Showing posts from January, 2015

My review of The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose

Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris. 

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother’s Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it’s dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine’s deepest desires. 

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten—her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She’s become possessed b…

On the death of Jane Morris (nee Burden) Oct 19, 1839 · Oxford, England - Jan 26, 1914 · Bath, England

I am in the middle of a blizzard a nor'easter here on the East Coast in the U.S. I had to just do a quick post recognizing the death of Jane Morris nee Burden, wife of William Morris and mother of two daughters Jenny and May Morris.  Sadly, there are no details about the Jane's death except she outlived her husband and 'supposed' former lovers to live to old age.  Here is the last released known photograph taken of Jane Morris. She is seated in the wheelchair on the far right, standing next to her left side is her daughter, May Morris as well as friend Cecil Sharp. Photograph taken at her home she shared with William Morris, Kelmscott, one year before her death in 1913 at a country festival.
Photo published in The Collected Letters of Jane Morris Edited by Frank C. Sharp and Jan Marsh, (my copy).

Also, here is the street where Jane Morris died located as it looks today in Bath, England: 5 Brock Street. photo found online at JaneyMorris BlogSpot.

My review of Lewis Carroll: The Man and his Circle by Edward Wakeling

This new biography of Carroll by leading international authority, Edward Wakeling, presents a fresh appraisal of the man based upon his social circle. Contrary to the claims of many previous authors, Carroll's circle was not child centered: his correspondence was enormous, numbering almost 100,000 items at the time of his death, and included royalty and many of the leading artists, illustrators, publishers, academics, musicians and composers of the Victorian era. Edward Wakeling draws upon his personal database of nearly 6,000 letters, mostly never before published, to fill the gaps left by earlier biographies and resolve some of the key myths that surround Lewis Carroll, such as his friendships with children and his drug-taking. Essential reading for scholars and admirers of one of the key authors of the Victorian age. 
Hardcover: 480 pagesPublisher: I. B. Tauris (January 28, 2015)Language: EnglishISBN-10: 1780768206ISBN-13: 978-1780768205

 "He was, however, a m…

An 1857 Alfred Tennyson mystery solved!

Since my visit to The Morgan Library Museum last February 2014 to conduct some research on Alfred Tennyson and his family; I read through the Tennyson archives held there when one letter Tennyson wrote stood out to me. Since that day, I have been curious about who this photographer was that Tennyson refers to not by name...Thus, the mystery. Alright, its not Agatha Christie, but for me it might as well have been... TENNYSON'S LETTER READS AS FOLLOWS TAKEN FROM THE ACTUAL LETTER I HELD IN MY HANDS AT THE MORGAN MUSEUM THAT DAY. I TRANSCRIBED THE FOLLOWING:

Ap. 25th/57

Dear Sir,
I have this morning received the photographs of my two boys. The oldest is very well likened:  the other, perhaps, not so well.
My best thanks. I wish you had come up here when you were at Freshwater as it is.
I look forward to the pleasure of  making your acquaintance at some future time.

My review of Vanessa and her Sister by Priya Parmar

It can break your heart to have a sister like Virginia Woolf.

London, 1905: The city is alight with change, and the Stephen siblings are at the forefront. Vanessa, Virginia, Thoby, and Adrian are leaving behind their childhood home and taking a house in the leafy heart of avant-garde Bloomsbury. There, they bring together a glittering circle of bright, outrageous artistic friends who will come to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. And at the center of this charmed circle are the devoted, gifted sisters: Vanessa, the painter, and Virginia, the writer.

Each member of the group will go on to earn fame and success, but so far Vanessa Bell has never sold a painting. Virginia Woolf’s book review has just been turned down by TheTimes. Lytton Strachey has not published anything. E. M. Forster has finished his first novel but does not like the title. Leonard Woolf is still a civil servant in Ceylon, and John Maynard Keynes is looking for a job. Together, this sparkling coterie of ar…

A review of Roger Dean's Esoteric London

Esoteric London is such a fun read! Roger Dean has taken his blog posts, his photographs, and with some fitting nineteenth century quotes has created a wonderful guidebook for the adventurer seeking the different aspects of London. 

Let Roger take you through the city of London as he sees it literally and visually with such creative flair you will feel as if you are on a walking tour with the author himself!

I have been to London twice over the years and have done the American tourist thing stopping by in a rushed cattle-like manner the usual sites i.e. the churches, the museums, etc. If you take your copy of, 'Esoteric London' with you, well, get ready for a humorous, smart cracking good time! 

Roger's photographs are beautiful, close-ups of stained glass church windows, cherub statues, lamp posts, the sights and sounds of the hidden and not so hidden sides of London as only Roger Dean can show them.

Every post is witty and concise in his own words ended by a Victorian q…

Daniel Ridgway Knight, American, 1839-1924

Unknown photographer, Daniel Ridgway-Knight in his glass studio in Poissy, France (1892)
His parents were Quakers where he was born in Philadelphia, Pennyslvania. It was a home where you spoke with “thees” and “thous”, with simple manners and inflexible rules. There was a ban on pictures and music and every wall was bare. Daniel, after leaving school in Philadlephia, became an apprentice in a wholesale hardware house. It was under this roof that Daniel began fostering his love of copying in pen and ink engravings from books he borrowed from the Franklin Institute Library. It took him six weeks to complete, every evening. It was sold to his sister for twenty five cents and a bunch of grapes as the story goes! 
Daniel Ridgway Knight owes the start of his professional career to his grandfather who loved looking at his drawings. One day he showed a selection of them to a friend, who insisted on submitting them to dealers and critics. The drawings made the rounds of Philadelphia, and were …