Sunday 5 December 2021


 It's time for my annual reminder that Christmas is coming and, if you're short of a present or stocking filler for 'anyone interested in churches, in the lost corners of England, or in meditating on mortality' (to quote one of the reviews), you could do worse than slip them a copy of The Mother of Beauty: On the Golden Age of English Church Monuments, and Other Matters of Life and Death. It's still available on Amazon, or, if you'd prefer to bypass Bezos, direct from me at


  1. Apropos of nothing, but I'm enjoying your huge archives and came upon an old post in which you describe Rossetti as "not much of a painter". I was wondering if you could expand a line or two...? I guess his greatest contribution is coining "yesteryear" after all?

  2. Yes, a fine and useful word... As a painter, I think he could really only do one thing – the sumptuous portrait of a Pre-Raph stunner. When he got more ambitious, he usually failed. Look at the Girlhood of Mary Virgin in the Tate – what on earth is that giant gardener figure doing there?