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The Rack, the Rapier, the Ruff and the Fainting Nun

Nicholas Penny: Manet/Velázquez, 10 July 2003

Manet/Velázquez: The French Taste for Spanish Painting 
by Gary Tinterow and Geneviève Lacambre et al.
Yale, 592 pp., £50, March 2003, 0 300 09880 4
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... on the walls was a large picture, exquisitely painted by Spagnoletto,’ of the martyrdom of St Stephen. The Spanish school evoked the rack, the rapier, the ruff, the spiral ebony chair-leg and the fainting nun, and a world that was now sufficiently distant or in decline (in The Antiquary it is the invasion of Bonaparte, not the Jacobites, for which beacons ...
... television and I first suggested it to the BBC in 1975, but without success. Then, early in 1978, Stephen Gilbert commissioned it for a series called ‘The Other Side’, also being made from Pebble Mill, Birmingham. The immediate problem was to dramatise the relationship between Great-grandfather and Maxwell, which is merely reported in the story. It was ...

Newspapers of the Consensus

Neal Ascherson, 21 February 1985

The Rise and Fall of the Political Press in Britain. Vol. II: The 20th Century 
by Stephen Koss.
Hamish Hamilton, 718 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 241 11181 1
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Lies, Damned Lies and Some Exclusives 
by Henry Porter.
Chatto, 211 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2841 0
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Garvin of the ‘Observer’ 
by David Ayerst.
Croom Helm, 314 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 7099 0560 2
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The Beaverbrook I Knew 
edited by Logan Gourlay.
Quartet, 272 pp., £11.95, September 1984, 0 7043 2331 1
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... Readers who had encountered its first volume would have known that Stephen Koss’s work on the British political press was monumental. Now it has become his monument in another, brutally unexpected sense, for Stephen Koss died suddenly soon after the completion of the second volume ...

Floating Hair v. Blue Pencil

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1996

Revision and Romantic Authorship 
by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 354 pp., £40, March 1996, 0 19 812264 0
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... that there is something false in the cult of the original unrevised version. He takes issue with Stephen Gill, whose Oxford Authors edition of Wordsworth prints the poems ‘in texts in which their original identity is restored’. Thus all the ‘secondary’ work that resulted in the final authorised text, the six-volume Poems of 1849-50, published at the ...

Give Pot a Chance

Roy Porter, 8 June 1995

Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine 
by Lester Grinspoon, edited by James Bakalar.
Yale, 184 pp., £7.95, April 1995, 0 300 05994 9
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... and Bakalar’s evidence comes from impeccable professional sources. The Harvard biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, is a rare survivor from a generally lethal form of cancer. Chemotherapy induced in him ‘long periods of intense and uncontrollable nausea’ which only smoking joints alleviated. Gould notes that he had never personally approved of ...

Fancy Dress

Peter Campbell: Millais, Burne-Jones and Leighton, 15 April 1999

Millais: Portraits 
by Peter Funnell and Malcolm Warner.
National Portrait Gallery, 224 pp., £35, February 1999, 1 85514 255 4
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John Everett Millais 
by G.H. Fleming.
Constable, 318 pp., £20, August 1998, 0 09 478560 0
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Edward Burne-Jones: Victorian Artist-Dreamer 
by Stephen Wildman and John Christian.
Abrams, 360 pp., £48, October 1998, 0 8109 6522 4
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Frederic Leighton: Antiquity, Renaissance, Modernity 
edited by Tim Barringer and Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 332 pp., £40, March 1999, 0 300 07937 0
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... at all: he was perfectly easy in his role as a successful Academician, paying homage to Reynolds in one painting, emulating the style of Tintoretto in another. But so long as he was loyal to the principles of the Brotherhood he was able to produce memorable, unexpected pictures which are free of the creepiness of Holman Hunt or the emotional ...

World’s Greatest Statesman

Edward Luttwak, 11 March 1993

Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... of the World’s Longest Biography rather than of the World’s Greatest Statesman. From Stephen Ambrose, the indispensable Eisenhowerist who naturally writes of the WSC-Eisenhower relationship, to Philip Ziegler, the tactful Mountbatten biographer who does for WSC and the monarchy, the contributors cover almost every imaginable WSC facet and ...

Who was David Peterley?

Michael Holroyd, 15 November 1984

... of them, or of this book, anywhere. They do not appear in the biography of Arthur Machen by Aidan Reynolds and William Charlton, though Peterley Harvest has some vivid pages on Machen. From this biography, published three years after Peterley Harvest, the facts of Peterley’s narrative may be verified. There was, for example, a dinner held in Machen’s ...

Midwinter

J.B. Trapp, 17 November 1983

Thomas More: History and Providence 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 271 pp., £19.50, September 1982, 0 631 13094 2
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The Statesman and the Fanatic: Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More 
by Jasper Ridley.
Constable, 338 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780094634701
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English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition 
by John King.
Princeton, 539 pp., £30.70, December 1982, 0 691 06502 0
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Seven-Headed Luther: Essays in Commemoration of a Quincentenary, 1483-1983 
edited by Peter Newman Brooks.
Oxford, 325 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 0 19 826648 0
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The Complete Works of St Thomas More. Vol. VI: A Dialogue concerning Heresies. Part 1: The Text, Part 2: Introduction, Commentary, Appendices, Glossary, Index 
edited by T.M.C. Lawler, Germain Marc’hadour and Richard Marius.
Yale, 435 pp., £76, November 1981, 0 300 02211 5
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... from William Roper, Nicholas Harpsfield and Thomas Stapleton in the 16th century to E.E. Reynolds and the pages of Moreana in the 20th – a plaster image. More the Humanist and More the saint are thus convenient and unsatisfying fictions. More’s Humanism was tempered, in fact, by a basic Augustinian pessimism; his sanctity obscures, from many ...

Our Flexible Friends

Conor Gearty, 18 April 1996

Scott Inquiry Report 
by Richard Scott.
HMSO, 2386 pp., £45, February 1996, 0 10 262796 7
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... anybody over BSE? Public disillusion has reached such depths that no one now cares whether or not Stephen Dorrell or Douglas Hogg and their junior colleagues are telling the truth. They probably are at the moment, or at least the truth as they presently believe it to be. The reason the beef industry has collapsed is not that people think they are being lied ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... Quite simply it caused nearly all of the 72 deaths. ‘There’s a moment,’ the fire expert Stephen Mackenzie told me, ‘when the tactics have to move from “remain in place” to “assisted evacuation”.’ It had been obvious from very early on, even to spectators on the ground, that the fire at Grenfell Tower was not going to be put out, that it ...

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