Tudor: Passion. Manipulation. Murder, by Leanda de Lisle
A few weeks ago I finished listening to this book, subtitled The Story of England’s Most Notorious Royal Family. I got it with a VIP credit on audiobooks.com, so I didn’t get to check what other books might be available on the Tudor family. Having a look now, I am pleased to see it actually scores highly on Goodreads, Amazon and other platforms, and it was a Sunday Times Bestseller and a BBC History Book of the Year, among other recognitions.
But what I appreciated most were the detailed positive reviews I’ve read from people with obviously much more knowledge than me on history and the Tudor dynasty, calling the book not only a good read, but thoroughly researched and full of insights, shining a new light on some of the key figures presented, which is rare for a topic so popular in books, as well as on the small and big screens.
For my part, as I am trying to build my history knowledge and understanding, not to get the fine details right, this book was the right mix of dates, facts and anecdotes that managed to keep me engaged until the end. It is very rare for me when it comes to books with no dialogue and no interaction between characters, only the narrator’s voice.
The author, Leanda de Lisle, has a Masters degree in history from Oxford University and also does the Ten Minute Tudors monthly podcast on iTunes, which uncovers the true Tudors and Stuarts behind the myths.
I like to mix and match my finds every week so that there is a bit of everything I love or interests me at the moment. Design and interior decor is one of these topics and after watching the Farrow and Ball documentary last week I was left wanting more. In my research, I discovered the brilliant Design Rules BBC show from 2013. As the presenter describes it, this show is not about style, is not about taste, it is about some of the basic fundamental rules you can apply to a room to make it work.
There are only six short episodes (all under half an hour) and they are all available on Youtube. Each focuses on a topic – space and planning, colour, lighting, pattern and texture, interior planning and personality. As broad and as impossible to grasp as these might sound, at least to me, the way they are broken down and explained through science, as well as the simple tips and advice, make this show truly a hidden gem.
You will be left with tonnes of little ideas and tweaks you might want to implement right away and might not even require any investment. I dare you to watch it and not move or change anything around your house!
The new generation of sculptors is out of this world, quite literally, as they are… robots. Researching something else entirely, I stumbled upon this New York Times article and it raised some questions: Would I value a hand-carved sculpture more than one done by robots? What makes them different after all? Is it that much different from having a team of apprentices doing the bulk of the work in an artist’s studio? Can anyone with an idea now become a sculptor, with no knowledge or know-how about this art, different tools, techniques and materials?
Wanting to know more and understand better I realised that this is not a very recent development. In this article from 2015, one company seems to have been at the forefront of the revolution that has caught the eye of a number of celebrities, from Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt to Kanye West and Andrea Bocelli.
Here is one artist’s perspective, working with the technology to bring his art to life, and you can read more on the topic, with some interesting arguments, on The Conversation. To enhance that, watch this two minutes video on using robotic sculpting to save cultural heritage. And lastly, just to highlight, this is definitely not a new concept.
What are your thoughts on robot sculptors?
Source – Theatre Accident, New York, 1947, Dye transfer print, © Condé Nast
This is the image that has prompted me to explore Irving Penn’s life and work more this week. The carefully curated selection of precious petits trésors carelessly scattered after they’ve been dropped, I adore everything about this composition. It tells a full story.
Perhaps he doesn’t need much introduction, he was one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, renowned for his fashion photography, portraits and still life shots. He was a contributor to Vogue for over 60 years (producing an unprecedented 165 covers!), and also worked with big brands for advertising photography. He is said to have changed our perception of beauty. You will surely recognise some of his photographs, even though perhaps you didn’t realise, like me, they were by him.
What I didn’t know about him is that he was actually married to the model that features most prominently in his fashion portfolio – Lisa Fonssagrives Penn – donned by many, including Vogue, as the first supermodel. She was much more than that though – she started as a dancer and dance instructor before growing into the best-known model of her time. After becoming a mother for a second time, she reinvented herself as a clothes designer and then a sculptor in later life. Read more about her life here and here. There are so many iconic images of her by Penn!
Looking back on lives like theirs, so complex and rich, leaves me in awe at how much they were able to accomplish while exploring their multiple talents. It is humbling.
Why We Need Holidays, According to Science
While I am desperately trying to plan and book a holiday before the summer is over, I am constantly reminding myself why indeed I want one in the first place, and why even science says we need holidays. From better sleep to a lower risk of various heart problems, reduced stress and a boost in energy levels, the best thing to do is to book in advance, preferable right after coming back from a short break, to keep the buzz going.
I must remember this when we’re back!
Styling White T-Shirts
How do you style your white t-shirts? I like them and I own a few, some with text, some with prints or other details and embellishments, but I always end up only wearing them around the house. So this week I wanted to look into how to style my white t-shirts and get more out of them.
I realised after browsing street style images on Pinterest and saving many here, that it’s really about what you pair the white t-shirt with, that ensures it doesn’t look bland or too basic. The combinations I love most are with culottes or with statement skirts and the latter is one wardrobe category I will have to do a bit of research on next. To be continued!
Lisa Waud’s Flower Takeovers
I am officially making flowers a permanent entry among the seven weekly Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds until further notice and today I am highlighting the guerilla flower takeovers of botanical artist Lisa Waud.
Her most recent work sees artificial and natural flowers cover almost every surface in an abandoned convenience store, and you can read more about the sustainability message behind the installation here.
I also loved her collaborative project Flower House, from what prompted it, how it was implemented and the bigger idea underlined. Read more about it here and find Lisa on Instagram for more of her botanical art.
If this letter has offered you a moment of inspiration, kindly forward it to others who might enjoy it too. And if you have been forwarded it, indulge in all previous Miss Onion’s Exquisite Finds and subscribe to the weekly letter.