Books 2010

Books 2009

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Tuesday, 16 September 2008


I can't tell you more about the symbol and the meaning of the exotic bird in Marguerite of Navarre's portrait, sorry. And the unquestionable and well-known emblem of King Francis I was the salamander.
While watching this painting, I notice the dramatic contrasts between the four dominant colours featuring in this picture: black, white, red and green. The right side is black and white (ie her pale skin and her dark clothes) and the left side has vibrant tones (ie the red wall and the vivid green bird). And at the same time, black is opposite to white and red is considered opposite to green for painters.

I don't see what's wrong in the perspective of Queen Elizabeth's portrait and I find it rather fine but of course she had a very, very pale skin. On the other hand, I see something wrong in Sir Delves' neck and ruff; the neck is too long and the ruff is misplaced as it is apparently not well-balanced between the right and the left side. But the hands are really lovely indeed.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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