Category Archives: British History

How the Revolution exposed the dark side of the art of Johann Zoffany

A few weekends ago I went to the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition (sadly now closed) on 18th century painter Johann Zoffany (1733-1810). Zoffany is largely known for his ‘conversation pieces’, intimate family portraits created for his noble and royal patrons, with his subjects engaged in lively, charming interaction with each other. This sort of […]

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When Bankers Did Evil Properly – Nathan Rothschild

Oh, you hear a lot of people today casually referring to bankers as evil, but when it comes to true, chill-your-bones, block-out-the-light-of-the-sun, watch-out-they-might-steal-Christmas level sinisterness, today’s lot are rank amateurs. I was delighted to come across this quote by Nathan Mayer Rothschild, founder of the British branch of the illustrious banking family in the 18th […]

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Queen Victoria’s Black Sheep: Prince Eddy and the Ripper Rumours, Part 2

As we saw in Part 1 of this story, there are many theories on the real identity of Jack the Ripper doing the rounds, which range from the hypothetically plausible to the palpably absurd. Delving a little deeper, it is interesting to note how many of the suspects suggested over the years involve highly respected […]

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How do you solve a problem like Victoria: was Queen Victoria illegitimate?

Of the 41 monarchs of England since the arrival of William the Conqueror, only 7 have been women. But stop and think of the 41 figures on that list: how many do you feel any real connection with, how many produce an emotional response when you picture them? And, crucially, how many do you have […]

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A King of Beasts in Revolutionary Paris

I’ve just started reading the eclectic and lively Georgian London blog, and came across this piece about the menagerie at the Tower of London, which existed in various forms from 1252 until its closure in 1835, at which point its collection of animal inhabitants formed the basis for London Zoo. The story of the menagerie […]

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