Page 152. " the steps of the Trinita de Monte at Rome "
La Trinité-des-Monts 1808
Public DomainLa Trinité-des-Monts 1808 - Credit: François Marius Granet

The church of the Trinità dei Monti in Rome was built in the Renaissance period, and consecrated in 1585 by Pope Sixtus V.  It is a titular church, and has always been presided over by a French Cardinal.

Spanish Steps & Trinita dei Monti, 2002
Creative Commons AttributionSpanish Steps & Trinita dei Monti, 2002 - Credit: Peter J StB Green

During the Napoleonic occupation of Rome, the church, like many others, was despoiled of its art and decorations. In 1816, after the Bourbon restoration, the church was restored at the expense of Louis XVIII.  

Page 154. " the miniature portrait of her father "
Miniature of George Washington (1800)
Public DomainMiniature of George Washington (1800) - Credit: Robert Field

Portrait miniatures were very popular in Europe from the 16th century through to the 18th century.  Portraits of family members had obvious sentimental value. Soldiers and sailors would often carry miniatures of their loved ones while travelling.  Miniatures were also useful as a means of introduction: a nobleman proposing the marriage of his daughter might send her miniature portrait to potential suitors for their appraisal.

The first miniaturists used watercolour to paint on stretched vellum.  During the second half of the 17th century, enamel painted on copper became popular. In the 18th century, watercolour miniatures were painted on ivory. Some were as small as 40mm × 30mm, and they were often used in jewelry or on snuff box covers.  From the mid-19th century, the development of daguerreotypes and photography rendered miniatures increasingly obsolete.

Page 159. " the Mechanics' Institution of Carlisle "
American and Australian soldiers in the reading room of the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, Victoria, Australia 1942
Public DomainAmerican and Australian soldiers in the reading room of the Ballarat Mechanics Institute, Victoria, Australia 1942 - Credit: Victorian Museum

Mechanics' Institutes were educational establishments formed to provide adult education, particularly in technical subjects, to working men. They were often funded by local industrialists, hoping to reap the benefit of more knowledgeable and skilled employees. The Mechanics' Institutes provided working men with an alternative pastime to gambling and drinking.

The world's first Mechanics' Institute was established in Edinburgh in October 1821, as the School of Arts of Edinburgh, and provided technical education for working people and professionals, revolutionising access to education in science and technology for ordinary people.  A second Institute followed in Glasgow in 1823, and the concept was soon replicated in England, Australia, Canada and the United States. 

Page 159. " Unique Rembrandt etching. Known all over Europe as The Smudge "
Christ Carrying the Cross
Public DomainChrist Carrying the Cross - Credit: Rembrandt

Considered an invention of Collins, although there is a Rembrandt sketch of Christ carrying the Cross in which a smudge draws the eye to the central image (The Woman in White, Google books, page 224, footnote 6).

Page 159. " Copper coin of the period of Tiglath Pileser "

Tiglath-Pileser III was a prominent king of Assyria in the 8th century BC and is widely regarded as the founder of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. One of the most successful military commanders in world history, he conquered most of the world known to the Assyrians before his death.


Page 160. " travelled as far as the Tyrol "

Tyrol is a federal state in western Austria. It comprises the Austrian part of the historic Princely County of Tyrol. The capital is Innsbruck.


GNU Free Documentation LicenseInnsbruck - Credit: Pahu
Page 162. " allegorical leaden monster in the middle "

Allegory of Time Governed by Prudence
Public DomainAllegory of Time Governed by Prudence - Credit: Titian
Allegory is a device in which characters or events in a literary, visual, or musical art form represent or symbolise ideas and concepts. Allegory provides an effective way to illustrate complex ideas and concepts in ways that are easily understandable and tangible. 

Page 173. " whether Pope Alexander the Sixth was a good man "
Pope Alexander VI
Public DomainPope Alexander VI - Credit: Cristofano dell'Altissimo (1525–1605

Alexander VI was Pope from 1492 until his death in 1503. He was born Roderic Llançol i de Borja in the Kingdom of Valencia (modern Spain). 

He was a very controversial figure.  While he was highly skilled as a diplomat, politician and civil administrator, his Papacy was said to be characterised by libertinism and nepotism.    There seems to be some truth in the allegations – he made his son, at the age of 17 and while still a student at Pisa, the Archbishop of Valencia.

Page 173. " Whether Mr. Murderer and Mrs. Murderous Manning were not both unusually stout people? "

Marie Manning was a Swiss domestic servant who was hanged outside Horsemonger Lane Gaol in England on 13 November 1849, after she and her husband were convicted of the murder of her lover, Patrick O'Connor. It was the first time a husband and wife had been executed together in England since 1700.

Charles Dickens, who attended the execution, wrote in a letter to The Times on the same day: "I believe that a sight so inconceivably awful as the wickedness and levity of the immense crowd collected at that execution this morning could be imagined by no man, and could be presented in no heathen land under the sun."

Page 174. " he has brought with him to this house a cockatoo "
Leadbeater's Cockatoo, Australia Zoo, Queensland
Creative Commons AttributionLeadbeater's Cockatoo, Australia Zoo, Queensland - Credit: Richard Fisher

A cockatoo is any of the 21 species belonging to the bird family Cacatuidae, which falls under the order Psittaciformes (parrots).  Cockatoos are found mainly in Australasia.  They have showy crests and curved bills.  They are usually less colourful and larger than other parrots. 

Pet cockatoos are often very affectionate, but tend to demand a great deal of attention. They are intensely curious, and need a steady supply of objects to tinker with, chew, dismantle and destroy.  They have a piercing screech, and employ it often.