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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, 17 April 2014

The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... the needs were needed’. The wealthy were pampered, and the pampered felt wealthy. Is the Grand Budapest Hotel of the movie in Budapest? How could you ask? Budapest is just a name, a link to Eastern associations in case the idea of Vienna doesn’t take us far enough into the old empire. The hotel’s location is an imaginary country in something ...

At Tate Britain

David Craig: Mountain Art, 25 April 2002

... the words of the pioneering geologist John Wesley Powell, who led the first expedition through the Grand Canyon in 1873. Thomas Moran, an experienced painter from Philadelphia, travelled with Powell, and had been to Wyoming and Montana with the US Geological and Geographical Survey two years earlier. The chief fruit of his journeys were his paintings of the ...

On the Titanic

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ocean Liners’ at the V&A, 24 May 2018

... was styled like a floating country house. With stuccoed ceilings, stained glass, palm courts and grand pianos, it looked as if it might sink under the weight of the furniture. The deck was a merely functional space for the crew. After 1918 things changed. Modernism, as well as a fashion for fitness and outdoor living, saw the situation reverse to the point ...


Hugh Honour, 13 November 1997

A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... a patron of living British painters, and in many ways a reincarnation of the ideal virtuoso and Grand Tourist. He was first drawn to the subject by the Roman landscapes of Richard Wilson; published a book on Wilson’s then little-known drawings; and went on to annotate the letters written from Rome in 1757 by a minor British painter who had mentioned ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... dear, no, not me.’ This ballad, sung in procession when the Tichborne Claimant appeared at the Grand Amalgamated Demonstration of Foresters at Loughborough in August 1872, neatly compresses the story of the most celebrated of all late Victorian causes. In the spring of 1854, Roger Tichborne, a roving, hard-drinking ex-dragoon, took ship on the Bella bound ...

Eagle v. Jellyfish

Theo Tait: Edward St Aubyn, 2 June 2011

At Last 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 266 pp., £16.99, May 2011, 978 0 330 43590 1
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... end to end, these 800 or so pages, covering more than 40 years, add up to something incontestably grand, the nearest we have today to the great cycles of upper-class English life published in the decades after the war – Dance to the Music of Time or Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour. They combine a distinctive and exotic subject – appalling posh people ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers: Brussels, 29 July 1999

... Adjustment, no matter how comfortable it appears to be, is never freedom.’ David Reisman said that in The Lonely Crowd, a work of academic/pop sociology, published in the US in the late Forties; much read and remarked on at the time, and now forgotten. I looked it up the other day when I was due to say something at the South Bank Centre in connection with the Cities on the Move exhibition at the Hayward ...


David Gilmour: On Richard Cobb, 21 May 1987

... expelled to the high-rise suburbs, and the mansions are restored and divided into appartements de grand standing for the fashionable rich. According to Cobb, Paris began to lose its ‘human proportions’ with the gradual disappearance of the beret since the Thirties. The process is now almost complete and the centre has been turned over to pedestrian ...

Notes on Cézanne

David Sylvester, 7 March 1996

... really got it all together – not quite Frenhofer, but not an artist who was on the verge of the grand synthesis sustained throughout his last 18 years. With Cézanne, works produced under the pressure of aims fraught with internal contradictions and in a state of agonising doubt arrive at a ravishing lyricism. But he can also create light of an intensity ...

Bit by bit

David Lindley, 7 November 1991

The Triumph of the Embryo 
by Lewis Wolpert.
Oxford, 211 pp., £14.95, September 1991, 0 19 854243 7
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... transformations. But, try as he might, he can never quite turn this assembly of processes into a grand design. Beyond the obvious difficulty that the entire process is far from understood, there is also the fact that, all probability, no such grand design exists. The route that an embryo takes in order to change from a ...

Twilight Approaches

David A. Bell: Salon Life in France, 11 May 2006

The Age of Conversation 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
NYRB, 488 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 1 59017 141 1
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... untidy social category that incorporated hundreds of thousands of individuals, ranging from the grand aristocrats of Versailles to retired provincial aldermen. The French state sold off noble titles by the bushel to support its perennially woeful finances, with the result that by 1789 a large majority of title-holders could not trace their noble ancestry ...

Steamy, Seamy

David Margolick: The Mob’s Cuban Kleptocracy, 20 March 2008

The Havana Mob: Gangsters, Gamblers, Showgirls and Revolutionaries in 1950s Cuba 
by T.J. English.
Mainstream, 400 pp., £17.99, September 2007, 978 1 84596 192 3
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... ingenuity and powered by Russian engines and other improvised innards. But on the Malecón, the grand boulevard along the Caribbean at the city’s northern edge, stands a row of other remnants from that era: battered off-white hulks like a mouthful of decayed, cigar-stained teeth. We recognise them from photographs taken in the 1950s, usually showing men ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
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... of ‘Whatever happened to … ?’ So who was he? Michael Ovitz was born in Chicago in 1946 to David, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants. David was a liquor salesman for Seagram’s but he worked weekends too, selling patio furniture to support his family after they moved to Encino in the San Fernando Valley. ‘The ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... to be gaining a presence not just in politics but in pop culture too. That same month, May 1976, David Bowie was photographed at Victoria Station on his return to Britain after two years in North America. Standing in an open-topped Mercedes, he appeared to give his fans some kind of open-handed, straight-armed – possibly fascist – salute. Soon afterwards ...

Hanging Offence

David Sylvester, 21 October 1993

... of Josef Albers shows bias. The exclusion of Mark di Suvero means the omission of the one artist (David Smith is something else) who has created a sculptural equivalent of Abstract Expressionism, the movement which forms the nucleus of the exhibition. The exclusion of Chuck Close, accompanied by the inclusion of three large works by Jonathan Borofsky, can ...

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