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Making a Splash: John Sackhouse at Sadler’s Wells

If you read my recent post on John Sackhouse, you will remember that I referred to the mysterious incident that took place in the Royal Dockyard in Deptford.  What follows is the full story. First, a brief recapitulation.  Sackhouse was an Inuit who travelled to Scotland from his native Greenland on board a whaling vessel in 1816.  He made a …

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The Not-So-Famous Ethel Cox: Fashioning an Education

On what is International Women’s Day I want to recognise the life and achievements of the not-so-famous Ethel Cox—rather than her namesake, the suffragette Ethel Cox. What the lesser known Ethel thought about female suffrage I don’t know, but, as she spent her working life improving the education of thousands of largely working-class girls, I can only imagine she was …

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Reynolds’s Lost Children: The Strawberry Girl and Others

It is hard not to be captivated by Joshua Reynolds’s painting The Strawberry Girl, which hangs in the Wallace Collection at Hertford House in Manchester Square. When it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1773, Horace Walpole jotted down in his copy of the catalogue the single word “charming”, and we can see what that eminent man of taste …