Zeuxis, Parrhasius and the London tube dog

The painting contest between Zeuxis and Parrhasius is well known. Pliny the Elder recounts how the 5th-century BC painters competed for, one might say, photographic realism: ‘[Parrhasius], it is recorded, entered into a competition with Zeuxis, who produced a picture of grapes so successfully represented that birds flew up to the stage-buildings; whereupon Parrhasius himselfContinue reading “Zeuxis, Parrhasius and the London tube dog”

Caravel replica Matthew of Bristol will sail down the Thames just like in 1497

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant is little over a week away! On Sunday 3rd June 2012, over one thousand boats will muster on the River Thames. We now know which vessels will parade down the river and in what attire. The participant PDFs are here. But my favourite, as it was to be expected, is Matthew ofContinue reading “Caravel replica Matthew of Bristol will sail down the Thames just like in 1497”

I learned two things today

Or it should have been: London taught me two things today. 1. Occupying a reserved seat on a bus entails a moral dilemma in addition to the willingness to surrender some of your freedom by vacating it if asked. The moral dilemma arises with the risk of putting yourself in a situation when it mightContinue reading “I learned two things today”

How I ate for free in central London

Nothing is cheap in central London, except perhaps public mores. Food is plentiful, diverse, delicious but expensive. These last two weeks showed me that there are some ways that free food is to be had in central London and you only have to be the right person at the right time. Happily enough, this rightContinue reading “How I ate for free in central London”

The first Christmas card dates back to 1843

When London’s John Calcott Horsley invented the first Christmas card in 1843 as a favor to Henry Cole, neither man had any idea of the impact it would have in Britain and later in America. Even the early Christmas card manufacturers believed Christmas cards to be a vogue which would soon pass. They operated onContinue reading “The first Christmas card dates back to 1843”