Book review – Bodysnatchers by Suzie Lennox (2016). Digging up the untold stories of Britain's Resurrection Men This was my Christmas read, and one of the most enjoyable non-fiction books I've read for some time. A bit surprising given the subject matter; corpses, the desecration of graves and dissection of cadavers in Georgian era Britain.... Continue Reading →
Painting: The Letter of Introduction (1813) by David Wilkie (we’ve all been in this room)
Today is the anniversary of the death of Sir David Wilkie (18 November 1785 – 1 June 1841). A Scottish painter. When I think of Wilkie, I immediately think of the The Letter of Introduction. The Letter of Introduction (1813) Readers reading series #11 The painting was completed in the same year that Jane Austen's... Continue Reading →
Proof we all have Victorian doppelgangers – spooky!
This is supposed to be a fun post, not serious research. However it is based on something that I'm interested in, the idea of the doppelganger (a ghostly double). See my previous post, 'Rossetti and the doppelgängers'. Every now and then, when looking at Long Victorian photographs and paintings, I see a face that immediately... Continue Reading →
Vocabulary survival guide for Victorian London
Vocabulary you'll need to survive in Victorian London Perusing the Public Domain Review you may eventually stumble upon The London Guide & Stranger’s Safeguard against the Cheats, Swindlers, and Pickpockets (1819). 'A comprehensive guide to help the unwitting visitor avoid falling victim to the various and nefarious crimes abound in early 19th-century London.' The book... Continue Reading →
Marie Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive
I recently learned that some of Marie Curie’s notebooks are still radioactive. Researchers wishing to view them must sign a disclaimer. Many people know that Marie Curie won a Nobel prize for her pioneering research on radioactivity. But perhaps it's not so widely known that she won that illustrious prize twice and, altogether, Marie Curie’s... Continue Reading →
Meet a living “Long Victorian” – born 1832
Jonathan the giant Seychelles tortoise was born c.1832 (perhaps earlier) and, wonderful to say, he's is still going strong. Six years ago Joe Hollins became the first permanent vet on the island of St Helena, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Here he looked after the oldest known land animal in the world, a... Continue Reading →
Photograph (1840) – My grandpa met Shakespeare!
This woman was born in 1746 and could easily have met someone able to say "My grandfather knew William Shakespeare". This is a Daguerreotype photograph of Hannah Stilley, aged 94 (b.1746). This is a woman born into a world when the American colonies were yet to revolt, when Samuel Johnson was working on his A... Continue Reading →
Photograph: 1839 – The first “selfie” in history?
Could this be the first "selfie" in history? It is an 1839 self portrait of Robert Cornelius (1809 –1893). On the reverse of the photo it reads 'The first light picture ever taken'. What pose would you assume if you thought that posterity might stare back at you for eons into the future? Cornelius was... Continue Reading →
Painting: Answering the Emigrant’s Letter (1850)
Readers reading #8 Answering the Emigrant's Letter (1850) - By James Collinson. Oil on panel. 70 x 89cm. Manchester City Art Gallery. A lovely painting - I have looked at it many times in Manchester City Art Gallery (UK). It leaves my imagination free to wrap many stories around it. Not forgetting the amazing, deep... Continue Reading →
Photograph: 1844, Men drinking ale
Life in the Long 19th Century Photograph taken in 1844 by David Octavius Hill (b. 1802 - 1870) The photographer is shown on the right, keeping his subjects relaxed - James Ballantine (left) and Dr George Bell (middle). Bell was one of the commissioners of the Poor Law (Scotland) Act 1845 and author of Day... Continue Reading →