Country Life, Shakespeare and midsummer madness

Like most people, I suspect, I was surprised by the news that someone had discovered a contemporary portrait of Shakespeare. And bemused, too, that they would chose to reveal the fact in Country Life. My heart sank, though, when I saw that the case relied on ciphers. I am sure there are carefree souls for … Continue reading Country Life, Shakespeare and midsummer madness

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Heart of darkness: from the time-honoured barbarity of the Tudors in Ireland to Islamic State

The leader of a small military force – perhaps 500 strong – is determined to subdue a province, and to do so quickly. Terror is his explicit policy. Every inroad he makes into enemy territory is followed by indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. Every man, woman and child is killed. Houses, churches, crops – everything is … Continue reading Heart of darkness: from the time-honoured barbarity of the Tudors in Ireland to Islamic State

Sir Walter Ralegh: the price of fame?

Further to my earlier review of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition, Elizabeth I and her people, I thought I'd just post two contrasting portraits of Ralegh. The first, on the left, is a Hilliard miniature from 1584. The second is a close-up photo I took of the 1588 portrait currently on display at the NPG. … Continue reading Sir Walter Ralegh: the price of fame?

Review: Elizabeth I and her people – National Portrait Gallery exhibition

Those whose interest lies outside the Tudor era could be forgiven for exasperation at the extent to which the long sixteenth century still dominates our nation’s cultural life. But the new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery – Elizabeth I and Her People, which runs until January 5 2014 – is nevertheless good enough to … Continue reading Review: Elizabeth I and her people – National Portrait Gallery exhibition

Tracy Borman reviews The Favourite in BBC History magazine

The September issue of BBC History magazine carries a really nice review of the paperback edition of The Favourite. I'm particularly pleased with this, since it's by Tracy Borman, whose Elizabeth's Women: The Hidden Story of the Virgin Queen is wonderful. Tracy writes: The Favourite explores the complex, "narcotic" relationship between Elizabeth and Ralegh, and … Continue reading Tracy Borman reviews The Favourite in BBC History magazine

Ralegh’s reputation in the 20th century

This article first appeared in the July issue of History Today. It was part of the magazine's regular 'From the Archives' feature, and is a response to an excellent 1998 essay by Robert Lawson-Peebles titled 'The Many Faces of Sir Walter Ralegh', which traced Ralegh's reputation through history. Lawson-Peebles essay can be viewed in History … Continue reading Ralegh’s reputation in the 20th century

My article in July issue of History Today

I have a brief piece in this month's History Today on the subject of Sir Walter Ralegh's reputation in the 20th century. It is part of the magazine's regular 'From the Archives' feature, and is a response to an excellent 1998 essay by Robert Lawson-Peebles titled 'The Many Faces of Sir Walter Ralegh', which traced … Continue reading My article in July issue of History Today