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Shaun Whiteside offers an inside view


The responsibilities of historical filmmakers in an age of ignorance, by Alex von Tunzelmann


Lucy Inglis on the story behind one of London’s grandest Squares

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Breguet, the innovator.

Invention of a peerless style, 1775 Determined to renew the traditional design of late 18th century watches, Breguet replaced their elaborate embellishments with a timeless design of refined simplicity. It is embodied in the ultra-slim Classique 5157 model that today perpetuates the Breguet style and its distinctive features: an elegantly slender profile, a fluted case, Breguet moon-tip hands and an engine-turned gold dial. History is still being written ...


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joined the library in 2007

Mark Crick is a writer and illustrator whose books include Kafka’s Soup: A History of World Literature in 17 Recipes (2005); Sartre’s Sink, The Great Writers’ Complete Book of DIY (2008); and Machiavelli’s Lawn: The Great Writers’ Garden Companion, published this month.

Brent Elliott

joined the library in 1976

on your doorstep

Brent Elliott was formerly Librarian and is now Historian of the Royal Horticultural Society. Among his books are Victorian Gardens (1986) and The Royal Horticultural Society: A History 1804–2004 (2004). Formerly Editor of Garden History, he now edits Occasional Papers from the RHS Lindley Library. His next book will be Flora: The Paris Manuscripts (2012), a title in the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo series.

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joined the library in 2000

Lucy Inglis is a historian and Blogger-inResidence at the Museum of London. Her own blog, was voted Website of the Year 2009 by readers of History Today magazine, and in January 2010 won an unprecedented two Cliopatria awards. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and her first book, Georgian London, will be published in spring 2012 by Penguin Books.

Alex von Tunzelmann joined the library in 2004

Alex von Tunzelmann’s Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007) has been optioned for feature-film production. Red Heat, her new history of the Cold War in the Caribbean, is published next month. Her Reel History column for the Guardian website appears every Thursday ( series/reelhistory).

Shaun Whiteside joined the library in 1995

Shaun Whiteside is a former chair of the Translators Association. His most recent translations are The Weekend by Bernhard Schlink and Manituana by Wu Ming (both 2010).

Berry Bros. & Rudd 3 St James’s Street, SW1 Opening Hours Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm Saturday 10am to 5pm Sunday and Bank Holidays closed Visit or call 0800 280 2440

Elizabeth Wilson

joined the library in 1993

Elizabeth Wilson is Visiting Professor at the University of the Arts London. She is the author of a number of non-fiction works, including Adorned in Dreams: Fashion and Modernity (1985, reissued 2006), The Sphinx in the City (1993) and Bohemians: The Glamorous Outcasts (2000); as well as crime novels, The Twilight Hour (2006), War Damage (2009) and the forthcoming Dying for Peace. She lives in London with her partner.


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We are happy to announce a loan exhibition


From 10th to 20th May 2011 11am to 5pm (closed Sunday) Entry £8 including catalogue No concessions – for the benefit of The Prince’s Trust Cherry blossom spray by Vever. c.1900. Length 29cm. Private collection. © Courtesy of Sotheby’s

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7/2/11 09:49:40

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London Library Magazine Spring



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Over My SHOULDER Writer and illustrator Mark Crick, whose book Machiavelli’s Lawn: The Great Writers’ Garden Companion is published this month, describes the essential role that the Library – not least its exercise books – plays in his working routine How did you first become a member of the Library? My first publisher recommended the Library to me. It was love at first sight. How frequently do you use the Library? I probably average one visit a week. Mondays and Tuesdays are my favourites, when I can put in a long day. When I do, I always feel that the day has been well spent. How do you use the Library? Do you study books there or take them home? With any book I take down from the shelf there’s a sort of courtship that takes place. It usually begins with a quick paragraph in the stacks. If it goes well we might move on to a desk or even the armchairs in the Reading Room. At the end of the day, if I’m still interested, I’ll take the book home and keep it for weeks. How do you physically research and prepare your books? Pen and paper is the best. I’m devoted to London Library exercise books and my Dupont pen. With paper you can work anywhere, you can doodle illustrations in the margin and you’re spared the burdensome demands for electricity made by an ageing laptop. It also benefits from being useless for email and surfing the internet.

Do you borrow books for pleasure as well as research? I rarely borrow books for pleasure, though I did discover the Children’s Books section recently and was very tempted by Stig of the Dump. Do you think there is a typical London Library person? Are you that person? I doubt many members like to think of themselves as typical. I do have elbow patches on my corduroy jacket, so I imagine I look fairly typical to the observer on the Square, and I occasionally doze off in the Reading Room.

Are there sections of the Library that you tend to go to? Do you generally use books

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on your particular subject, or do you explore other subject areas? Where I spend my time largely depends on what I’m writing. Lately I’m in History and Biography a lot, but while I was researching the illustrations for Machiavelli’s Lawn I spent a lot of time in the Art department, making occasional sorties to S. Garden.

With any book there’s a sort of courtship that takes place. It usually begins with a quick paragraph in the stacks

Unknown biographer among the Library book stacks, drawn in a Library exercise book, by Mark Crick, 2010.

Is there anything else that influences your work apart from books? Travel, food, friends, film, art. What book are you ashamed that you haven’t read? Is there a book you’ve discussed at length but never read? I refuse to be ashamed of any gaps in my reading history; there are too many of them. I prefer to anticipate the unread classics, like War and Peace, that are waiting for me. As for discussing books that I haven’t read, as with countries I haven’t visited or people I haven’t met, I see no harm, it whets the appetite. Has the London Library had any influence on your work? Yes. It gives me confidence. Is there a book you’ve particularly enjoyed recently? Portnoy’s Complaint. It was my first meeting with Philip Roth and I loved it. Do you have favourite libraries or bookshops you tend to go to when visiting other cities? I’m registered as a reader at several libraries in Paris. The Mazarine and the SainteGeneviève are extraordinary. I spent an afternoon recently in the vast interior of the Cultura bookshop, in São Paolo, but small independents like La Hune and Librairie des Abbesses in Paris, or Much Ado Books in Alfriston, East Sussex, are more my cup of tea. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 9

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Writer Elizabeth Wilson describes the post-war British history and biography titles from the Library’s collections that were most helpful in researching her two recent crime novels Elizabeth Wilson’s War Damage (2009).

My 2009 novel, War Damage, and my forthcoming Dying for Peace (working title, to be published in 2012) are linked crime novels following the fortunes of a group of post-war Fitzrovians. Location is a crucial aspect of crime fiction, and I felt that austerity Britain would work well as the background. The contradictory shabby-chic atmosphere, and the depressed aftermath of war, seemed perfect for sordid impulses and dark crimes.  An Underworld at War: Spivs, Deserters, Racketeers and Civilians in the Second World War by Donald Thomas (London 2003). H. European War II. In spite of its title, this is a fairly comprehensive social history of the 1940s, including the post-war half-decade of austerity. Inevitably it is something of a refreshing counter-history, focusing on the non-heroic and positively bolshie aspects of the Home Front. A fair proportion of the crime dealt with, however, is really the desperate efforts of ordinary people to cheat a bit on the rations, clothes coupons and other restrictions that made life so difficult.  Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Mosley and the Resurrection of British Fascism after 1945 by Graham Macklin (London 2006). H. England. A disturbing account of fascism’s brief postwar resurgence. It seems extraordinary that, with memories of the concentration camps still fresh, Mosley appeared briefly about to stage a comeback, drawing on a still potent vein of anti-Semitism fuelled by events in Palestine, such as the activities of Irgun, the Israeli terrorist group.  Autobiography by Richard Buckle (2 vols., London 1981–2). Biog. Buckle. I drew on this autobiography by the ballet critic and writer for a character in War Damage, a balletomane. This memoir is delightful, amusing and fairly laid back about Buckle’s sexuality, while remaining

discreet, but it is serious at the same time in its account of the dance world at the mid-century.  Austerity in Britain: Rationing, Controls, and Consumption, 1939–1955 by Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska (Oxford 2000). H. England, Social &c. This is a detailed socio-economic account of circumstances that necessitated austerity post-war, based on meticulous research. It is an academic account, but accessibly written, and describes the effect of scarcity and controls on the general public and the differing responses of men and women to the situation.  Austerity Britain 1945–1951 by David Kynaston (London 2007). H. England, Social &c. This is an amazing source for all sorts of details about daily life on the domestic front. Much of the detail, though at times overwhelming, is fascinating, and more than useful to someone trying to recreate period atmosphere. The advertising jingles, the government posters, the wireless programmes: they’re all there.  Portrait of the Artist as a Professional Man by Rayner Heppenstall (London c.1969). Biog. Heppenstall. A lively account of working at the BBC Third Programme. Heppenstall lovingly describes the pubs, the personalities, the work practices and above all the pride that he and his colleagues took in the quality

of the Third Programme, which was the forerunner of Radio Three but not primarily a music channel, and maintained a relentlessly challenging intellectual content.  Muriel Spark: The Biography by Martin Stannard (London 2009). Biog. Spark. The late 1940s–early 1950s section gave me many insights into women’s lives in a man’s world at the time. It is an accomplished portrait of an unusual and ‘difficult’ woman, who overcame many setbacks in pursuit of her art. I am not very sympathetic either to her or her writing, but I did enjoy this biography.  Anthony Blunt: His Lives by Miranda Carter (London 2001). Biog. Blunt. This is an outstanding biography, one of the best I have read, meticulously researched and very well written. Carter avoids the ‘traitor’ label, exploring the art historian’s complex, divided personality and placing him in the circumstances of his time, painting the portrait of a likeable and in many ways admirable individual, who was stoical and dignified about his fate.  City Divided: Berlin 1955 by Ewan Butler (London 1955). T. Germany. Dying for Peace is based partly in Berlin. This excellent journalistic account gave me masses of useful descriptive material. It is not reflective or analytical, but in his exhaustive trawl round all sectors of Berlin, Butler gives an at times almost photographic feel of the place.


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              

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TRANSLATION by Shaun Whiteside


caller to a recent edition of Any Answers on Radio Four confidently predicted the demise of the linguist: since the invention of Babelshot, an iPhone app that automatically translates any foreign language just by looking at it, all translators will soon be redundant, and there will be no need for anyone to learn a foreign language ever again, whatever the Education Secretary might have to say on the matter. Either we translators will have to find something else to do pretty quickly, or else (perhaps) there may be more to the situation than

‘A world of disorderly notions, picked out of his books, crowded into his imagination’, by Gustave Doré, from Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (1863), 1906 edition.

that caller suggested. I can’t remember the world of literary translation ever being quite as confident and outgoing as it is right now – translation prizes attracting a lot of public attention, a rising generation of translators who aren’t afraid of the spotlight, endless and lively public discussions. One might be forgiven for thinking that a law had been passed making it compulsory to read Scandinavian crime fiction on public transport. Even the Queen’s speech last Christmas was about a translation, the King James Bible, which has, of course, just celebrated its 400th birthday. Edith Grossman, most celebrated as the translator of Gabriel García Márquez and of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote (1863), asks in her wonderful book Why Translation Matters (2010): ‘Why, for example, does translation matter to translators, authors, and readers? Why does it not matter to most publishers and book reviewers?’ And yet increasingly it does matter to them – translators are almost always credited in newspaper reviews now, and publishers have discovered that translated fiction isn’t just a minority interest, but rather an art that suddenly seems to have captured the public imagination. Translation is also an art of constant negotiation, a demonstrably imperfect one, that attempts to convey the sense and the mood, the timbre and texture, of a piece of writing from one language to another. Different languages have different

histories, of course, different references, different music. And that’s where the mystery of translation comes in – I can remember the hairs standing up on the back of my neck when I first read Hans Wollschläger’s 1975 German translation of Joyce’s Ulysses (1922), and being struck by the fact that it was like seeing Joyce in English, but through very faintly tinted glass. It was all there, somehow, and yet it was Joyce in German: ‘Staatlich und feist erschien Buck Mulligan am Treppenaustritt, auf dem gekreuzt ein Spiegel und ein Rasiermesser lagen. ’ Years later, like seeing a magic trick one once saw as a child, I think I can begin to grasp how it’s done: a gentle tinkering with syntax and word order, a deliberate clumping of consonants, until the voice is there. Yes, some adjectives there are swapped for adverbs here, but the melody is still present. As a translator one seeks to inhabit the author’s voice, and when it works the effect is almost alchemical, the essence of the voice persisting through its transmutation. And yet what has happened? We haven’t, like Jorge Luis Borges’s Pierre Menard, rewritten Don Quixote (or whatever book we happen to be translating); we’ve recreated it, if we’re successful, in a subtly different medium with subtly different requirements, while retaining as far as possible its sense and its melody. Ralph Manheim, perhaps best known as the translator of Günter Grass and Bertolt Brecht, likens the translator to an actor speaking as the author would


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Yuri Temirkanov’s 1982 production of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s lyric opera Eugene Onegin (1879) at the Mariinsky (Kirov) Theatre, Leningrad, with Alexey Markov as Onegin and Viktoria Yastrebova as Tatiana. Photo: Natasha Razina. Courtesy the Mariinsky Theatre.

I can’t remember the world of literary translation ever being as confident as it is right now

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speak if the author could speak English. So what is lost in the shift from one language to another? Writing about the problems translating Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin (1833) into English, Vladimir Nabokov asserts: ‘It is when the translator sets out to render the “spirit” – not the textual sense – that he begins to traduce his author. The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase. ’ The translation, that is, should read like a translation. Susan Sontag agrees: ‘The translator’s primary duty is to stay as close as possible to the original text with the understanding that the result will, precisely, read as a translation. ’ Nabokov’s argument would be more compelling were it not for the fact that his version of Pushkin’s ‘novel in verse’ lies flat on the page, stripped of all its Byronic charm and music. Here’s Nabokov’s 1946 translation: My uncle has most honest principles:/ When taken ill in earnest,/
He has made

one respect him/
And nothing better could invent./
To others his example is a lesson;/
But, good God, what a bore/
To stick by a sick man both day and night,/
Without moving a step away! And here’s the most recent Penguin Classics translation, by Stanley Mitchell (2008): My uncle is a man of honour,/ When in good earnest he fell ill,/
He won respect by his demeanour/
And found the role he best could fill./
Let others profit by his lesson,/
But, oh my God, what desolation/
To tend a sick man day and night/
And not to venture from his sight! Mitchell, to my mind at least, captures both sense and spirit, while Nabokov’s version is at best an academic exercise – scrupulously accurate, but stripped of its artistry. The strangest thing about this is that, when Nabokov translated Alice in Wonderland into Russian, he took the THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 13

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greatest liberties. His mouse, for example, no longer came over with William the Conqueror, but arrived with Napoleon in his march on Moscow; Lewis Carroll’s parody nursery rhymes and parlour ballads are replaced with folk-songs that would have had a similar resonance for his fellow Russians. This is perhaps the most important area that the translator has to negotiate – whether, in the jargon, to ‘foreignise’ or to ‘domesticate’ – do we gloss over linguistic differences, and the patterns of thought that may run through them, or do we, as Sontag suggests, bring them to the fore? To quote Friedrich Schleiermacher’s 1838 essay ‘On the Different Methods of Translating’: ‘The translator either disturbs the writer as little as possible and moves the reader in his direction, or disturbs the reader as little as possible and moves the writer in his direction. The two approaches are so absolutely different that no mixture of the two is to be trusted. ’ At present, the former tendency would appear to be in the ascendant. This must ultimately be to the good, and as a trend it trusts the reader to be able to make imaginative leaps – that is, if the foreignness of the source language and

the uniqueness of the writer’s style are not unhappily conflated. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, for example, have excited considerable controversy with their translations of Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol and, particularly, Tolstoy, for redefining the style of the Russian authors, and deliberately failing to recognise that, from the translations of Constance Garnett onwards, the Russians have been recast as honorary Englishmen. Pevear’s and Volokhonsky’s method has attracted much attention – Volokhonsky, a native Russianspeaker, produces a literal translation with comments upon the style, and Pevear, who – crucially – doesn’t speak the language, turns that into literary English. Yet a comparison with a ‘traditional’ English translation reveals that the divergences aren’t as radical as one might have imagined. Yes, the passages of War and Peace in French are left as French (with footnotes), and certain names have been changed, but the comparison makes it plain that there is a consistency of literary style that survives the transition into English, as long as the task is performed by a skilled and sensitive translator. A brief passage from Anna Karenina, first in Constance Garnett’s version of 1901: She tried to fling herself below the wheels of the first carriage as it reached her; but the red bag which she tried to drop out of her hand delayed her, and she was too late; she missed the moment. She had to wait for

the next carriage. A feeling such as she had known when about to take the first plunge in bathing came upon her, and she crossed herself. And in Pevear and Volokhonsky (2004): She wanted to fall under the first carriage, the midpoint of which had drawn even with her. But the red bag, which she started taking off her arm, delayed her, and it was too late: the midpoint went by. She had to wait for the next carriage. A feeling seized her, similar to what she experienced when preparing to go into the water for a swim, and she crossed herself. There is a striving for greater precision here – the midpoint rather than the moment, the arm rather than the hand – and the overall effect is of a thin layer of dust being blown away, to reveal a vividness beneath, a little more rough-hewn and arhythmical than the English Tolstoy we’re used to. Much the same is true of Edith Grossman’s delightful 2005 version of Don Quixote, which is light, quick and funny. Translators have, in a sense, an unfair advantage – works can be constantly updated, rematched to the needs of contemporary readers, in a way that the originals, by their very nature, never can. Perhaps the most fascinating of the recent batch of retranslations has been Lydia Davis’s reworking of the first volume of A la recherché du temps perdu, Du côté

Top left Leo Tolstoy, aged 20, 1848. Right Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace (1869), 2008 edition. Far right Marcel Proust’s The Way by Swann’s, translated by Lydia Davis (2002), 2003 Penguin Classics edition.


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THE ART OF TRANSLATION Vivien Leigh in a scene from Anna Karenina, 1948, directed by Julien Duvivier. Photo by Pat English/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.

de chez Swann, hitherto domesticated as Swann’s Way, now re-exoticised as The Way by Swann’s (2002). This is a fresh and bright reworking of Proust, which, by staying as close to the original as possible and shedding her predecessor C.K. ScottMoncrieff’s wordy elaborations (‘physical charms’ for ‘corps’, ‘waters of Lethe’ for ‘oubli’), allows Proust’s bold strangeness to re-emerge. Proust’s original (1913): Un homme qui dort, tient en cercle autour de lui le fil des heures, l’ordre des années et des mondes. Il les consulte d’instinct en s’éveillant et y lit en une seconde le point de la terre qu’il occupe, le temps qui s’est écoulé jusqu’à son réveil; mais leurs rangs peuvent se mêler, se rompre. Scott-Moncrieff (1922, revised by Terence Kilmartin in 1981): When a man is asleep, he has in a circle round him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly bodies. Instinctively he consults them when he awakes, and in an instant reads off his own position on the earth’s surface and the time that has elapsed during his slumbers; but this ordered

procession is apt to grow confused, and to break its ranks. Davis (2003): A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds. He consults them instinctively as he wakes and reads in them in a second the point on the earth he occupies, the time that has elapsed up to his waking; but their ranks can be mixed up, broken. (To which one might add, in parentheses, that rereading Proust, in the original or in translation, is one of life’s great pleasures.) Where Scott-Moncrieff performed the invaluable service of introducing English-speaking readers to Proust’s novel, Davis’s translation – the first in the Penguin series edited by Christopher Prendergast – returns her readers to the author’s original flow and syntax, without paraphrase, trusting them to relish even his instances of stylistic awkwardness. It’s a brilliant achievement. So is translation an art? Incontrovertibly, it seems to me, as well as a dialogue – as the Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago

says – between two individuals, ‘and a meeting of two collective cultures that must acknowledge one another’ . As an art, though, it can’t possibly be subject to the prescriptions that some of the sterner theorists have tried to impose on it. We’re going through a heyday of literary translation right now, and not only in the area of retranslation of the classics that I’ve chosen to write about here. Alongside established names like Anthea Bell, Michael Hofmann and Margaret Jull Costa, there’s a rising generation of enthusiastic practitioners working in all the European languages, but also increasingly in Chinese, Arabic and others, as well as an eagerness amongst the public to find out more about it and how it works. Could we be edging towards what Goethe called Weltliteratur? I gather that, since I started writing this piece, another iPhone app has been introduced: this one translates for you when you speak into the iPhone microphone. So far they haven’t invented one, to my knowledge, that can negotiate tone and register, slang, regional dialects and the perennial problem of the formal and the familiar second person. When they do (the iProust?), then perhaps we really should start worrying. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 15

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women control over their own fertility and thus transforming their lives. How would the world look today had Spain conquered the Americas 700 years early, as in Apocalypto (2006)? The movie is set in the Maya collapse of the ninth century, but ends with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors. Real conquistadors did not reach Mexico until the early sixteenth century. In the ninth century, most of what is now Spain and Portugal was a caliphate called Al-Andalus. Had its explorers reached Latin America, that region might today have Islam in place of Catholicism: instead of a colossal Jesus of Nazareth towering over Rio de Janeiro, there could be a minaret. There is nothing wrong with fictionalising historical figures and events. It is part of a great literary tradition, from War and Peace (1869) to Wolf Hall (2009). But where novels allow subtlety and expansion, the feature film compresses and simplifies. Historical movies are usually two or three hours long. Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Napoleon’ , exhaustively planned during the 1970s but never made, was expected to run at ten or twelve hours, though it was scripted at a modest three and a half. Within such constraints, exposition must be crammed into a couple of lines. The effect is frequently absurd. For instance, in The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), this is the explanation of Henry VIII’s break with Rome: Anne Boleyn: Free yourself from a corrupt church! Henry VIII: I’ll be excommunicated! Anne Boleyn: And instead become head of a new church! [She thinks, as if coining a phrase …] The Church of England! Though Reel History treats all historical movies as if they mean to be accurate, of course not all do. Perhaps the most flagrant screen anachronism is in One Million Years B.C. (1966), in which cavemen are seen fighting with dinosaurs (died out 65 million years BC). Its star Raquel Welch comes from a tribe of Homo sapiens (earliest remains date from c.200,000

BC), which appears to have invented bouffants, false eyelashes and bikinis (all pretty much from 1966). But the film was not attempting to give a true picture of the world in the year 1 million BC. It was an excuse for Ray Harryhausen to make stop-motion dinosaurs, and for audiences to watch Raquel Welch jiggle up and down while running away from them. The medieval European crowds watching the tilts in A Knight’s Tale (2001) show their enthusiasm with Mexican waves. It’s in keeping with the film’s anarchic take on the fourteenth century, which also features punk hairstyles, a balade dance set to a David Bowie song, and more than one scene of Geoffrey Chaucer wandering around naked because he has lost all his clothes to his gambling addiction. ‘You’ve probably read my book, The Book of the Duchess?’ he remarks to a contemptuous peasant. ‘No? Well, it was allegorical.’ It would be a shame if filmmakers were forced to stick to the facts, or take their subjects seriously. There is a special joy in the ridiculous historical movie, whether it is intentionally silly, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), or unintentionally so, like 1776 (1972). Not only is 1776 a three-hour movie about the Second Continental Congress of North America, but it is also a musical. There is a minuet about conservatism. There is a waltz about slavery. Abigail Adams, beseeching her husband John to return to Boston, sings: ‘Just tell the Congress to declare independency/ Then sign your name, get out of there and/ Hurry home to me/ Our children all have dysentery. ’ Magnificent. It does not always do a film good to be obsessed with getting things right. Steven Soderbergh’s Che Part One and Part Two (2008) are slavishly faithful to Che Guevara’s Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War (1963) and Bolivian Diary (1968) respectively, but remove character and emotion. The result is an achingly boring trudge through four hours of guerrilla campaigns. A similar fault blights the hypnotically dull Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007). If you’re

Above Che Guevara. Photograph by Alberto Korba, 5 March 1960. Courtesy Museo Che Guevara, Havana Club. Bottom left Bronze 15th-century medal depicting Attila, after an antique original. Department of Decorative Arts, the Louvre, Paris. (Gift of G. Dreyfus, 1876.)

not asleep by the end of the title, you will be by the end of the movie. I’d rather watch the flippant but enjoyable Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), in which two Californian teenagers with a time-machine establish that Napoleon is ‘a short dead dude’ , Caesar is ‘a salad-dressing dude’ , and Genghis Khan is ‘a dude who, 700 years ago, totally ravaged China’ . People have passed History GCSE with less. Irreverence is fine, even healthy. But the words ‘based on a true story’ do mean something, and filmmakers who use them take on a responsibility, both to their audiences and to their subjects. What you see on the screen has a way of worming itself into your memory and staying there. Historical movies, along with mass-market historical novels and TV shows, are the only contact many adults have with the past. A surprising number of people – including people with smart educations – do not question what they watch. For that reason, it is a problem when, in Zulu (1964), Private Henry Hook is depicted as a drunkard who has conned his way into the hospital so that he doesn’t have to do any real work. The real Private Hook, who received the Victoria Cross following the battle of Rorke’s Drift (1879), was a teetotaller with a pristine service record. When she saw her father slandered onscreen as a malingering boozehound, Hook’s daughter walked out of the Zulu THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 17

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premiere. Many viewers assume that the Hook they see on the screen is more or less accurate. It’s less. A lot less. That change was crass. Others are politically suspect. Gay characters are made straight: viewers of Troy (2004) who had read the Iliad suppressed snorts of laughter at the film’s prissy insistence that Patroclus was merely the ‘cousin’ of Achilles. Non-white characters are made white: Sudanese leader Muhammad Ahmad is played by Laurence Olivier in Khartoum (1966); Genghis Khan is played by John Wayne in The Conqueror (1956); even in Jinnah (1998), a biopic of Pakistan’s founder produced and funded in Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is played by Christopher Lee. Scores of movies falsely have their heroes champion a very modern form of freedom and democracy. The silver screen’s unlikely democratic pioneers include the ancient Mauryan emperor Asoka in Asoka (2001); the nation of Sparta in 300 (2007); the Egyptian aristocracy in Caesar and Cleopatra (1945); Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator (2000); Lady Jane Grey and Guilford Dudley in Lady Jane (1986); the Earl of Essex in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939); and Oliver Cromwell in Cromwell (1970). At least the filmmakers avoided trying to make Old Ironsides into a sex symbol. Hollywood’s preference for happy endings does not always fit with the facts, either. In Disney’s Pocahontas (1995), the English settlers and the indigenous peoples of North America all make friends in 1607, along with Pocahontas’s raccoon, hummingbird and magic talking tree. You wouldn’t expect a Disney movie to dwell on the genocide, ethnic and cultural cleansing, land-grabbing and oppression that were really unleashed upon the native

Americans. But is it acceptable to tell children that colonisation was all about happy co-operation? Often, political motives are overtly sinister. Stalin’s secret service, the NKVD, forced Sergei Eisenstein to cut from his Alexander Nevsky (1938) accurate scenes of the Russian hero forging an alliance with the Mongols. In The Ten Commandments (1956), the wicked pharaohs are supposed to be the Soviets, and the brave Hebrews the Americans. One of the film’s stars, Edward G. Robinson, and its composer, Elmer Bernstein, had been victims of McCarthyism. Both were in the process of being ‘rehabilitated’ during filming. In an Orwellian touch, Robinson’s fictional character, Dathan, goes through the same process on screen. Director Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004), scripted in Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic, depicts a group of Jews baying for Jesus’s execution, crying: ‘His blood be on us and our children!’ Following complaints that it was anti-Semitic, Gibson cut the line. ‘I wanted it in, ’ he was reported as saying, ‘But, man, if I included that in there, they’d be coming after me at my house. They’d come to kill me. ’ The ambiguous use of ‘they’ in this context did little to reassure his critics. Moreover, according to Géza Vermes, Professor Emeritus of Jewish Studies at Oxford, the line persists in the final cut in spoken Aramaic. It is only the English

Top left Tondo of an Attic red-figure kylix, c.500 BC, showing Achilles tending Patroclus wounded by an arrow, signed by the potter Sosias. Altes Museum, Berlin. Above A stupa commemorating the Killing Fields at Choeung Ek, Cambodia. Photograph Michael Darter.

subtitle that has been removed. In defence of historical movies, they are capable of getting it right. Sometimes, they get it more right than historians. The otherwise unremarkable Jefferson in Paris (1995) treated Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his slave Sally Hemings as fact, at a time when many historians and biographers argued that it was a malicious lie. Three years after the film was released, DNA testing showed that Hemings’s children were indeed almost certainly fathered by Jefferson. Historical movies can also be a force for good. Days of Glory (2006) exposed the shoddy treatment of Algerian Second World War veterans by the French government. After a screening, Jacques Chirac – then President of France – was so moved that he intervened to grant Algerian veterans the same pension as their French comrades, rather than the paltry one-tenth they had previously been obliged to accept. Finally, it is possible for a movie to be both approximately historically accurate and excellent viewing. Examples include The Lion in Winter (1968), a razor-sharp Plantagenet comedy with Peter O’Toole as Henry II and Katharine Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine; The Madness of King George (1994), a brilliantly scripted look at George III’s struggle with mental illness; The Killing Fields (1984), a moving account of Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge; Gallipoli (1981), Peter Weir’s splendid tale of the 1915 military campaign; and Ran (1985), Akira Kurosawa’s synthesis of King Lear and the real-life story of sixteenthcentury Japanese daimyo Mori Motonari. The writer Alan Moore, several of whose acclaimed graphic novels have been turned into terrible movies, tells an anecdote about Raymond Chandler. Chandler was asked how he felt about Hollywood ‘ruining’ so many of his books. He led the interviewer to a bookshelf. ‘Look – there they all are, ’ he said, pointing at his books. ‘They’re fine. They’re not ruined. They’re still there. ’ Historians may as well adopt the same attitude. The mainstream film industry is driven only by profit, and the accuracy of a historical movie has no discernible effect on its performance at the box office. As historians, we can analyse them; we can also mock them, but we can’t stop them. The best we can do is to savour the unintentional honesty in the tagline of U-571: ‘Nine men are about to change history. ’


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The ‘Builders in St James-fields’ A Short history of st james’s square Architectural historian Lucy Inglis on the changing fortunes of the grand townhouses in what is arguably London’s finest Square


or many members of the London Library, St James’s Square is home from home. Several times a week, I walk up from Pall Mall, cross the garden and arrive at No.14. Many of the buildings in the Square have become old friends, their façades familiar from a decade spent researching Georgian London. The Square has been a bastion of London clubs and institutions for more than a century, yet few will see the buildings ranged on every side in their intended guise: as townhouses for the English aristocracy. The history of the Square is a snapshot of London in her prime: Henry Jermyn, Duke of St Albans (c.1604–84) was to build what is arguably London’s finest Square, and also start the race for London’s aristocrats to become hereditary landlords. Jermyn was described by a contemporary as ‘a man of pleasure … [he] entertains no other thoughts than to live at ease’ . Perhaps the ideal qualifications for a man to build a garden square designed to house London’s wealthiest families. Fire and plague were spurring the building craze in London’s second city. The ancient City of London was at the turn of the eighteenth century a hive of rebuilding after the Great Fire, yet by 1692 not one soul possessed of a hereditary title lived there. The courtiers, and those who made their living through proximity

to the court and royalty, had long ago migrated west, away from the crowds and disease, dwelling in the new Covent Garden development or leasing the old bishops’ palaces along the Strand. When Charles II was restored to the English throne in 1660, he was determined to rule in a style completely opposed to that of his father; relaxed and accessible, he worked hard to please his people and reward the friends who had remained loyal. Henry Jermyn had been a good friend, although his influence

Top A panoramic view of St James’s Square, 2009. Photograph David Iliff. (This file is licensed under GFDL/CC-BY-SA.) Above Henry Jermyn, Earl of St Albans, stipple engraving by Richard Godfrey, after Sylvester Harding, after Sir Peter Lely, published 7 April 1793. © National Portrait Gallery, London.

was deemed to be that of ‘the backstairs and the bed-chamber, but none the less valuable on that account’ . If Jermyn’s influence was indeed that of a friend and confidant, it was also worth money: in 1662 Charles gave him a 60year lease on the 45 acres to the south of Piccadilly. Jermyn, however, soon realised the potential of his lease and petitioned to have the land made over to him, explaining that ‘ye beauty of this great Towne and ye convenience of your Court are defective in point of houses fitt for ye dwellings of Noble men and other Persons of quality’ . In 1665 he became the freeholder, the land granted to him in perpetuity. Like most aristocratic landlords of his time Jermyn was no architect, but he did have a vision for his development and laid out the Square in plots that were to be leased to builders who were to build houses of ‘substantial character’ . He worked with trustees and fellow speculators Sir John Coell and Sir Thomas Clarges to make a plan, overseen, in theory, by the King himself. The City, protective of its water supply and alarmed by the expansion of London, was not so keen, as Samuel Pepys recorded on 2 September 1663: ‘The building of St. James’s by my Lord St Albans, which is now about, and which the City stomach, I perceive, highly, but dare not oppose it. ’  (Comparisons of London with the human body are a common device of the time, THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 19

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in this case with the new development giving the City indigestion.) By 1666 St James’s Square had its first resident, Sir William Stanley, who was living on the north side of the Square. The rate books record him as owing a solitary pound, on which he defaulted. By 1667, Henry Jermyn was living in a house on the north-west corner of the Square (where it meets Duke of York Street), later to become Ormonde House. From there, he could watch over his blossoming development, both in the Square, and north towards Piccadilly. A decade later, the Square had been divided up between speculative builders, such as Nicholas Barbon (son of City eccentric Praise-God-Barebones) and Jermyn’s friends including lords Arlington and Halifax. One of the first occupants, if not the first, on the site of the London Library, was Sir Fulke Lucy, a politician who deserves to be remembered for his splendid name and, like Stanley, for defaulting on his rates. The south side of the Square consisted of a row of houses fronting on to Pall Mall, not nearly as impressive as the rest of the Square, hence most early views look north. In 1676, St James’s Square first appears as a separate place of residence, by which time the King’s ex-mistress Mary, or ‘Moll’ , Davis was living in the south-west corner. Samuel Pepys’s wife Elizabeth called her ‘the most impertinent slut in the world’ , which is presumably how she came by the £1,800 she paid for the property, aged 29. St James’s Church, raised to service

the Square and also the St James’s development, was built to the designs of Christopher Wren after 1672 and was consecrated in 1684. Samuel Clarke, one of Georgian London’s leading thinkers, was Rector for 20 years from 1709, and William Blake was baptised there in 1757. In 1762, Ince and Mayhew, makers of fine furniture for the aristocracy, had the only double wedding to be held there when they married two sisters. In the early part of the eighteenth century, the Square retained its rural, though grand, appearance, echoing the rus in urbe ideal of nearby Buckingham House. Although Jermyn had thought to pave the Square early in its life, it never happened, and by the 1720s the central space was overgrown and beginning to resemble a refuse tip, with rubbish ditched there by all manner of residents and passers-by. It was clear that this could not continue and, in 1726, the residents decided to clean up their act, asking Parliament for permission to rate themselves for enough funds to ‘cleanse, adorn, and beautify’ the Square, which ‘hath for some years past lain, and doth


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Booth’s poverty map of 1898–9 shows the Square clearly marked in the red and yellow of affluence

now lie, rude and in great disorder’ . Worse than the easily removed filth, a local coachmaker had the temerity to build a shed in the centre of the Square in which to store timber. The bill whooshed through both Houses in two months. The new rules included the stipulation that hackney carriages were not allowed to ply, or pick up, in the Square, but must drop off their fare and make the quickest exit. The piles of rubbish were supposed to be replaced with a small ornamental lake and a fountain in 1727. The York Buildings Company won the contract to supply water, and after 1734 the Square was lit at night. Around this time the railings went in to frame the water feature (in roughly the same position, bordering the gardens, as they are today), and the rest of the Square outside them was paved. By 1735, the pedestal for the statue of King William III on horseback was in position where the fountain had been, although it would take until 1808 for the statue itself to appear (the pedestal is omitted from J. Bowles’s famous View of c.1752). Throughout the century, St James’s Square was a favourite venue for displaying fireworks, and many of the houses were illuminated both inside and out during celebrations. From the middle of the eighteenth century, the great buildings began to appear. Matthew Brettingham’s Norfolk House on the south-east side for the Duke of that name was finished by 1756, and whilst the reviews of its splendid interior (some parts surviving in the Victoria and Albert Museum) were favourable, the

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the ‘builders in st james-fields’ plain exterior was unpopular. Norfolk House would remain until 1938, when it was pulled down to make the current offices. The little house at the back where George III was born in 1738 was being used as a storeroom at the time of the building’s demolition. The dominant architects in the Square are Brettingham and Robert Adam, with James Stuart making his mark in 1764 with the Library’s immediate neighbour, No.15, also known as Lichfield House. From 1770, when Robert Adam began his reconstruction of No.20 for Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, the Square cemented its identity as the premier address for London’s townhouse-dwelling aristocrats. It was considered one of the finest of his smaller houses. It was rebuilt in 1936 to include No.21 in its frontage and is used as offices. (Also used as offices is No.33, Adam’s other contribution to the Square.) The fate of No.20 was almost very different when, in May 1884, the Fenians attempted ‘their diabolical pranks with dynamite’ there. They were thwarted by housemaids and the loss to the building was limited to the window-glass. Before the Library came to inhabit No.14 in 1845, the house had previously been occupied by famous miser the 3rd Earl of Carbery, John Vaughan, once Governor of Jamaica, who sold his private chaplain into slavery rather than incur the expense of the man’s travel back to

England. The movement of the Library into the Square from Pall Mall was following a trend started at the beginning of the nineteenth century with the emergence of clubs. The building of Regent Street made the east end of Pall Mall a thoroughfare for the upper classes and well-to-do, and soon clubs such as the Athenaeum and the Travellers sprang up there to cater for those who had to be, or preferred to be, away from home. As many will know, the Library was originally located on the first floor of the Travellers. The Library was established in the Square by the time the Junior Carlton Club (now defunct) and the East India Club moved in. The Square continued to be solidly prosperous. The little lake in the centre was removed during the cholera outbreaks. Booth’s poverty map of 1898–9 predictably shows it clearly marked in the red and yellow of affluence with the words ‘clubs & private houses, clubs just encroaching on private houses’ . So, by the late 1880s, homeowners were being pushed from the Square. One of the most famous was Nancy Astor, the first female MP to sit in the House of Commons, whose home was in what is now the In and Out Club. The twentieth century does not coat itself in glory as far as St James’s Square is concerned. The poor planning of the mid-1930s affected it, as did post-war rebuilding. The embassies, long present in the Square and famous for little more

than an obstinate refusal to pay their rates, became notorious in 1984 with the siege of the Libyan Embassy, at that time occupying No.5. P.C. Yvonne Fletcher was shot during a demonstration, her killer never identified, and today the site is marked with a memorial placed against the railings on the north-east corner of the garden. The Square became quiet and commercial, the Library ticking away in the corner throughout the latter decades of the twentieth century. From 2000 onwards, residents began to return to the Square, with new development drawing back a smart set, but it was in apartments, not houses, and the grandeur of the eighteenth century still eluded St James’s Square. Then, in 2008, Lichfield House changed hands for the first time since 1856, when Clerical, Medical and General had purchased it for £12,750. The new owners set about returning the house to its former glory. Paint and colour historian – and London Library member – Patrick Baty was brought in to advise on how to recreate the splendour of the house in its prime, and the results, as one can see even from the street, are magnificent. The return of Lichfield House to a grand but private residence marks full circle for St James’s Square. For many the Square is a place of work, for some relaxation; for others it is home. For members of the London Library I like to think it is all these things at once.

Opposite, left to right J. Bowles’s View of St James’s Square, c.1752; statue of William III, installed in 1808, detail of panoramic view, see p.19. Photograph David Iliff. This page, left to right St James’s Square depicted in Richard Horwood’s map of London, Westminster and the Borough of Southwark, 1799; Robert Adam’s design for the façade of No.20 St James’s Square, for the owner, Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, engraved by John Roberts, 1777; restored ceiling today in Lichfield House, No.15 St James’s Square, image courtesy of Patrick Baty, 2010. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 21

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Biographical Dictionaries Brent Elliott describes some of the riches to be found in the Library’s collection of biographical resources The great advantage of the London Library has traditionally been its unrivalled lending collections, but the reference material held in its Reading Room is also a resource worth celebrating. In the North Bay of the Reading Room is a collection of biographical dictionaries that covers two walls of shelving, as well as a gallery, reached by a spiral staircase, filling an additional wall at an upper level. Altogether there are more than 90 shelves of such works, augmented by the loan collections of Biographical Collections, Genealogy & Heraldry, and Annuals. I first began using the biographical resources in the late 1970s, when I was compiling a guidebook to Highgate Cemetery, and continued to use them in subsequent years to identify the inhabitants of other cemeteries around which I took tours. (Needless to say, the run of The Times, now reshelved in more sprightly stacks, was also a great source for hunting obituaries.) In those days I was concentrating on English sources. In more recent times, I have been consulting a broader range of biographical materials, while cataloguing the rare books in the Royal Horticultural Society’s Lindley Library for its online catalogue. For the older books, at least, it has been the Society’s ambition to make sure that every contributor to the work is itemised: every artist and engraver, every printer and bookseller/ publisher, every writer of prefaces or commendatory verses, every dedicatee. So for a decade and more I have been visiting the London Library regularly with lists of noble patrons,

cardinals and clergymen, writers of Latin epigrams, and shadowy presences behind miscellaneous pseudonyms to try to identify. Let me begin with the industry standard: the Dictionary of National Biography (DNB), founded by Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, whose 63 volumes appeared between 1885 and 1900, to be supplemented each decade, and eventually every five years, through the course of the twentieth century. The DNB and its successor, the Oxford DNB (61 vols., 2004), take up ten shelves immediately under the gallery. All the entries in the original edition have been retained in its successor, so no one once deemed worthy of inclusion has been cast out. The Oxford DNB is now available online; this has the advantage that new entries can be added online without worrying about issuing supplements. On the other hand, it is available online only to subscribers, so the print copy is still beneficial for researchers. Gaps in the original DNB quickly became apparent. The lawyer Frederic Boase, inspired by the great English historian J.A. Froude’s declaration that ‘we want the biographies of common people’ , accumulated thousands of notices of people of interest who had fallen beneath the DNB’s radar; the results were published in his Modern English Biography (6 vols., 1892–1921), which can be found in the Reading Room. There is much additional material outside the Reading Room, in the Genealogy & Heraldry shelves, to back up the English biographical dictionaries. The United Kingdom has been particularly prolific, from the eighteenth century to the present day, in the production of genealogical records of its aristocracy.

The collections are well stocked with the competing annual directories; never with complete sets (who needs every year?), but with substantial runs from the 1840s onwards, and some earlier issues added by gift or bequest. Here is a sampling, in chronological order according to the first issue held: Burke’s Peerage (from 1828), Knightage (1842) and Landed Gentry (1863); Debrett’s Peerage (from 1828) and Baronetage (1842); Lodge’s Peerage of the British Empire (from 1832); Dod’s Peerage (from 1841, later incorporated into Dod’s Parliamentary Companion); Walford’s County Families (from 1865); Kelly’s Handbook of the Titled, Landed, and Official Classes (from 1878); Foster’s Peerage (1880); Whitaker’s Peerage (from 1900). And then there are the non–repeating compilations, like Cokayne’s Peerage (1887–98), which was revised by Vicary Gibbs (an important gardener, by the way) as The Complete Peerage (1910–12). Add to this Who’s Who located in Annuals, an intermittent set going back to the first issue in 1849 (Annuals will also yield such helpful sources as Crockford’s Clerical Directory, the online version of which has not yet been backdated before 1968). For those in search of Continental nobility, Annuals includes the Almanach de Gotha (from 1830; issues going back to 1791 are held in the safe) and Gothaisches Genealogisches Taschenbuch, supplemented back in Genealogy & Heraldry by its successor, the immense Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels (1951–2007). The DNB was by no means the first biographical dictionary, either for the United Kingdom or for the world. The London Library holds both editions of the Biographia Britannica (1747–66, and the incomplete 2nd edn., 1778–93) in


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its safe. Two national projects that were begun before the DNB will be found in the North Bay: the Svenskt Biographiskt Lexicon (23 vols., 1843–76), and the Biographie Nationale de Belgique (44 vols., 1866–1986). As for universal biographical dictionaries, the most important of these, still an excellent work to use, is the Nouvelle Biographie Générale (46 vols., Paris 1853–66), though the first–time user must adapt to the curious mixture of alphabetical and chronological order. For my cataloguing interests, I make heavy use of Jöcher’s Allgemeines Gelehrten–Lexicon (4 vols., 1750–1), and its revision by J.C. Adelung (2 vols., 1784–7, with only one volume of its later continuation), which allow me to catch a number of now–forgotten eminences. Since the DNB set its example, there have been dictionaries of Irish biography (including the 7–volume Dictionary of Irish Biography, 2009), Ulster biography, Welsh biography, American, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, Jewish, Christian, Catholic ... the list goes on; all these are to be found on the Library shelves. Among them are some major national projects that rival the DNB in scope and detail; and in some cases, like the DNB, are being succeeded by new versions. Some of the older projects have been brought to completion: the Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, compiled by the Dutch Royal Librarian P.C. Molhuysen (10 vols., 1911–37), and the Norsk Biografisk Leksikon (19 vols., 1923–83). The Dictionary of American Biography (24 vols., 1926–37) has been succeeded by the American National Biography (24 vols., 1999). Others struggle on, their production rate subject to the vicissitudes of funding as well as to the fates of contributors. The Dictionnaire de Biographie Française (1933–) is now up to the letter L after 19 volumes; the Österreichisches Biographisches Lexikon (1957–) has reached S after 12 volumes; while the Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (1960–) has taken 73 volumes to reach the letter M. Germany, thanks to reconsiderations forced by twentieth– century events, has been covered with particular intensity. The reader will find a splendid work of the traditional sort, the

Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (55 vols., 1875–1912); both editions (1952 and 1973– 5) of Rössler’s Biographisches Wörterbuch zur Deutschen Geschichte; and its rival, the Neue Deutsche Biographie (1953–), now in the middle of S after 24 volumes. (The treatment of Hitler in Rössler was written by Willi Hoppe, that in the NDB by Joachim Fest.) The further you go from Western Europe and the European colonies, the poorer the literature on the shelves. China is still served by Herbert Giles’s Chinese Biographical Dictionary of 1898, and Russia by the Русский Биографический Словарь, tactfully announced on its spines as ‘Russian Biographical Dictionary’ (25 vols., 1896–1913), which I am afraid remains a closed book for me. One disadvantage of national biographies is that they must cover such a wide range of interests: there will always be omissions, and these must be made up by biographical dictionaries devoted to special subjects. An important seventeenth–century printer like Mary Clark, for example, does not appear in the Oxford DNB; for her, you must consult H.R. Plomer’s series of dictionaries of English printers and booksellers (1910–32). Many of the pioneering printers of Italy have failed to make it into the Dizionario Biografico, and must be sought instead in Fumagalli’s Lexicon Typographicum Italiae (1905), shelved under Bibliography: Printing. A very large category of biographical dictionaries relates to artists. Time was when Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers, originally published in 1816, was thought to be comprehensive. By the time the 5–volume edition of Bryan appeared in 1914–15, it was being superseded by two rival works on the Continent, Thieme–Becker and Bénézit. Ulrich Thieme and Felix Becker began to publish their Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler in 1907; it was completed in 1950, 37 volumes later, and Hans Vollmer followed it with a 6–volume supplement on twentieth–century artists (1953–62). Bénézit’s Dictionnaire Critique et Documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs had its first edition in 1911–23; unlike Thieme–Becker, it exists in an English version – Dictionary of Artists (14 vols., 2006) – the French editions being shelved in the Art stacks. It has always been

worth consulting both Bénézit and Thieme–Becker. They sometimes disagree on names and dates; Bénézit is more up to date for notices of sales, and also sometimes includes facsimiles of artists’ signatures. But scholarship does not stand still, and there is currently a mighty project to replace Thieme–Becker and Vollmer: the Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon (Munich 1992– ), 65 volumes of which have so far appeared, bringing us almost to the letter H. However, as with biography more generally, universal dictionaries will always be challenged by nationally or conceptually narrower ones. There are separate dictionaries of artists for the Swedish (Svenskt Konstnärslexikon, 1962–7), Dutch (Pieter Scheen’s Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars, 1969–70), Canadians (Harper’s Early Painters and Engravers in Canada, 1970), and various other countries, not to mention Algernon Groves’ Royal Academy of Arts: A Complete Dictionary of Contributors (8 vols., 1905–6). There are directories of bird artists, equestrian artists, topographical artists, flower painters, portraitists and silhouette artists, and a Dictionary of Artists’ Models (London 2001); engravers, from Béraldi’s Graveurs du XIXe Siècle (1885) to Dugnat’s Dictionnaire des Graveurs (5 vols, 2001); and truly specialist categories such as E.J. Pyke’s Biographical Dictionary of Wax Modellers (London 1973). Goldsmiths have done particularly well, with Arthur Grimwade’s London Goldsmiths (3rd edn., 1990), Henri Nocq’s classic Le Poinçon de Paris (4 vols., 1926–31) and Wolfgang Scheffler’s Berliner Goldschmiede (1968). Other specialist interests are generously catered for. Music? The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd edn., 29 vols., 2001) is shelved under Music, since its coverage is not restricted to biographical entries, but it is at least near at hand, and can be supplemented with such works as Kutsch’s Grosse Sängerlexikon (1991–4). Theatre? Try that labour of love, Philip Highfill’s Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, &c., in London, 1660–1800 (16 vols., 1973–93), or Mongrédien’s Dictionnaire Biographique des Comédiens Français du XVIIe Siècle THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 23

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(1961). Politics? There are the numerous volumes of The History of Parliament: The House of Commons; dictionaries of Liberal and Labour biography; the 44–volume Dictionnaire Biographique du Mouvement Ouvrier Français (1964–97) by Jean Maitron et al. Law? Try Foster’s Men–at–the–Bar (1885), a directory of lawyers that should have become an annual but didn’t. No one has yet compiled a biographical dictionary of librarians, but a step in that direction was taken a century ago with Bernard Quaritch’s Contributions towards a Dictionary of English Book–collectors (1892–1921). Comparisons between biographical dictionaries treating the same theme, published in different periods, can be illuminating. Newer works do not necessarily replace earlier ones. There are two differing approaches to the problem of coverage: some works aim for quantity, and give brief entries for huge numbers of people, while others offer a select number and provide

detailed interpretative essays detailing their achievements and putting them in context. But contexts and their interpretations change. In the field of science, the dominant work for a generation was the great Dictionary of Scientific Biography (16 vols., New York 1970–80), edited by C.G. Gillespie; this offered detailed essays on a limited number of scientists of world importance. There is now a New Dictionary of Scientific Biography (8 vols., New York 2008), which is naturally more up to date, and gives new interpretations of important scientists’ work, but deals with fewer people, and a narrower range of interests. It seems not to consider botany worthy of the name of science (no Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, no John Lindley, no Joseph Hooker), while it is capable of devoting seven pages to Thomas Kuhn – important to philosophers of science, if not necessarily to scientists themselves. Meanwhile, if

you want brief notes on a great number of scientists (mostly but not all German), you should try Poggendorff’s Biographisch–Literarisches Handwörterbuch der exakten Naturwissenschaften (1863, with supplements into the second half of the twentieth century). This is a tasting of the riches provided by the London Library for its researchers. The collection is international in scope and multidisciplinary; it contains not only modern works but now elderly works going back more than two centuries, providing a good check against the bias of contemporaneity. I know of no other collection where such a wide range of biographical resources is maintained in such readiness for consultation. This page and previous spread A selection of screen prints from the Alphabet series, 2007, by Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy Michael Craig-Martin and the Alan Cristea Gallery. Drawing: A Retrospective Exhibition by Michael Craig-Martin is showing at the Alan Cristea Gallery, Cork Street, London, 4 May–4 June 2011 (

Tim Boswell: winner of the Art in Action Award for Contemporary Glass


Hundreds of artists demonstrating how they work Every July 400 artists, craftsmen, performers, musicians, teachers and lecturers come together in the grounds of Waterperry House, Oxfordshire to demonstrate their skills and love of art. Visitors can observe the creation of sculpture, painting, metalwork, jewellery, textiles, ceramics, woodwork, glass and more. 21 – 24 July 2011 | Waterperry House and Gardens, Oxfordshire


For London Library members. Buy one standard adult entry ticket online and GET A SECOND FREE. Tickets can be used on any day. Go to Use the unique promotional code LONLIX (Terms and conditions apply)

AinA 11 London Library

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9 - 27 July, 2011 ‘A happy marriage of music, opera and books’ The Observer Melvyn Bragg • Dame Ellen MacArthur • Roy Hattersley • Dowager Duchess of Devonshire & Alan Titchmarsh • Will Hutton • A.C. Grayling • Matthew Parris • General Lord Dannatt • Antony Penrose • Salley Vickers • Robin Hanbury-Tenison • Simon Sebag Montefiore • Esther Freud • Miranda Seymour • Virginia Nicholson • Richard Miles • Betsy Tobin • Matthew Rice and many more...

Image: Rob Wilson

• Brochure: 01298 70395

• Tickets: 0845 127 2190 (from 4 April)

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The Royal Literary Fund

Financial Assistance for Writers Grants and Pensions are available to published authors of several works who are in financial difficulties due to personal or professional setbacks. For further details and application form please contact Eileen Gunn, General Secretary, The Royal Literary Fund, 3 Johnson’s Court, London EC4A 3EA Tel: 020 7353 7159 Email: Website:

12 March – 5 June 2011 The Sackler Wing of Galleries Green Park, Piccadilly Circus Supported by

Registered Charity No 219952

Tickets 0844 209 0051 RA Friends go free

Jean-Antoine Watteau, Woman Wearing a Mantle over her Head and Shoulders (detail), c.1718-19. Red and black chalks and graphite on paper, 197 x 179 mm. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, inv. 1831. Photo © Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA / Michael Agee. Exhibition organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

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THE KEATS – SHELLEY MEMORIAL ASSOCIATION invites applications for the

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£3,000 IN PRIZES The winners’ work will be published The essay can be on any aspect of the lives and works of John Keats, P B Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and their circles. It should be of 2,000 - 3,000 words, including quotations. Preference will be given to entries showing originality of thought and written in a clear and accessible style. All sources must be acknowledged. The poem (which may be a narrative) must be original, unpublished and not a parody. It should focus on the theme “Glass” It may be of any length up to 50 lines. Judges’ Panel Chair: Penelope Lively, acclaimed novelist and children’s writer, was born at Cairo in 1933 and brought up there. She came to England in 1945, went to school in Sussex, and read Modern History at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Among her books for children are Astercote (1970), The Whispering Knights (1971) and The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973). A Stitch in Time (1976) won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award. Her first adult novel was The Road to Lichfield (1977), and Moon Tiger (1987) won the Booker Prize. She has written two volumes of autobiography, and her most recent novel is Family Album (2009). She was awarded an OBE in 1989 and a CBE in 2001. Poetry Panel: John Hartley Williams and Matthew Sweeney. Essay Panel: Professor Simon Bainbridge (Lancaster University) and Professor Sharon Ruston (Salford University).

Other conditions of entry: 1. Three copies of your entry should be sent to KSMA Competition Secretary, School of English, The University, St Andrews, KY16 9AR, Scotland. Please enclose an SAE if you want your entry to be acknowledged. Copies of entries cannot be returned and no correspondence will be entered into. For all further information regarding shortlists, date of Awards, etc., please see the KSMA website, 2. All entries must be received by 30 June 2011. Prize winners and a runner-up in each category will be notified in August. There will be a presentation ceremony in London in the autumn. The winners will be announced at that time on the KSMA website, www. 3. You may enter both categories. There is a fee of £5 sterling for a single entry, plus a further £5 for each additional entry in either category up to a maximum of two poems and two essays. Payment must be enclosed, made by cheque, postal order or international money order in favour of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association, or by sterling bank notes. All first-time entrants who are not already Friends of the KSMA will become Honorary Friends for one year.

4. All entries must be typed or word-processed on A4 or foolscap paper, and attached with a paper clip to a typed sheet giving the following: your name, address, a contact telephone number and e-mail address, the title of your essay or poem, and how you heard about the prize. Your entrance fee should also be attached. Please do not use staples, and kindly ensure that your name does not appear on the entry itself. 5. Essays and poems must be in English and your own original and unpublished work, and must not have been submitted to us in a former competition. Copyright remains with you as author, but your entry will be deemed to give consent to first publication in journals nominated by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association. 6. The submission of an entry will be deemed to indicate full acceptance of the above conditions of entry to the competition.

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Lisa Hilton, The House with the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Blue Shutters, shortlisted in Regional Award Shortlist for South Asia and European Adam Foulds, The Quickening Maze, Best First Book, Commonwealth longlisted for the 2011 International Writers’ Prize 2011 Congratulations to the Library IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Andrew Marr, The Making of Modern members who were nominated Jonathan Franzen, Freedom, Britain, More4 Non-Fiction Book for or have won literary or other International Author of the Year, of the Year, Galaxy National Book awards recently Galaxy National Book Awards 2010 Awards 2010 Michael Frayn, My Father’s Fortune, David Nicholls, One Day, winner Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life shortlisted for the Costa Biography of Book of the Year and also of of Montaigne, shortlisted for the Award 2010 Popular Fiction Book of the Year, both Costa Biography Award 2010 Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles, Galaxy National Book Awards 2010; William Boyd, Ordinary Tesco Biography of the Year, Galaxy longlisted for the 2011 International Thunderstorms, longlisted for the National Book Awards 2010 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Jane Gardam, The Man in the Simon Russell Beale, nominated Literary Award Wooden Hat, longlisted for the 2011 for Best Actor, London Evening Anita Brookner, Strangers, longlisted International IMPAC Dublin Literary Standard Theatre Awards 2010, for for the 2011 International IMPAC Award Dublin Literary Award Simon Godwin, nominated for Milton London Assurance (National’s Olivier Theatre)/ Deathtrap (Noel Coward A.S. Byatt, The Children’s Book, Shulman Award for Outstanding longlisted for the 2011 International Newcomer, London Evening Standard Theatre). IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Theatre Awards 2010, for his direction Alan Strachan, and Michael Codron, Putting it On, shortlisted for Sheridan Simon Callow, My Life in Pieces, of Wanderlust (Royal Court Theatre). Morley Prize for Theatre Biography shortlisted for Sheridan Morley Prize Lucia Graves (trans.), Carlos Ruiz 2010 for Theatre Biography 2010 Zafon’s The Angel’s Game, longlisted Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Catrine Clay, Trautmann’s Journey: for the 2011 International IMPAC Amber Eyes, winner of Costa From Hitler Youth to FA Cup Legend, Dublin Literary Award Biography Award 2010; winner shortlisted for the 22nd William Hill Duncan Hamilton, A Last English of New Writer of the Year, Galaxy Sports Book of the Year Award 2010 Summer, shortlisted for the 22nd National Book Awards 2010 Sebastian Faulks, A Week in William Hill Sports Book of the Year London Library Hayfor2011 ad_landscape_Layout 2 09/02/2011 12:07Sarah Page 1 Waters, The Little Stranger, December, longlisted the 2011 Award 2010

Recent literary & OTHER awards

longlisted for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award Shaun Whiteside (trans.), 3 titles longlisted, for the books and translation, for the 2011 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award: Paul Giordano’s The Solitude of Prime Numbers; Wu Ming’s Manituana; Marcel Moring’s In a Dark Wood. Louise Yates, Dog Loves Books, winner, Funniest Book for Children Aged 6 and Under, Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2010 The magazine would welcome any information from members who have won or been nominated for prizes, to be included in future issues. Please send details to:

Library closure on 29 April In addition to the Closed Days published in the most recent Annual Report, the Library will be closed on Friday 29 April for the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday.



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Restaurant LISTINGS & Shopping Guide






3 6 9 11

This is an advertisement feature. To advertise call Janet Durbin on 01625 583180




Al Duca Serving modern Italian cuisine, Al Duca focuses heavily on bringing out the very best elements of what is one of the most acclaimed gastronomic regions of the world. The menu at Al Duca emphasises the use of simple fresh ingredients skilfully combined to bring out the best of a wide range of traditional dishes offered both in classic style and with a new twist, all following Pulze’s ethos to offer reasonably priced good Italian food. Now serving breakfast. 4–5 Duke of York Street, SW1, 020 7839 3090. ALAIN DUCASSE AT THE DORCHESTER Retaining three Michelin stars for the second year running, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester has quickly become one of London’s most exciting restaurants. It is located in a light and elegant room with a contemporary design by Patrick Jouin, which overlooks Park Lane and Hyde Park. The restaurant offers a modern but refined French cuisine, as interpreted by Executive Chef Jocelyn Herland. The Dorchester, Park Lane, W1, 020 7629 8888. THE BAR AT THE DORCHESTER The delights of the cocktail hour have returned to London at The Bar at The Dorchester, which is renowned for its rich, opulent interior and its menu of new and classic cocktails. The Bar boasts a fine selection of spirits,




champagnes and wines, with a menu of elegant tartines, indulgent caviars and a chic afternoon tea. The Dorchester, Park Lane, W1, 020 7629 8888. Bellamy's Restaurant Located in central Mayfair (near New Bond Street), Bellamy’s offers a classic French brasserie menu with an affordable famous-name wine list.Le patron mange ici. Open for lunch Mon–Fri; dinner Mon–Sat. 18–18a Bruton Place, W1, 020 7491 2727. Bentley's Owned by celebrity chef Richard Corrigan, Bentley’s combines an intimate Grill restaurant with a more relaxed Oyster Bar and a lovely ‘al-fresco’ terrace. The Grill focuses firmly on the freshness of Bentley’s fish, meat and game. Open 12–3pm; 6–11pm. The Oyster Bar offers a delicious selection of shellfish and fresh seafood served at the Marble Counter or in the Champagne Bar. Open noon– midnight daily. 11–15 Swallow Street, W1, 020 7734 4756. The fox club The Fox Club is situated a stone’s throw from Green Park and the famous Hyde Park. Our Dining Room is one of London’s best-kept secrets and, for those in the know, a lunchtime essential. The modern European menu changes on a weekly basis, offering refined excellence without being pretentious. The effect is a change from the jaded palate of life. To avoid disappointment it is best to make a reservation. 46 Clarges Street, W1, 020 7495 3656.








Franco’s Franco’s has been serving the community and visitors to St James’s from early morning to late at night, for over 60 years. Situated at the St James’s Street end of Jermyn Street, Franco’s is surrounded by the many lifestyle boutiques, private clubs, art galleries and hotels of the area. Open all day, the personality of the restaurant evolves from a quietly and gently efficient breakfast venue to a sharp and charged lunch atmosphere, to elegance and romance in the evening. The lunch and dinner menus highlight carefully prepared traditional and more modern Italian dishes, and the relaxed and friendly service ensures there is always somebody to greet you with a smile. 61 Jermyn Street, SW1, 020 7499 2211. Getti A modern Italian restaurant at the fast-paced heart of London’s West End, Getti Jermyn Street is an authentic Italian dining venue in London’s historic tailoring district, dedicated to offering a traditional and memorable Italian dining experience. A splendid destination for London locals and tourists alike, Getti Jermyn Street focuses on serving simple, regional dishes from mainland Italy. Private dining available. 16/17 Jermyn Street, SW1, 020 7734 7334. THE GRILL AT THE DORCHESTER Brian Hughson, Head Chef at The Grill, is passionate about using quality produce sourced from the British Isles. In addition to the British and classic grill dishes offered at The Grill, Brian




has reinstated classics from the original Grill menu such as ‘Dish of the Day’, and the traditional roastbeef carving trolley introduced at The Grill when it first opened in 1931. The Dorchester, Park Lane, W1, 020 7629 8888. hix at the ALBEMARLE Situated close to the London Library, this fashionable restaurant offers an outstanding menu of classic British dishes, using local seasonal ingredients. Mark Hix and Marcus Verberne offer a full à-la-carte menu alongside a special set-lunch, pre-theatre and dinner menu of £27.50 for 2 courses and £32.50 for 3 courses. HIX at The Albemarle is also home to an amazing collection of British art including pieces by Tracey Emin and Bridget Riley. Brown’s is also home to the award-winning English Tea Room and the chic Donovan Bar. Brown’s Hotel, Albemarle Street, W1, 020 7518 4004. THE PROMENADE AT THE DORCHESTER Very much the heart of the hotel, The Promenade is open all day for informal dining, serving breakfast, morning coffee, lunch, afternoon tea and a light supper menu. A perfect place to watch the world go by and enjoy The Dorchester’s world-famous traditional afternoon tea. The Dorchester, Park Lane, W1, 020 7629 8888. Wiltons Established in 1742, Wiltons enjoys a reputation as the epitome of fine English dining in London. The atmosphere is perfectly


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matched with immaculately prepared fish, shellfish, game and meat. Choose from an exclusive wine list. Open for lunch and dinner, Mon–Fri. To make a reservation, please quote the London Library Magazine. 55 Jermyn Street, SW1, 020 7629 9955.

400 designs each season to choose from. Please show your London Library membership card to obtain your discount. 112a Jermyn Street, SW1. 020 7925 1299.

MEMBERS’ OFFERS BLACKS The Library has partnered with Blacks club in Soho to bring an additional outstanding member benefit throughout 2011: Blacks is allowing London Library members access to its elegant private club from 11am–6pm daily (show your Library membership card on entry). Take a break to enjoy the club’s open fires, comfortable sofas and outstanding food and wine, just ten minutes walk from St James’s Square. 67 Dean Street, W1. 020 7287 3381. D.R. HARRIS D.R. Harris, Royal Warrant holder to HRH The Prince of Wales and purveyor of fine soaps, fragrances, shaving creams and other luxury grooming products, is pleased to welcome you into the store, or to visit us online, to enjoy an exclusive 10% discount (quote ‘London Library’ along with your membership number). From soaps to shaving creams, body lotions to skincare, as well as our newly launched Naturals collection, sample something special with D.R. Harris. 29 St James’s Street, SW1. 020 7930 3915. EMMETT SHIRTS Emmett Shirts are delighted to offer a 10% discount until 30 June 2011 to London Library members on their first purchase from our range of ready-to-wear shirts. If you appreciate superior quality and are looking for a degree of exclusivity, then visit our shops at Jermyn Street, King’s Road and Eldon Street, where there are over

FLORIS Still run by the original family from 89 Jermyn Street, Floris continue to create exquisite English perfumes that stand the test of time. To celebrate their 280th anniversary Floris are delighted to offer London Library members a 15% discount and a complimentary Rosa Centifolia Hand Treatment Cream worth £10 when they spend £70 pounds or more in the Floris Shop. Offer closes 30 June 2011. 89 Jermyn Street SW1. 020 7930 2885. FOSTER & SON Foster’s is renowned for its exquisite bespoke and ready-towear boots, shoes and slippers; traditional English bridle leather luggage, cases and accessories; repair and refurbishment of shoes; and high-quality leather goods. Each item is made in England in the traditional way and can be bought in the shop or commissioned to give a unique, beautifully crafted product custom-made to individual specifications. Fosters is offering a 10% discount to London Library members on proof of membership. 83 Jermyn Street, London SW1. 020 7930 5385.

GRANTA Displaced, outsider, disjointed, foreign, excluded … are we all, in some way, aliens? Granta 114: Aliens, explores what it means to be an outsider. With new stories from Roberto Bolaño, Paul Theroux and Booker Prizewinner Aravind Adiga. Subscribe now and receive Granta 114: Aliens free of charge. Visit for details. IAN NORRINGTON Established in 1977, Ian Norrington specialises in cultured pearl jewellery and the supply of beautifully crafted seal-engraved signet rings and engraved cufflinks. His extensive knowledge of diamonds and the

jewellery industry was gained as a former executive of De Beers. He is a Liveryman of the prestigious Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, which received its Royal Charter in 1327. A detailed colour brochure with prices is available on request. A 10% discount is available to members of the London Library – please quote your membership number. The Studio, Old Searchlights, Runwick Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 5EF. 01252 820585. LALIQUE René Lalique is synonymous with creativity, beauty and quality. This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth by reproducing some of his iconic designs.

In 2009 the Lalique Company merged with Daum Crystal and the famous porcelain maker Haviland in order to offer a wider range to its clientele. To members of the London Library, Lalique is pleased to offer a 10% discount on its collections on production of their membership card. 47 Conduit Street, W1. 020 7292 0444. ROYAL SCHOOL OF NEEDLEWORK The original designs and information about the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) make the Handbook of Embroidery a unique historical document, whilst the introductory essay by Lynn Hulse provides a fascinating insight into the early history of the RSN, and the RSN’s influence on the history of art embroidery, design and women’s social and economic history. Special 10% discount for London Library Members: £18 (full price £20). Post & packing extra (UK £3; Europe £5; Rest of world £10). To order, email, or call 020 3166 6935. Please quote LL0311. Offer valid until 15/06/11. The Royal Society of Literature The RSL are very happy to be able to offer London Library members one year’s subscription to the RSL at the discounted rate of £40 (RSL membership usually costs £50 per year). Membership entitles you to come to all regular RSL events (around 24 a year) free of charge; to have priority booking to our partnership events with other organisations including the LSE, the Royal Society, the European Cultural Commission and Kings Place; to have priority booking for writing master-classes; and to receive the RSL Review, the annual magazine. Members are also invited to the summer party and awards ceremony. Please contact Hazel Tsoi-Wiles, on 020 7845 4677, or Please quote your membership number to claim this offer, valid until 31 July 2011. THE LONDON LIBRARY MAGAZINE 31

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Books at Bonhams Approximately ten sales a year in London and Oxford Forthcoming Book, Map, Manuscript and Historical Photography sales: 22 March, London 19 April, Oxford 7 June, London 28 June, Oxford 27 October, Oxford 22 November, London 29 November, Oxford

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Illustrated: Monastic Ruins of Yorkshire, 2.vol. by William Richardson and Edward Churton, 1843 Bonhams 101 New Bond Street, London W1S 1SR

Issue 11  

Issue 11 of The London Library Magazine