Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens (1869-1944) was a British architect who designed many English country houses, He worked in both the Arts and Crafts style and in the classical style, sometimes in collaboration with Gertrude Jekyll, the horticulturalist and garden designer. Gertrude Jekyll's own house, Munstead Wood in Surrey, was designed by Lutyens (see picture below).
Lutyens was also responsible for the design of buildings in New Delhi in India, including Rashtrapati Bhavan (formerly the Viceroy's house; now the home of the Indian President).
Lutyens interior designs may be viewed at various locations in London including the Bloomsbury Hotel on Great Russell Street, and the Writing Room of the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge. The picture below shows the hallway of the residence of the British Ambassador to Washington, which was built in 1930 to a Lutyens design.
Edward Heath (1916-2005), often known as Ted Heath, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1970 to 1974, and leader of the Conservative party between 1965 and 1975.
He was a keen yachtsman who won the 1969 Sydney Hobart Race in his yacht Morning Cloud. An account of his sailing experiences, entitled Sailing: A Course of My Life, was published by Sidgwick and Jackson in 1975. The Course of My Life was also the title of his autobiography which was published in 1998.
Click here to see a print of Morning Cloud by Robert Taylor.
Montblanc was the name of a high-quality pen manufacturing company which was founded in Germany in 1906.
In 1977, the company was taken over by Dunhill, and nowadays Montblanc International GmbH produces a range of luxury goods including pens, watches, jewellery and leather goods.
The Strand is a street in the City of Westminster in central London, which extends from Trafalgar Square in the west to Temple Bar in the east.
It is one of the oldest banks in the world, having begun life as Campbells Bank in 1692, and become Thomas Coutts & Co. in 1775. Today, Coutts has numerous offices in Britain and worldwide, but its headquarters are still on the Strand in Central London, the location of the original Campbells Bank.
Traditionally, Coutts has been the bank of the British upper classes, and it retains its prestigious image to the present time.
Richard Wagner's opera Tannhäuser was first performed in Dresden in 1845, and this version was published in 1860; it is known as the Dresden version.
When the opera was performed in Paris in 1861, Wagner made some amendments, and later a few further changes were made for a performance in Vienna in 1875. The opera as performed in Vienna is generally known as the Paris version.
Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) was a Russian painter and art theorist who as an adult settled first in Germany, and later in France, where he took French citizenship. His work became increasingly abstract as he matured as an artist.
In opera, a trouser-role (sometimes known as a breeches role, pants role, travesti role, or hosenrolle) is one which requires a male character to be played by a female singer, usually a mezzo-soprano or contralto.
Well-known operatic trouser-roles are Cherubino in Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, Orpheus in Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, Siébel in Gounod's Faust, and Prince Orlofsky in Johann Strauss II's Die Fledermaus.
The two roles mentioned from Richard Strauss operas are Count Octavian Rofrano in the comic opera Der Rosenkavalier ('The Knight of the Rose'), and the composer in Ariadne auf Naxos ('Ariadne on Naxos'), where the trouser-role is taken by a soprano.
This is part of a description of the character Lord John in the first chapter of Henry James's 1911 novel The Outcry.
The full sentence reads, 'Active, yet insubstantial, he was slight and short and a trifle too punctually, though not yet quite lamentably bald.'
Click here for an e-book of The Outcry.
This is a quote from the first chapter of later editions of The American by Henry James. In context it reads like this:
'His eye was of a clear, cold grey, and save for the abundant droop of his moustache, he spoke, as to cheek and chin, of the joy of the matutinal steel. He had the flat jaw and the firm, dry neck which are frequent in the American type;'
Click here to see this section quoted in a book by S.B. Liljegren entitled American and European in the Works of Henry James (p.6).
Interestingly, in the earlier editions of the novel (which was first published in 1877), the language is much simpler; the equivalent section reads like this:
'His eye was of a clear, cold gray, and save for a rather abundant mustache, he was clean-shaved. He had the flat jaw and sinewy neck which are frequent in the American type.
Click here to see the orginal version in an e-book of The American (1877 edition) on p.2.
Matutinal means related to the morning or occurring in the morning.
It was opened as a gay club in 1979, but was refurbished in 1998 and re-launched as a mainstream nightclub. However, it continues to attract a large gay clientele.
In 2008, the gay nightclub G-A-Y moved to Heaven. G-A-Y had previously been located at the London Astoria on Charing Cross Road.
The Empire style of architecture, furniture, and other decorative arts is associated with the period when Napoleon I headed the First French Empire, which was established in 1804. The style remained popular in Europe until about 1830.
Today, torchères (sometimes torchieres or torchiers) is the term used for floor lamps on tall stands, often with bowl-shaped top sections which direct the light upwards. Originally, torchères were wooden or metal stands which supported a candle holder or candelabra (candlesticks which hold several candles).
The Spoils of Poynton is a short novel by Henry James. It was first published in serial form in The Atlantic Monthly in 1896 under the title The Old Things.
In the novel, the spoils of Poynton are the antiques and works of art which belong to the Gereth family of Poynton Park, an English country house. When Mr Gereth dies, his widow and son, Owen, become caught up in a battle about what will happen to the house's contents. The story is told from the point of view of a sensitive young woman called Fleda Vetch who is in love with Owen. However, when Owen eventually falls in love with Fleda, he is already engaged to the coarse and materialistic Mona Brigstock, and is persuaded by Fleda to honour his commitment. The novel ends with a fire at Poynton Hall and the loss of the heirlooms at the centre of the family conflict.
Click here to read The Spoils of Poynton on-line.
A four-part television adaptation of the novel was made by the BBC in 1970.
Click here to see a video of the first episode.
Ezra Pound (1885-1972) was an American-born poet and critic who spent much of his life in England, France and Italy. He became a highly controversial figure due to his support for fascism in the 1930s and 1940s, and he was arrested for treason by the Americans at the end of World War II.
During his period as editor of various literary magazines, Ezra Pound supported and influenced other literary figures including T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Robert Frost and Ernest Hemingway. Pound met Henry James for the first time in 1912, and wrote a lengthy essay about him in the Henry James memorial issue of Little Review, published in August 1918.
The Arden Shakespeare is a series of scholarly editions of the works of William Shakespeare, first published by Methuen between 1899 and 1925. The series continues to be published to this day, currently under the Bloomsbury imprint.
Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life is the seventh novel of the English author Mary Anne Evans who wrote under the pen name of George Eliot. It initially appeared in serial form, and was first published in its entirety in 1874.
Tom Jones (the full title of which is The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling) is a comic novel by the English novelist and playwright Henry Fielding (1707-1754). It was first published in 1749. Consisting of 18 separate sections or 'books', Tom Jones is considered to be one of the earliest forms of the novel in English literature.
Over the years, The London Stock Exchange has occupied various sites in the City of London. It began life in Jonathan's Coffee-shop at the end of the 17th century, and by 1972 was located at 60 Threadneedle Street, not far from the Bank of England. Since 2004 it has been located on Paternoster Square, next to St. Paul's Cathedral.
During the period in which The Line of Beauty is set, the London Stock Exchange was at the Threadneedle Street premises. Stock trading also took place between the 16th and mid 20th century at the Royal Exchange, next to the Bank of England.
The Mansion House is the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London. It is situated off Walbrook in the City of London.
Click here to see a painting of the Mansion House done in 1971.
Cornelian is the adjective derived from the surname of the French playwright Pierre Corneille.
Pierre Corneille (1606-1684) ranks with Molière and Racine as one of the great French 17th century playwrights. He wrote more than 30 plays which include both comedies and tragedies. His best-known works include Le Cid (1637), Horace (1640), Polyeucte (1642) and Cinna (1643)*.
*Different sources give different dates for some of these plays.
Click here to read some Cornelian French from the play Polyeucte.
Gucci is a brand of Italian fashion and leather goods, which is now part of the Gucci group. The original company was founded by Guccio Gucci in Florence in 1921.
Cartier is a French company which designs, manufactures and sells watches and jewellery. It was founded in Paris in 1847, and now has more than 200 stores in 125 countries.
Mercedes-Benz is a division of the German motor company Daimler A-G. It is the brand name of a range of luxury cars, as well as various types of buses, coaches, and lorries.
Jean-Antoine Watteau (1684-1721) was a French artist. He is particularly renowned for his depictions of the fête galante, a type of aristrocratic garden party involving elements of theatre and fantasy.
Francesco Borromini (1599-1667) was a Swiss-born architect who as an adult lived and worked in Italy. His major architectural achievements are religious buildings in Rome, including the church of San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane and the Oratorio dei Filippini.
Al-salam alaykum (As-salamu alaykum/ السلام عليكم) is an Arab phrase which is used as a verbal greeting by Muslims throughout the world. It translates roughly as 'Peace be upon you'. It is sometimes shortened to Salaam which means simply 'peace'.
A salaam is also a gesture used when greeting. It often consists of a low bow while placing the front of the right hand on the forehead.