Lord Herbert of Cherbury

9781108065634fc3dA Stuart diplomat, philosopher and courtier’s fascinating life

Edward, Lord Herbert, must be best known as the sitter (or lier-down) in the portrait by Isaac Oliver showing him resting, booted and spurred, in a woodland glade after fighting a duel. He is using his shield as a duvet, while in the background his page holds his elaborately crested helmet, his black-and-gold armour hangs from a tree, and his richly caparisoned horse paws the ground impatiently. In the blue, Italianate-style background, a large city on a river can be glimpsed. Continue reading

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Economic Botany

9781108068703fc3dAs a major new series begins on BBC Radio 4, we look at the CLC books on ‘plants which changed the world’.

The BBC is beginning today a major series, ‘Plants: From Roots to Riches’ on BBC Radio 4, weekdays at 1.45 p.m. The puff says it will examine ‘Our changing relationship with plants over the last 250 years – from tools to exploit, to objects of beauty, to being an essential global resource we have to conserve.’ The first programme will deal with plant-finding in the eighteenth century and the Linnaean revolution, but in its honour I thought I would compile a list of books which discuss economically significant plant products, an important subset – which we owe to the expert advice of Dr Mark Nesbitt at Kew Gardens – of our Botany and Horticulture series.

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Old Bach

9781108068857fc3dI had an appointment this week at which – my prophetic soul warned me as I shot out of the office – I would not be seen on time. So I grabbed the nearest single-volume CLC book to hand, and in the 90-odd minutes during which I sat on an uncomfortable chair in a very hot room, I read quite a large chunk of Eduard Devrient’s My Recollections of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, and His Letters to Me. Continue reading

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The Humble-Bee

SladenDid you know that there used to be a Dominion Apiarist? As far as I can see, there isn’t one any more, but I could be wrong … there are State Apiarists all over the United States, and the Dominion in question, Canada, is not that far away, and just as agricultural. The Apiarist in question was F.W.L. Sladen, born in Kent in 1876. Continue reading

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Laulupidu!

This means ‘song festival’ in Estonian, but actually these pictures, courtesy of Him Indoors, are of the procession, the song and dance festivals. Continue reading

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