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The Unfinished Palazzo by Judith Mackrell

Thea Dale

The ‘unfinished palazzo’ is a strange building on Venice’s Grand Canal that houses the Guggenheim museum. Really, the palazzo doesn’t matter; it’s only an excuse to link the stories of three fascinating women who briefly inhabited it: Marchesa Luisa Casati, Doris, Lady Castlerosse, and Guggenheim.

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2017 Vanita Grillo, Sicily

Mary Canon-Belle

Unoaked Italian white from sunny Sicily, made from the full-bodied grillo grape. As a table wine, this grillo has the sort of easy-over, elegant, stone-fruit flavours that will give it wide summer appeal.

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How To Bake A Cake With No Eggs

The Oldie

The conscious craze for veganism and vegetarianism has caused a couple of problems for the not so conscious – namely how to bake a cake without eggs. Elisabeth Luard has a handy solution. Chickpea water. It’s best to use a mechanical beater, as manual beatings will not cut it.

Morocco: Villa Ezzahra, Marrakech

The Oldie

The Ezzahra compound is on the northern outskirts of Morocco, in the exclusive Palmeraie area. The villa is surrounded by a vast green garden, has a swimming pool, enclosed by Berber tents, and a fine set of books. Though an ideal spot for peace and quiet, there are day trips and hammams aplenty.

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London: Middle Temple Hall, EC4

The Oldie

In the heart of London lies the City; slightly to the west of that lies Middle Temple, tucked away between the river, Temple Church and King’s College. The Oxbridge-style hall with hammer-beam roof and minstrels’ gallery offers splendid and peaceful surroundings for a spot of lunch.

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London: Aftermath, until 23rd September, Tate Britain

The Oldie

This year sees the anniversary of the end of the First World War. Aftermath has been put together to examine the impact that the war had on art in France, Germany and England, from the response to the gueules cassées to the decline of the machinery-worshipping Vorticists.

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Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone

The Oldie

The book traces the lives of Elizabeth Stuart, Mary Stuart’s granddaughter, and her four daughters; following Elizabeth from her short-lived rule in Bohemia to her exile in Holland. Goldstone works her way through a few, minor, faux pas to produce an entertaining and immersive book.

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The Murderer of Warren Street by Marc Mulholland

The Oldie

Emmanuel Barthélemy is scattered across 19th-century texts, but until now, he has not taken centre stage. Mulholland tracks the life and career of this mysterious man, who fought on many a barricade, fenced with Karl Marx, and was the last man to take part in a lethal duel in England.

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The Quest for Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy, edited by Hugo Vickers

The Oldie

In 1955, J P-H wrote Queen Mary, a benchmark of excellence for royal biographies, but he forbade the publication of the research he had done for fifty years. Now it is out, treat yourself to views into the lives of Royals – high and low – along with J P-H’s misguided views on the Duke of Windsor.

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Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944 by Antony Beevor

The Oldie

By 1944, the Germans were on the run, but not fast enough for the Allies. The attempt by Monty to simulate Blitzkrieg ensured that the largest parachute drop in history became one of the most disastrous operations of the war. An excellent read, aided by Beevor’s clear and concise style.

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London: The Great Spectacle, 12th June to 19th August, Royal Academy

The Oldie

Paying homage to the past 250 years of the Royal Academy, The Great Spectacle will highlight the dialogue between past and present, exhibiting works of Rodin, Tillmans, Constable and Millais, among many others.

Consent

The Oldie

Tackling issues of justice and vengeance,Consent sheds light on private behaviour and public standards. The play’s cast create a powerful spectacle, showing how friendship groups can unravel as their truths are challenged.

Red

The Oldie

John Logan’s Red, after a nine-year absence, returned to the London stage at the Wyndham’s theatre. Focusing on the interactions between Mark Rothko and his aspiring assistant, Ken, in 1959, the play explores the frivolousness of contemporary art and the cruelty of the marketplace.

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The Fortress at Chinon

The Oldie

The castle of Chinon, located over the river Vienne, gives stunning views of the region. The castle dates back to the 10th century; it was retired from military use in the 16th century to become a prison, after which it fell into decay. A fine day out and a good excuse to visit the vineyards nearby.

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Bath: Prized Possessions, Holburne Museum

The Oldie

Prized Possessions is a small delight, not due to quantity; the 22 paintings are an extraordinary display of the Dutch Old Masters. The paintings show that patronage of art was no longer the reserve of the church, and the secular focus can now be easily traced through the pieces.

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London: Asterix in Britain: The life and Work of René Goscinny

The Oldie

Until 30th September you will be able to marvel at René Goscinny’s most famous creation, Asterix, at the Jewish Museum in London. There are events dedicated to the great creator himself, our favourite wild-boar-munching Gaul, and the art of comic books.

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A Tokyo Romance by Ian Buruma

The Oldie

Ian Buruma introduces us to Tokyo in the 1970s. Throughout you see a youthful enthusiasm and search for the raw. He details his journey through the changing landscape of Tokyo’s neon lights, crimson lanterns and edgy characters.

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The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy

The Oldie

The second volume of Levy’s living autobiography. She is newly divorced, living with her daughters, and dealing with deranged men and a mother dying in hospital. Her writing examines the constraints of womanhood, but not just those facing her – she readily touches on those of others.

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A Good Time to be a Girl by Helena Morrissey

The Oldie

Morrissey draws on her own life experience, as a CEO and a mother, to make a powerful statement about gender politics and the need for greater gender balance and diversity. Her manifesto looks to reinvent the game, but at the expense of no one.

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The Hong Kong tram system

The Oldie

The Hong Kong tram is a much under-appreciated asset for those visiting the island city. Costing next to nothing, the trams – which go round the whole island – are a great way to explore.

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Francis I: The Maker of Modern France by Leonie Frieda

The Oldie

Leonie Frieda’s great mission is to freshen the popular perception of Francis I, rendering him the great moderniser. However, the beauty of the book is in its attention to detail. Who doesn’t love a story about a farting pope?

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Secret Pigeon Service by Gordon Corera

The Oldie

Many do not know the heroism and sacrifice of the 16,000 homing pigeons that were sent across Europe from 1941 to 1944, but now we have a book shedding light on exactly that. It goes from comedy to tragedy, from the vitally important ‘pigeon bra’ to the lives put at risk by squabbles in Whitehall.

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Medieval Bodies by Jack Hartnell

The Oldie

The Middle Ages are often thought of as a period of misery and squalor. This illuminating book proves the opposite. Hartnell introduces us to hysterical titbits, including a medical guide to the use of a male weasel’s scrotum as a form of contraception. A witty, rare insight into medieval medicine.

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Berlin 1936: Sixteen days in August by Oliver Hilmes

The Oldie

Berlin 1936 is more of a tale than a history. Not that it is factually inaccurate, but Hilmes’s anecdotal style renders it personal and human . A veritable who’s who of socialites, impresarios, film stars and dandies, with a tourist guide to the hottest clubs, bars, and restaurants. 

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Behemoth by Joshua Freeman

The Oldie

Freeman’s analysis of the cultural, social, political and economic impact of the factory over the past 300 years is a fascinating rediscovery of the topic, which steers clear of generalisation or politicisation. Going from Marx to Dickens, Freeman examines industrial progress and does it very well.

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