Hello and welcome to our Autumn edition, the last before our twentieth anniversary in 2024! (Who'd have ever thought it?)
This edition contains an interesting assortment of the historical, the curious, and the two combined together. In Art Paul examines a detailed new analysis of a famous Victorian bookcase --now one of the gems of the Ashmolean's collection-- which highlights the era's fascination for vibrant colours. (It would probably have been thrown away in the changing fashions of the interwar period, were it not for the discerning taste of a young Kenneth Clark.)
In sympathy with the somewhat eerie time of year, Mary takes a new look at Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but finds an unexpected parable about friendship and connection. An important new contribution to the history of childhood --this time in the Tudor age-- is reviewed by Paul, along with a groundbreaking study of the Royal Navy in the Age of Revolutions. His reappraisal of the (possibly authentic) country diary Anne Hughes - Her Boke strikes a lighthearted note, as does Mark's appreciation of an entertaining new book on the strange phenomenon of Dickensian Tourism. The rural memoir theme continues in my overview of John Moore's alternately delightful and repellent Brensham Trilogy, while Neil uncovers much humour in a recently published account of the machinations surrounding the monster Bacon exhibition in 1980s Moscow, a truly bizarre milestone of perestroika.
Music includes my comparison of the two great London beat groups the Small Faces and the Kinks, exploring how their vastly different neighbourhoods of origin fostered their distinctive sounds and preoccupations. Finally, Em provides reviews of two new releases: a spiritually moving collection of sacred music by John Pickard, and a rousingly cheerful compilation of Eric Coates' light music.
See you next spring for the first of two twentieth anniversary editions, when (in the spirit of the Carroll Gibbons song) we are going to get lit up like we've never been before!!--The Editor