Review & Book Tour: “There’s Something About Darcy”, by Gabrielle Malcolm

I've been invited to do something a bit different today, which is incredibly exciting: I'm hosting Dr Gabrielle Malcolm's new book, There's Something About Darcy, on my blog for the day as part of her blog book tour! As soon as I heard about Malcolm's book, I knew it was for me - as someone who…

Walking in the footsteps of Jane Austen in Hampshire

Even though I wax lyrical on every single platform about how much I love Jane Austen, I’ve never visited her house at Chawton or her grave in Winchester Cathedral – until this week. We went on a lovely trip to Hampshire and had a beautiful day (helped by the British sunshine) exploring Jane Austen’s House…

An Enquiring Mind: Manolo Blahnik at The Wallace Collection

I realised a couple of weeks ago that, even though I’ve spent plenty of time visiting galleries and museums in London, that I’d never actually been to the Wallace Collection. I have been meaning to go for ages, and decided that, last weekend, I had a free morning in London and it was time to…

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…

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…

Belton House: A Celebration of Creative Women

2018 is a special year in British Women’s History: it marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, when, for the first time, some women were eligible to vote. This moment in history has provided the opportunity for many heritage sites and organisations to reflect on the stories of women and their achievements:…

“C’est mon plaisir” – Isabella Stewart Gardner and her collection

Isabella Stewart Gardner by John Singer Sargent, 1888, oil on canvas (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum P30WI) Above the central portal to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is her motto: “C’est mon plaisir” (“it is my pleasure”) This sums up perfectly the collection housed at Fenway Court: a unique and beautiful museum created by a unique…