King Richard III and Queen Anne

The Nature of Noble Loyalty

It’s spring in London and the flowers are bursting forth on Cheyne Walk, which skirts the edge of the River Thames until it gives way to the Chelsea Embankment. I have ambled along the street for nearly an hour identifying plaques representing the famous people who’ve lived on nearly every block. Finally, I’ve reached Roper’s […]

Windsor Castle Upper Ward Quadrangl

The Tapestry of History

In just a few hours, the modern ideal of a fairy tale wedding will take place at Windsor Castle. A trip I took to the medieval palace several years ago had a legendary feel to it that may not rival the experience of a young American woman marrying her prince charming but it was no […]

Virgil Reading the Aeneid

Far from Oblivious in Bologna

If you find yourself strolling along the streets of Bologna near the city’s center, don’t be surprised if you turn a corner and come upon an anomaly. It will stand unapologetically as traffic whizzes by, a thumb of unruly masonry with its flanks sawed off. The amputations were necessary to make way for thoroughfares teeming […]

Château Pédesclaux in Bordeaux

Architecture with Heart in Bordeaux

In the preface to the book Grand Bordeaux Châteaux: Inside the Fine Wine Estates of France, Philippe Chaix describes discovering Bordeaux as a bewitching act: on foot, he reports, it means ambling through the city of stone and gazing into its mirror-like river. Setting off to explore the Mèdoc and Saint-Èmilion, he notes, the experience makes […]

Classical and Modern architecture meet at Yale

Touching Literary History

I will once again be touching literary history soon, as the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University reopened yesterday following a 16-month renovation to upgrade the 50-year-old building’s climate-control system, expand its classroom space, and restore the landmark to its original luster. The building’s architectural features—an exterior grid of granite and Vermont […]

Whitehall Palace with the Banqueting House

The Built Legacy of Henry VIII

The 2016 Academy Awards are handed out this coming Sunday so I’m celebrating a film that showcases the built legacy of Henry VIII to delve back into the subject I began here on February 2nd. The movie that showcases Henry VIII’s architectural heritage so beautifully is A Man for All Seasons, which swept the Oscars in 1967 […]

Allington Castle in modern times

Renovating During the Tudor Era

Hindsight is 20/20, as they say. Looking back to the Tudor Era from this great distance, it’s easy to see how barbaric a sport jousting was. But before you feel all modern and lofty, consider America’s devotion to football, even after the discovery of its deadly occurrence of brain trauma. If you can’t imagine our country […]

Study for plate XIV of the Différents vues de Pesto

Love Among the Ruins

How would it feel to spend your life so absorbed by crumbling architecture and disintegrating stone you could bring them vibrantly back to life with chalk and a pen? Giovanni Battista Piranesi knew, his talent for accuracy in imagining the details that flirted at the edge of the decaying world so astute he became the […]

Beautiful hand-painted majolica plate

Poetry and Ceramics in Savona

The 16th-century poetry that sprung from Savona made a strong impression on Thomas William Parsons when he found verses inscribed on a statue of the Madonna near the town’s lighthouse during a tour of Italy in the 19th century. He was so moved, the American poet penned the sonnet “Savona: Vespers on the Shore of the Mediterranean” that […]