Europeenses

Bergh’s, ‘Nordic Summer’s Evening’, 1899-1900

It all must be so beautiful in old Sweden now – Midsummer time – one almost chokes up thinking about the long, light nights; the still clear bays where birch … Continue reading

May 19, 2019 · Leave a comment

Norwegian Fjords: A Select History

The defining feature of Norway’s coastline are the many fjords that cut into the interior of the country providing waterborne access inland. Fjords are so characteristic of Norway that two, … Continue reading

March 23, 2018 · Leave a comment

Rosemåling

Rosemåling, with its distinctive stylized depictions of flowers, scroll forms, lining, and geometric elements, is Norway’s best known decorative folk art form. Its origins lie in eastern Norway during the … Continue reading

March 3, 2018 · 1 Comment

‘Iceland’s Pompeii’: Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng

In 1104 Iceland’s most famous volcano Hekla erupted, covering the local area with tephra and destroying an entire district of farm complexes in the Þjórsárdalur valley. Among them was the farmhouse named … Continue reading

April 12, 2015 · Leave a comment

The Soldier’s Wife by Jean Guthrie-Smith (1895-1949)

Jean Guthrie-Smith was 22 years old when she married the love of her life, Laurence Neal, on 1 May 1918. Her husband was wounded twice in the war, surviving a … Continue reading

March 14, 2015 · Leave a comment

Sí an Bhrú: Newgrange, marvel of Neolithic engineering

A few minutes after sunrise during the Winter Solstice sunlight illuminates the 63 foot long passage and chamber of the Neolithic passage tomb at Newgrange, County Meath, in Ireland. The … Continue reading

November 29, 2014 · 2 Comments

To My Daughter Betty, The Gift of God, by Tom Kettle (1880-1916)

In 1914 at the outbreak of the First World War Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in theatres across the … Continue reading

November 11, 2014 · 3 Comments

Muir Éireann (Irish Sea)

The Muir Éireann or Irish Sea is the arm of the North Atlantic that separates Ireland from Great Britain. It’s northern limit is marked by the North Channel. St George’s … Continue reading

October 22, 2014 · Leave a comment

Miners, by Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

Wilfred Owen is rightly regarded as the leading poet of the First World War. Dulce et Decorum Est and Anthem for Doomed Youth have never been bettered as war poetry in … Continue reading

September 24, 2014 · 1 Comment

Hic:Est:Wadard

I am perhaps absurdly pleased by the fact that there is a link between the Bayeux Tapestry and my home town of Swindon in Wiltshire, England. The knight Wadard appears … Continue reading

April 12, 2014 · 1 Comment

The ætheling Æthelstan’s deathbed will of 1014

On the Friday after the feast of midsummer in 1014 Ælfgar, the son of Æffa, brought the reply of King Æthelred Unræd to his son, the ætheling Æthelstan. The ailing prince … Continue reading

April 9, 2014 · Leave a comment

Mietskasernes: Working Class Berlin, 1871-1922

Following German unification in 1871 Berlin was transformed from a provincial city, capital of the Kings of Prussia, to an international, bustling, industrial metropolis in a few short decades. Its … Continue reading

March 19, 2014 · 4 Comments

Lucas Cranach the Elder

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553) arrived in Wittenberg in 1505 as an already accomplished artist having been appointed court painter to the Elector of Saxony Friedrich III, der Wiese. It … Continue reading

March 15, 2014 · Leave a comment

Gesellenstechen

While reading around the subject of The Reformation in Germany during the early 16th Century I came across this painting by Jost Amman (1539-1591) in Martin Kitchen’s, The Cambridge Illustrated History … Continue reading

March 9, 2014 · 5 Comments

Villa Tugendhat

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) along with Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Richard Neustra, Philip Johnson, and J. J. P. Oud, was one of the leading lights of the International … Continue reading

February 22, 2014 · Leave a comment

The Good Soldier Švejk

Having drunk away a gift of 10 crowns instead of buying a railway ticket Private Josef Švejk, unscrupulous dog dealer, idiot savant, and thorn in the side of his superiors, … Continue reading

January 18, 2014 · 2 Comments

Pivo

To lager drinkers Plzeň is, or should be, a spiritual home as the birthplace of the pilsner style of pale lager which dominates the modern beer market. Brewing in Plzeň … Continue reading

January 10, 2014 · Leave a comment

On the nature of things

Encyclopaedia n. a book or set of books giving information on many subjects or many aspects of one subject, typically arranged alphabetically.” Concise OED, 11th edition, 470. Derived from the Greek … Continue reading

December 29, 2013 · Leave a comment

Nordzee: The Seafarer

The Seafarer is an Anglo-Saxon poem that is preserved in a single copy in the Exeter Book or Codex Exonienis, a tenth century anthology of Anglo-Saxon poetry donated to Exeter … Continue reading

December 7, 2013 · 1 Comment

Noordzee

Radio 4 listeners will be familiar with the mantra Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber, Thames, Dover, the tone poem of the … Continue reading

December 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Flood myths

“One day it chanced that the supreme god Pramzimas was looking out of a window of his heavenly house, and surveying the world from this coign of vantage he could … Continue reading

December 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

The Legend of Europa

Europe owes its name to a mythological Phoenician princess deceived by Zeus in the form of a bull, abducted from her homeland, taken to Crete where he rapes or seduces … Continue reading

December 1, 2013 · 2 Comments