Archive for the ‘update’ Category

Censoring Queen Victoria (book #163)

11 September 2017

Book cover, showing Queen Victoria

Censoring Queen Victoria: How Two Gentleman Edited a Queen and Created an Icon. Yvonne M Ward, 2014.

I liked this passage from Arthur Benson‘s diary for 1904. He’s describing working in the Round Tower at Windsor Castle.

My own room is a big room, hung with Hogarth engravings and good furniture — a white chair with pink satin on wheels was used by the Queen. I did not use the room to-day as it was not ready, but worked in the strong-room, and went through an interesting lot of Melbourne’s letters — beginning with one on the morning of the accession. His writing is very hard to read. It was odd to sit in this big room, all surrounded with shelves, with the deep embrasure full of guns. The wind roared and the rain lashed the window. I was amused and happy.

(Diary is online at

I also liked the fact that in an interview, Yvonne Ward describes a rather parallel experience of researching in the archives of the publishers John Murray:

The room I worked in had been a salon where previous John Murrays had held court with their various clients: Lord Byron, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Samuel Smiles. There were lithographs and paintings on the walls depicting soirées that had taken place in that room, and hundreds of books lining the walls. It was a wonderful atmosphere to work in.

There’s a review of the book here by Kathryn Hughes.

In other news, am finding things difficult at the moment, but have plans and tentative plan b et cetera.

The Covent Garden Ladies (book #12 updated)

7 November 2010

Hallie Rubenhold, 2006.

Took me a while to get round to updating my previous entry, and I now can’t interpret most of my notes.

The book focusses on the writing and publication of “Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies,” 1757. Here’s an extract from the description of Mrs Cuyler, Craven Street:

She was brought up under the Wing of the celebrated Bird of Paradise, who taught her the rudiments of knowledge by which she soon, by the strength of her own natural genius, became a complete mistress of the science, in which she has cut a conspicious figure. … She lately behaves with a great deal of reserve in public, but in private, when she likes her company; there is not a more agreeable, good-natured convivial soul in the universe. At such times she is very fond of singing ‘King David on a certain day, &c.’ which she performs with a good deal of humour.”

Google is not finding anything for the song, sadly.

Satisfyingly, the author compiles a list of men using Covent Garden prostitutes – to parallel the women’s names that were published.

Rubenhold on Women’s Hour discussing the book. The grandly titled Assistant Content Producer advised me that this recording pre-dates BBC iplayer, so to listen to it you need Real Player – see here.