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An 18th century desk - for work or for drinking pleasure?

In the later C18th, when the object called a sideboard was transforming into a large and important piece of furniture, the cellaret was merely a detached receptacle. The cellaret was an elegant piece of mahogany furniture, almost always designed in the neo-classicist style, that could be octagonal, circular or oval. Show More Summary

Andy Warhol’s Masturbation Metaphor

In a 1977 interview with Glenn O’Brien for the marijuana lifestyle magazine High Times, O’Brien asked Andy Warhol if his teachers recognized his early “natural talent.” “Something like that,” Warhol responded with his characteristicShow More Summary

The Sweet, Happy Side of Philip Larkin, the Sour, Sad Poet

“They fk you up, your mum and dad,” poet Philip Larkin wrote in the late work “This Be the Verse.” “They may not mean to, but they do./ They fill you with the faults they had/ And add some extra, just for you.” Larkin kidded that those lines would be his best remembered, a guess not too far off 30 years after his death. Show More Summary

From Aleppo to Jerusalem: saving synagogue art and architecture

The main synagogue in Aleppo Syria was built in the Byzantine period. Damaged in the Mongol sack of Aleppo in 1400, it was later expanded and modernised. With the arrival of the Sephardi Jews in Aleppo in the C16th, a wing on the eastern side of the main courtyard was built, facing Jerusalem. Show More Summary

Unlocking the Mystery of Japan through the Art of the Kano

Ever since American Commodore Matthew C. Perry sailed into Uraga Harbor near Edo (the earlier name for Tokyo) on July 8, 1853, ending the isolationist policy of sakoku and “opening” (willingly or not) Japan to the West, “the Land of the Rising Sun” and its culture have fascinated Westerners. Show More Summary

Piero di Cosimo: Renaissance “Madman” for the Modern Age

Half a millennium later, you would think the Italian Renaissance could hold no more secrets from us, no “codes” to decipher. And, yet, secrets hiding in plain sight continue to startle modern audiences with the depth and breadth of that amazing era. Show More Summary

Is the Future of Museums Really Online?

In a world where the future of seemingly everything is online, museums — those repositories of the past — seem to resist the internet’s full digital embrace. It’s a question that’s increasingly crossed my mind thanks to a series of unrelated...Show More Summary

Elegant Shopping IV: London's Royal Exchange

I visited the Royal Exchange building in the City of London and it reminded me of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney: a large number of classy shops under one roof. But the dates of the two buildings were different and the shapesShow More Summary

Why execute a middle aged nurse, a Christian woman of healing? Edith Cavell.

Edith Cavell (1865-1915) was the daughter of a parson in Norfolk. After inheriting some money in 1895, she spent several weeks touring Austria and Bavaria and accidentally discovered a free hospital run by Dr Wolfenberg in Bavaria. Cavell was very impressed.Edith returned to her childhood home in 1895 to nurse her sick father. Show More Summary

In honour of my late mother: the Courage to Care Programme

My beautiful mother Thelma Webberley passed away a week ago. Her professional life was in journalism, and her private passions were classical music, European and Australian literature, overseas travel, feminism and community development. Show More Summary

The Ways Affairs Can Help Your Relationship

While the Internet is filled with online affair tips, generally they are going to focus on not getting caught and avoiding the downsides to sneaking around with another woman. We looked at this and thought, what about the positives?Show More Summary

Sweet Kitsch

Too Late (1884) by the British painter Herbert Gustave Carmichael Schmalz (1856-1935). A Greek hero comes back from war but his great love, the princess or the queen has died. Sweet cheesy drama!

What Women Want from a One Night Stand

When it comes to one night stands made on or offline, knowing not only what to expect but what she expects from you gives you a leg up on the competition. Most of us look at getting laid mostly as getting something we want, instead of something where everyone involved benefits. Show More Summary

Felix Nussbaum Haus and surviving paintings, 1935-44

Yad Vashem showed that the artist Felix Nussbaum (1904-44) was born in Osnabrueck, north of Dortmund. His father had been a very patriotic German citizen who fought in WW1. Young Felix travelled with a small group of German students at the Berlin Academy of the Arts in Rome, after winning a prestigious scholarship. Show More Summary

Good old Times

The City Gate by the English painter Ralph Hedley (1848-1913). Headley was a realist painter, woodcarver and illustrator, best known for his paintings portraying scenes of everyday life.

Australian War Memorial in Canberra - remembering WW1

The Australian War Memorial in Canberra tells us that since the opening of the Memorial in 1941, the First World War Galleries have undergone several major changes. The modernised galleries now occupy the entire west wing of the Memorial’s...Show More Summary

rhinoceros horn - exotic and very expensive antiques

The history of walking sticks comes from 18th and 19th Century blog and from The World of the Walking Stick. Many thanks. When swords fell out of fashion, canes were substituted, held to the outfit by a ribbon. Then they were hung around the wrist by a thong. Show More Summary

Advertising with History

Making Palmolive 3,000 Years Ago (1920) by the Hungarian-born artist Willy Pogany (1882-1955). Pogany was a prolific illustrator of children's, magazines, further he did advertising and murals.

Did Australian literary giants lurch to the right, from 1936 on?

Stella Miles Franklin (1879-1954) was an Australian writer and feminist who believed that Australians should be entitled to read their own literature. Thus she is always one of the first novelists put on English Literature reading lists...Show More Summary

“Birth of a Nation” and the Birth of American Cinema

On February 8, 1915, at Clune's Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation premiered. The fledgling art form of film would never be the same, especially in America, which even half a century after the end of the Civil War struggled to come to terms with race. Show More Summary

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