Kerosene is sometimes called paraffin in the UK and Ireland.
Kerosene stoves were quite common in Irish holiday cottages (also known as 'chalets').
Oilcloth is semi-waterproof and cheap, and was often used to cover floors and roofs. It was also used for kitchen tablecloths and tents.
It is made by stretching linen cloth on a frame and coating it with linseed oil.
John Field (1782-1837) was an Irish composer and pianist. He is most noted for composing the first nocturnes, musical pieces that evoke the night. His work influenced the great pianist-composer, Frédéric Chopin, who adopted the nocturne as a favourite form.
Listen on Spotify:
Nocturne No.1 in E flat major by John Field
Nocturne No.5 in B flat major by John Field
Michael Quinion, on his site World Wide Words, writes about the origins of the term 'Bluestocking'.
Banville uses it in this instance to infer that Max's daughter is both an educated girl and perhaps a bit frumpy.
Alice has eaten the cake marked EAT ME, and has grown miraculously: "now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was!"
Tiepolo (1696-1770) was, according to the National Gallery, "the greatest Italian Rococo painter... His imaginative decorative frescoes are light in colour and airy in feel."
Tiepolo's skies are particularly fine, and are revered by art lovers the world over.
An Allegory with Venus and Time, painted in the 1750s, has an interesting connection to The Sea because the Three Graces appear in the sky (Grace is the name of the upper-class family that holds the young Max in awe). It hangs in Room 40 of the National Gallery in London.
The blue tree lupin produces branching stems from a stout trunk. Fragrant bicolored blue flowers, much loved by bees and butterflies, are produced throughout the summer.