Category Archives: History

June 07

Beau Brummell: The Dandy as Social Revolutionary

On the 7th of June 1778, the most famous dandy in Regency England Beau Brummell was born in Downing Street, London. Despite his middleclass background, he studied at Eton and Oxford, where he quickly gained popularity among his school friends and tutors, always challenging the official dress codes with his reinvented looks. His wit, originality and […]

June 02

The Portrait Miniature: Art-Object-Memory

On the 2nd of June 1804, Danish 18th century Court miniaturist and Royal Danish Academician Cornelius Høyer died in København, Denmark. The works Høyer executed for the Danish and other European courts were diminutive in size, often 40 mm × 30 mm or approximately 1-1.5 inches, oval or round in shape. Among his best known […]

May 31

Joseph Grimaldi: London’s Biggest Clown

On the 31st of May 1837, Joseph Grimaldi, the most popular entertainer of the Regency period, died in Islington, Greater London, England. His death, precipitated by depression and alcoholism, as well as frequent injuries caused by his risky on-stage behaviour, was a sad coda to his most exciting life. Known as the inventor of the […]

May 23

A Historical Framing of Bonnie and Clyde

On the 23rd of 1934, Dallas outlaws and robbers Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow were ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Black Lake, Louisiana. Their exploits captured the attention of the American public during the “public enemy era” between 1931 and 1934 in the Great Depression. Though known today for his […]

May 19

Oscar Wilde in Prison

On the 19th of May 1897, Irish writer Oscar Wilde was released from prison after serving a two year  sentence for criminal sodomy and “gross indecency”. He had to go through hard labor and major deprivation, a very problematic situation for a hedonist accustomed to his creature comforts. His experiences in prison were the basis […]

May 16

Teen Marriage: Marie Antoinette & Louis-Auguste

On the 16th of May 1770, the wedding of Marie Antoinette and Louis-Auguste was held at Versailles in the Chapel Royal. Following three centuries of rivalry, France and Austria had finally become allies in 1756, so in order to cement their fresh diplomatic ties, Louis XV and the Empress Maria Theresa arranged the marriage of […]

May 13

Is God a Woman? The Visions of Julian of Norwich

Here is a vision shown by the goodness of God to a devout woman, and her name is Julian, who is a recluse at Norwich and still alive, A.D. 1413, in which vision are very many words of comfort, greatly moving for all those who desire to be Christ’s lovers. (Julian of Norwich, Showings) On […]

May 12

Florence Nightingale’s Dark Decade

On the 12th of May 1820, Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Tuscany, the city she owes her name to. She was a national heroine in her lifetime already, elevated to near sainthood by some and bitterly criticised by others. Much of this is due to the fact that this complex and dedicated woman had often […]

May 11

Inorganic vs Organic in Paul Nash’s ‘Totes Meer’

On the 11th of May 1889, British Surrealist painter and war artist Paul Nash was born in London. The older brother of the artist John Nash, he started his professional education at the Chelsea Polytechnic, from which he moved on to the London County Council School of Photo-engraving and Lithography. Eventually, after being spotted by […]

May 10

The National Gallery Before Trafalgar Square

“Monday, 10th of  May, 1824, probably did not strike contemporaries as especially notable. At the Guildhall Court ‘Eliza Cockburn, a rather interesting-looking girl, about 15 years of age, was charged with attempting to set fire to the house of her master.’ Kean was unable to appear in the title role in Richard III at Drury […]