House on the Hill: Edwardian Glamour at Casa Loma, Toronto

Want one of the most stunning views of the Toronto skyline? You’ll find it at Casa Loma, which literally means “house on the hill”. This stunning castle was built at the turn of the twentieth century and was so opulent it bankrupted its owner, Sir Henry Pellatt. It is full of beautiful objects and gorgeous…

Exploring Montréal: the Mountain, Poutine and the Old Town

I’ve already posted about our trip to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, which is now officially one of my favourite art museums of all time – read about it and the beautiful spaces inside here. We spent a whirlwind forty-eight hours in Montréal, which is a stunning city with so much to do, so…

Pretending to be Cinderella in Toronto: the Bata Shoe Museum

English shoes, 1760s, silk from early seventeenth century (The Gold Standard exhibition) Aside from art, country houses and Jane Austen, one of my biggest passions is shoes. I’ve loved shoes since I was very small, the more outlandish and brightly coloured the better, and relished the day that my feet stayed the same size so…

Cabinets of Curiosity, Salons and the Era of Annual Exhibitions at Montréal Museum of Fine Arts

I’ve recently got back from a two-week whirlwind trip to Canada so I think my November and December posts are going to be full of some of my favourite places we visited: starting with my first, which was the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. We’d been in Montréal approximately half an hour when we arrived…

What women really thought about “Grand Tourists” in the eighteenth century…

A Caprice Landscape with Ruins, in the style of Bernardo Bellotto, 1740-1800, oil on canvas (National Gallery, London, NG 135) When reading about the eighteenth century and the treasures that came into the country house, it might seem a little bit like only young men were travelling to the continent to undertake the rite of…

Favourite Period Dramas: Darcy, Green Gables and Morse

For me, autumn always seems to be period drama season, and also, that means Sunday nights spent in front of the TV watching the drama unfold against the backdrop of different historical periods, whilst I drink either tea or wine and the weather gets colder. I love how period dramas can give you a feel…

Titian and the Alabaster Room

Bacchus and Ariadne, by Titian. 1520-3, oil on canvas (National Gallery, London, NG35) I haven’t written a blog in a while and inspiration struck recently when I was flicking through some art books (even though I don’t technically do History of Art anymore, I can’t let it go!) and rediscovered my favourite painting, Bacchus and…

Laura Bassi (1711-1778): First Female Professor

Portrait of Laura Bassi: Carlo Vandi, eighteenth century. Wikimedia Commons: find the original here. The last couple of weeks I’ve been doing some reading about women travelling in Europe during the eighteenth century, and I came across a reference in letters sent between the Countesses of Pomfret and Hertford detailing the Countess of Pomfret, Henrietta…

Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646 – 1684): First woman to gain a PhD

Portrait of Elena Cornaro Piscopia: unknown artist, possibly 18th century. Wikimedia Commons: find the original here.  Today marks 340 years since the first woman gained her PhD. In wake of the wonderful #ImmodestWomen explosion on Twitter, which has encouraged women to own their achievements and celebrate their PhDs and research following a stand made by…

An Afternoon at the Frick Collection

Want to spend some time looking at art in a place that’s just as beautiful as the paintings, sculpture and decorative arts that are on display inside? Then the Frick Collection should definitely be on your list of places to visit! Held in a gilded age mansion on Fifth Avenue, it makes for a wonderful…