition. Neil MacGregor’s catalogue notes shed light on the choice of saints and make sense of their decorous presentation and of the place art could have among the spiritually frugal. St ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: Samuel Palmer’s dream landscapes, 17 November 2005

... then just out of his teens; a couple of years earlier he had been sought out by an older artist, John Linnell, who had seen and admired his work. Palmer wrote that God had sent Linnell ‘to pluck me from the pit of modernity’. Through Linnell, who was his friend and patron and later his father-in-law, Palmer met William Blake. It was the light of Blake ...

At the Soane Museum

Peter Campbell: Joseph Gandy, 11 May 2006

... draughtsman whose main income came from rendering the designs of others, or rather of one other: John Soane, who first employed him as a draughtsman and later gave him individual commissions and other financial support. He seems to have been difficult and touchy. He had trouble making enough money to keep himself and a large family, and died ...

At the British Library

Peter Campbell: Mapping London, 25 January 2007

... 19th centuries was also brisk. Some transformations teetered on the brink before falling back. John Thomas Smith’s 1680 plan of Whitehall Palace shows a confused warren of a building; only the ‘modern’ Banqueting House stands broad, thick-walled and symmetrical. This could have been the ‘before’ for a spectacular ‘after’, adumbrated by a view ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... to the writers who give each literary age its actual and particular flavour. Once it was Sir John Squire and Edward Shanks – obviously the most significant and influential voices of the time. During or just after the last war it was Connolly and Koestler and Spender, William Plomer, Alun Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Peter Quennell. Some still have life or fame ...

Sexual Tories

Angus Calder, 17 May 1984

The Common People: A History from the Norman Conquest to the Present 
by J.F.C. Harrison.
Croom Helm and Flamingo, 445 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7099 0125 9
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British Society 1914-45 
by John Stevenson.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 503 pp., £16.95, March 1984, 0 7139 1390 8
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The World We Left Behind: A Chronicle of the Year 1939 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £11.95, April 1984, 0 297 78287 8
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Wigan Pier Revisited: Poverty and Politics in the Eighties 
by Beatrix Campbell.
Virago, 272 pp., £4.50, April 1984, 0 86068 417 2
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... sex or ability, they came and went when they chose, working-class mothers were admirably assisted. John Pounds, a crippled Portsmouth cobbler, ran one such, carrying on his trade while his pupils did the work he set them. A visitor suggested that he needed some new books – ‘those under that birdcage seem to be coming to pieces.’ Pounds: ‘So much the ...

At the Royal Academy

Peter Campbell: How to Draw Horses, 9 October 2003

... is, or was, recognised by one kind of how-to-draw book. I have before me How to Draw Horses by John Skeaping, first published in 1941; this seventh impression is dated 1946. In the same series of twenty or so titles were How to Draw ‘Planes by Frank Wootton and Tanks and How to Draw Them by Terence Cuneo – both highly successful workers in long-lasting ...

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