The Viscount Norwich
Norwich in 1966, by Walter Bird
|Member of the House of Lords|
1 January 1954 – 11 November 1999
as a hereditary peer
|Preceded by||Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich|
|Succeeded by||House of Lords Act 1999|
|Born||15 September 1929|
|Died||1 June 2018 (aged 88)|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Clifford (divorced)|
Hon. Mary Makins Philipps
|Children||3, including Artemis Cooper and Allegra Huston|
Lady Diana Manners
|Occupation||Historian, travel writer, television personality|
Norwich was the son of Conservative politician and diplomat Duff Cooper, later Viscount Norwich, and of Lady Diana Manners, a celebrated beauty and society figure. Through his father, he was descended from King William IV and his mistress Dorothea Jordan.
He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, Canada (as a wartime evacuee), Eton, and the University of Strasbourg. He served in the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford.
Joining the British Foreign Service after Oxford, and before that Eton, John Julius Cooper served in Yugoslavia and Lebanon and as a member of the British delegation to the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. On his father's death in 1954, he inherited the title of Viscount Norwich, created for his father, Duff Cooper, in 1952. This gave him a right to sit in the House of Lords, though he lost this right with the House of Lords Act 1999.
In 1964, Viscount Norwich left the diplomatic service to become a writer. His subsequent books included histories of Sicily under the Normans (1967, 1970), Venice (1977, 1981), Byzantium (1988, 1992, 1995), the Mediterranean (2006), and the Papacy (2011), amongst others (see list below). He also served as editor of series such as Great Architecture of the World, The Italian World, The New Shell Guides to Great Britain, The Oxford Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Art and the Duff Cooper Diaries. Viscount Norwich has often contributed to Cornucopia, a magazine devoted to the history and culture of Turkey.
Viscount Norwich worked extensively in radio and television. He was host of the BBC radio panel game My Word! for four years (1978–82) and also a regional contestant on Round Britain Quiz. He has written and presented some 30 television documentaries, including The Fall of Constantinople, Napoleon's Hundred Days, Cortés and Montezuma, The Antiquities of Turkey, The Gates of Asia, Maximilian of Mexico, Toussaint l'Ouverture of Haiti, The Knights of Malta, The Treasure Houses of Britain, and The Death of the Prince Imperial in the Zulu War.
Norwich also worked for various charitable projects. He was the chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, honorary chairman of the World Monuments Fund, and a Vice-President of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. For many years he was a member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust, and also served on the Board of English National Opera. Viscount Norwich was also a patron of SHARE Community, which provides vocational training to disabled people.
Viscount Norwich began to compile 24-page anthologies for friends in 1970, later producing around 2,000 copies a year and expanding to the United States in the mid-1980s. Several anthologies have been published and certain single issues fetch high prices in secondhand bookstores.
Christmas Crackers were compiled from whatever attracted Norwich: letters and diaries and gravestones and poems, boastful Who's Who entries, indexes from biographies, word games such as palindromes, holorhymes and mnemonics, occasionally in untranslated Greek, French, Latin, German or whatever language they were sourced from, as well as such oddities as a review from the American outdoors magazine Field and Stream concerning the re-publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover.
Viscount Norwich's first wife was Anne Frances May Clifford, daughter of the Hon. Sir Bede Clifford; they had one daughter, the Hon. Artemis Cooper, a historian, and a son, the Hon. Jason Charles Duff Bede Cooper, an architect. After their divorce, Lord Norwich married his second wife, the Hon. Mary (Makins) Philipps, daughter of The 1st Baron Sherfield.
Norwich lived for much of his life, or was based in (when not overseas etc), a large detached Victorian house in Warwick Avenue, in the heart of Little Venice, Maida Vale (London), very close to the Regent's Canal. Viscount Norwich died age 88 on June 1, 2018.
Viscount Norwich was appointed to the Royal Victorian Order as a Commander in 1992 by the Queen after curating a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition entitled Sovereign, which marked the 40th anniversary of the Queen's accession.
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
Alfred Duff Cooper
| Viscount Norwich
A Short History of Byzantium (1997) is a history of the Byzantine Empire by historian John Julius Norwich. It is a condensed version of his earlier three-volume work on the same subject, published from 1988 to 1995 in 1200 pages, which is approximately one page per year of historical time covered.
Norwich's thesis (as stated in the introduction) is that Byzantium left behind a rich legacy, both as a cultural powerhouse and as a bulwark protecting Western Europe against invaders like the Sasanian Empire and the Arab Caliphate. The history of the Empire is considered in its entirety, from the reign of Constantine the Great to the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Historical events like the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, Byzantine Iconoclasm, and the Crusades are discussed. The various palace coups and court intrigues involving the emperors and their families are also covered. Lists of reigning emperors, sultans, and popes are provided in the appendixes.
The condensed version was published by Viking originally in London, then by Knopf in New York.Alvise Tagliapietra
Alvise Tagliapietra (1670–1747) was an Venetian baroque sculptor.
Tagliapietra was born in Venice in 1670 and died there in 1747.
Between 1705 and 1711, he and his studio carved several standing marble figures for the high altar of the Church of Saint Chrysogonus in Zadar. John Julius Norwich writes of the statue of St. Simeon: "This figure's exaggerated contrapposto and exotic vestments make it a memorable statue." Shortly thereafter, Tagliapietra was one of several Italians commissioned to contribute sculptures to the Catherine Park at Tsarskoye Selo outside of St. Petersburg.Another work attributed to Tagliapietra, but questioned by Norwich, is a Madonna of the Rosary in the Church of Saint Dominic in Split, Croatia.He worked with his sons Ambrogio (b. 1701) and Giuseppe (b. 1711) on the Church of St. George and St. Euphemia in Rovinj, Istria, now in Croatia.
In his native Venice, his works include the statue of Temperance on the facade of the Gesuati, the baptistry and pulpit sculpted in 1732 for the Church of San Moisè, and the baptistry of the Oratorio of St. Martin in Chioggia. He also produced reliefs of the Visitation (1730) and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (1733–34) in the Chapel of the Rosary in the Basilica of Santi Giovanni e Paolo there.Baldwin of Antioch
Baldwin of Antioch (died September 17, 1176) was a Frankish knight and general in service of the Byzantine Empire during the Byzantine–Seljuk Wars. He was the only son of Raynald of Châtillon and Constance of Antioch, and brother-in-law of Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos. An ally of the Emperor in his battles against the Seljuk Turks, Baldwin was one of his most trusted advisors and the only one of Manuel's senior commanders "of Western origin".He commanded the right wing of the Byzantine forces guarding the siege and baggage train, largely composed of Latin mercenaries, at the Battle of Myriokephalon on September 17, 1176. Upon approaching narrow Tzibritze Pass, the Seljuks launched an attack on Manuel's marching troops. Baldwin led a cavalry charge attempting to drive the Turks from the hills in a counterattack but was surrounded and killed together with all his men.In Byzantium: The Decline and Fall (1996), English historian John Julius Norwich described the aftermath of Baldwin's death (taken from the Byzantine historian Choniates, whose comments are not always unbiased);
Had Manuel shown something of the same spirit, the day might have been saved; but at this of all moments his courage deserted him. In a hasty council of war he horrified his senior officers by suddenly announcing his intention of taking flight. The commanding general Andronicus Contostephanus made a strong protest, his words being echoed by a common soldier who, having overheard the discussion, bitterly reproached the Emperor for wishing to abandon an army whose loss was due entirely to his own imprudence. Manuel reluctantly agreed to remain; but his reputation was badly injured and was never fully to recover.Byzantine Greece
The history of Byzantine Greece mainly coincides with the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire.Henry Aristippus
Henry Aristippus of Calabria (born in Santa Severina in 1105–10; died in Palermo in 1162), sometimes known as Enericus or Henricus Aristippus, was a religious scholar and the archdeacon of Catania (from c. 1155) and later chief familiaris (or chancellor) of the triumvirate of familiares who replaced the admiral Maio of Bari as chief functionaries of the kingdom of Sicily in 1161.
While the historian of Norman Sicily, John Julius Norwich, believes him to have probably been of Norman extraction despite his Greek surname, Donald Matthew considers it self-evident, based on both his name and occupations, that he was Greek. He was first and foremost a scholar and, even if Greek, he was an adherent of the Latin church.
Aristippus was an envoy to Constantinople (1158-1160) when he received from the emperor Manuel I Comnenus a Greek copy of Ptolemy's Almagest. A student of the Schola Medica Salernitana tracked down Aristippus and his copy on Mount Etna (observing an eruption) and proceeded to give a Latin translation. Though this was the first translation of the Almagest into Latin, it was not as influential as a later translation into Latin made by Gerard of Cremona from the Arabic. The original manuscript is probably in the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice.
Aristippus himself produced the first Latin translation of Plato's Phaedo (1160) and Meno and the fourth book of Aristotle's Meteorologica. He also translated Gregory of Nazianzus at the request of William I of Sicily.
In 1161, William appointed three familiares—Aristippus, Sylvester of Marsico, and the Bishop Palmer—to replace the assassinated Maio. In 1162, Aristippus was suspected of disloyalty by the king and imprisoned. He died probably soon after in that very year. He may have helped himself to some of the royal concubines during the rebellion of 1161. He does not seem to have been a particularly effective administrator. Sylvester of Marsico died at the same time and Matthew of Ajello and the caïd Peter replaced him and Aristippus in the "triumvirate."Heritage Key
Heritage Key was a content-oriented online community aimed at those with an interest in history and culture. It featured both media resources and an interactive experience.Available content included podcasts, streaming videos, news articles, interviews, discussion groups and blogs. The content was often created in conjunction with archaeologists and historians, such as the Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass and John Julius Norwich. Heritage Key combined this content with an online 3D virtual experience, or virtual world, that recreated artifacts and archaeological sites.Judith d'Évreux
Judith d'Évreux († 1076) was a Norman noblewoman and Countess of Sicily.
Judith was the daughter of William d'Évreux and Hawise de Giroie, widow of Robert I de Grantmesnil. She was second cousin of William the Conqueror her father being the son of Robert II Archbishop of Rouen, while her mother was the daughter of Giroie, Lord of Échauffour, a wealthy Norman baron.Her half-brother Robert de Grandmesnil, abbot of the Norman Abbey of Saint-Evroul, was her guardian. After quarreling with Duke William in January 1061, Robert fled Normandy with Judith, her brother and sister, to Rome. Eventually he turned to Robert Guiscard, Duke of Calabria, who treated the abbot with great respect and invited him and his monks to settle in Calabria. The Duke's brother Roger I of Sicily had known Judith from Normandy, and his status and fortunes had now changed considerably. No longer the poor son of a lesser Norman family, when Count Roger heard that Judith was in Calabria he went to meet her. They were married immediately and he took his bride to Mileto where the marriage was celebrated.Roger soon left Judith in Mileto and returned to his campaigns in Sicily. The following summer he joined Judith and brought her with him to Sicily where he and his army of three hundred went to Troina. Leaving Judith in the care of his garrison he continued his campaign. Greek residents then attacked his fortifications attempting to take Countess Judith prisoner and ransom her in exchange for the Norman's leaving Troina. The garrison held out until Roger returned and rescued Judith and the troops guarding her. For four more months the Normans fought the Greeks who had now joined forces with the Arabs. Judith shared the hardships with her husband and the Norman troops living in the cold with little food. Finally Roger was able to overcome the Arabs and regain control of Tronia. Roger needed to return to the mainland to replenish their horses and supplies and left Judith once again. This time Judith took command of the citadel herself until Roger returned.Judith died, still a young woman, in Sicily in 1076.Judith bore Roger a daughter, who married Hugh of Jarzé († 1076). Other children of Judith were:
Matilda (1062–before 1094), who married firstly (repudiated before 1080) Robert, Count of Eu; married secondly (1080) Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse
Adelisa, wife of Henry, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo
Emma (c. 1063–aft. 1119), wife of Rudolf, Count of MontescagliosoLady Diana Cooper
Diana Olivia Winifred Maud Cooper, Viscountess Norwich (née Lady Diana Manners; 29 August 1892 – 16 June 1986) was a famously glamorous social figure in London and Paris. As a young woman, she moved in a celebrated group of intellectuals known as the Coterie, most of whom were killed in the First World War. She married one of the few survivors, Duff Cooper, later British Ambassador to France. After his death, she wrote three volumes of memoirs which reveal much about early 20th-century upper-class life.Marcus Adams (photographer)
Marcus Algernon Adams (15 May 1875 – 9 April 1959) was a British society photographer noted for his portraits of children.
Adams was born in Southampton, Hampshire, the son of Reading-based photographer Walton Adams. He began his career as an architectural photographer for the British Archaeological Society and took photographs for books by the antiquarian C.E. Keyser.With fellow photographers Bertram Park and Parks' wife Yvonne Gregory, Adams formed the "Three Photographers" group in 1920. Based at 43 Dover Street, Mayfair, they each worked independently, but shared use of printing, retouching and darkroom staff.Gaining notability for his portraits of children Adams took the first official photographs of the Duchess of York and her daughter Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II). His 1934 photograph of Princess Elizabeth at the age of 8 was used as the portrait for the $20 banknote of the 1935 Series of banknotes of the Canadian dollar. He continued his work as a photographer of royal children until a sitting with Princess Anne in 1956. Other notable children photographed by Adams included Christopher Robin Milne, John Julius Norwich and Simone Prendergast.He died in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, aged 83.His son, Gilbert Adams, also became a photographer and artist specialising in oil portraiture and landscapes mainly in Cornwall and Wiltshire. Gilbert assisted his father in his early career.
His great grandson, Andrew Adams has followed in the family tradition and is also a professional photographer running a wedding and marine photography business in Hampshire.Richard I of Capua
Richard Drengot (died 1078) was the count of Aversa (1049–1078), prince of Capua (1058–1078, as Richard I) and duke of Gaeta (1064–1078).Robert of Selby
Robert of Selby (or Salebia) (died 1152) was an Englishman, a courtier of Roger II and chancellor of the Kingdom of Sicily. It is likely that his name indicates that he was from Selby in Yorkshire. He probably journeyed to Sicily about 1130. In his train was Thomas Brun.
In 1137, he was appointed governor of Campania shortly before Salerno, the capital of Campania, was besieged by Count Ranulf of Alife, Duke Henry the Proud, and Prince Robert II of Capua, with the troops of the Emperor Lothair II. Robert stayed in Salerno to defend the city while Roger was in the island capital Palermo. With the cause hopeless, Robert advised the city to surrender and beg imperial protection to prevent a sack by the eager Pisans. The citizens did so and Robert of Selby left to organise the defence of the rest of the province.
In 1143, when Pope Innocent II refused to recognise the Treaty of Mignano, Robert of Selby marched on papal Benevento. The Beneventans argued that their royal charter was being violated, whereupon Robert entered the palace and the charter was never seen again.
In Summer 1144, Pope Lucius II was barred from Rome by the senatores and the patricius Giordano Pierleoni. He failed in his negotiations with Roger at Ceprano. Robert of Selby led expeditions against the ill-defended Papal States. Lucius' successor, Pope Eugene III, was invited back after the deposition of Giordano, but forced out again in March 1146. Late in 1149, Robert of Selby led him back into the Lateran with a Sicilian troop.
Robert of Selby probably acted as a sort of guardian for the young duke of Apulia, Roger, the son of Roger II. According to John of Hexham, writing in 1147, Robert was "the most influential of the King's friends, a man of great wealth and loaded with honours." Likewise, in his Policraticus, VII.19, John of Salisbury calls him "an able administrator . . . feared by all because of his influence with the Prince, and respected for the elegance of his life . . ." A modern opinion is that of John Julius Norwich: "Robert's administrative methods were as unorthodox as his way of life. He emerges as a far more cheerful and extrovert character than his master. . ." Perhaps Norwich had in mind the incident, recorded in the Policraticus, of Robert negotiating three large bribes from three candidates for the vacant see of Avella—and promptly disclosing the simony to an assembly of bishops, who elected a worthy abbot instead. Robert collected the bribes nevertheless.Roger Borsa
Roger Borsa (1060/61 – 22 February 1111) was the Norman Duke of Apulia and Calabria and effective ruler of southern Italy from 1085 until his death. He was the son of Robert Guiscard, the conqueror of southern Italy and Sicily; Roger was not as adept as his father, and most of his reign was spent in feudal anarchy.
Roger was the son of Robert Guiscard and Sikelgaita, an imposing warrior Lombard noblewoman.
His ambitious mother arranged for Roger to succeed his father in place of Robert Guiscard's eldest son by another wife, Bohemund of Taranto. According to English historian John Julius Norwich, his nickname came from "his early-ingrained habit of counting and recounting his money."
In 1073, Sichelgaita had Roger proclaimed heir after Guiscard fell ill at Trani. Roger's cousin Abelard was the only baron to dissent from the election of Roger, claiming that he was the rightful heir to the duchy. Roger accompanied his father on a campaign to Greece in 1084. He was still in Greece when his father died on 17 July 1085 in Kefalonia. While Bohemond was supposed to inherit the Greek possessions and Roger the Italian ones, it was Bohemund who was in Italy (Salerno) and Roger in Greece (Bundicia) at the time of the Guiscard's passing.
Roger rejoined his mother on Cephalonia, his absence causing panic and confusion with his army, according to Goffredo Malaterra. The two quickly returned to the peninsula and with the support of Roger I of Sicily, his uncle, was recognised as duke in September. His Lombard heritage also made him a more attractive candidate than his Norman half-brother, who had fled to Capua. With the support of Jordan I of Capua, Bohemund rebelled against his brother and took Oria, Otranto, and Taranto. Roger, however, made peace in March 1086 and the brothers acted as effective co-rulers. In late Summer 1087, Bohemond renewed the war with the support of some of his brother's vassals. He surprised and defeated Roger at Fragneto and retook Taranto. Though described as a powerful warrior (he took the cities of Benevento, Canosa, Capua, and Lucera by siege), Roger Borsa was never able to check Bohemund's power or bring him under his control. The war was finally resolved by the mediation of Pope Urban II and the award of Taranto and other possessions to Bohemund. Roger also granted him Cosenza and other holdings he desired allodially. In 1089 Roger Borsa was officially invested with the duchy of Apulia by Pope Urban II.
Roger permitted the minting of baronial coinage in at least two instances (Fulco of Basacers and Manso vicedux). He planned to urbanise the Mezzogiorno by granting charters to various towns and encouraging urban planning. In 1090, he and Urban encouraged Bruno of Cologne, founder of the Carthusian Order to accept election to the archbishopric of Reggio di Calabria.
In May 1098, at the request of his first cousin once removed, Prince Richard II of Capua, Borsa and his uncle Count Roger I of Sicily began the siege of Capua, from which the prince had long ago been exiled as a minor. In exchange for his assistance, the duke received the homage of Richard, though he seems to have made no use of it, for Richard's successors paid no heed to Roger Borsa's overlordship. Capua fell after forty days of notable besieging, for Pope Urban II had come to meet Roger of Sicily and Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury had come to meet the pope.
In October 1104, Roger besieged William, Count of Monte Sant'Angelo, who was at that time independent and pledged to the Byzantines, and expelled him from the Gargano, abolishing the county.Round Britain Quiz
Round Britain Quiz (or RBQ for short) is a panel game that has been broadcast on BBC Radio since 1947, making it the oldest quiz still broadcast on British radio. It was based on a format called Transatlantic Quiz, a contest between American and British teams on which Alistair Cooke was an early participant.
The format of the quiz is that teams from various regions around the United Kingdom play in a tournament of head-to-head battles. In a half-hour programme, each team is given four multi-part cryptic questions, each worth up to six points, to be awarded on the host's judgement. The parts of the question are generally centred on a common theme, and a degree of lateral thought is necessary to score full marks.
One question for each team has a music or sound component, and another is submitted by listeners. Points are awarded to each team by the host/quizmaster. Team members may ask questions, to narrow the field; but the more they ask, or the more clues the host supplies to assist them, the fewer marks the team will score.
The original hosts were Gilbert Harding and Lionel Hale. Later hosts included Roy Plomley, Jack Longland and Anthony Quinton. For many years, until his death in 1996, the host was Gordon Clough. The programme was then hosted by broadcaster Nick Clarke until his death in 2006. He was succeeded at the start of the 2007 series by Tom Sutcliffe.
Regional contestants have included Irene Thomas, John Julius Norwich, Fred Housego, Brian J. Ford, Patrick Hannan and Philippa Gregory. Current contestants include Marcus Berkmann, David Edwards, Adèle Geras, Stuart Maconie, Val McDermid and Paul Sinha.
The original theme tune was "Radioscopie" by Georges Delerue. The current theme tune is "Scherzo and Trio" performed by the Penguin Cafe Orchestra.
Puzzles like those in Round Britain Quiz (a series of cryptic clues linked by a common theme) have appeared in written form in publications such as BBC MindGames Magazine.Shakespeare's Kings
Shakespeare's Kings: the Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337–1485 (1999) ISBN 978-0-7432-0031-8 is a non-fiction book by John Julius Norwich. Lord Norwich is a British historian, author and peer. The book was published by Penguin Group in Great Britain. The intent of the book is to provide historical context behind nine of Shakespeare's histories, allowing for the fact that, as an artist, Shakespeare's purpose was dramatic impact more than absolute historical accuracy. The nine plays span a period of approximately 150 years of British history. Norwich seeks to address the real people and real events behind the histories and identify, as much as possible, where the plays and the facts coincide and where they may differ. Norwich addresses the plays in chronological order, while Shakespeare composed them in a much more random sequence. Norwich's book covers the history relating to the following plays:
Henry IV, Part 1
Henry IV, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 1
Henry VI, Part 2
Henry VI, Part 3
Richard IIIThe play concerning Edward III is believed by some scholars to be authored by Shakespeare, but it has not historically been included in the Shakespeare canon.Siege of Capua
The Siege of Capua was a military operation involving the states of medieval southern Italy, beginning in May 1098 and lasting forty days. It was an interesting siege historically for the assemblage of great persons it saw and militarily for the cooperation of Norman and Saracen forces which it necessitated.
The siege was instigated by Richard II, prince of Capua, who had been exiled from his own capital for seven years (1091–1098) by Lando IV until, reaching his majority, he requested the aid of his great uncle, the count of Sicily, Roger I, and his first cousin once removed, the duke of Apulia, Roger Borsa. The two Rogers came, the former in exchange for the city of Naples and the latter for Richard's recognition of Apulian suzerainty.
Roger of Sicily had lately arrested Robert, bishop of Troina and Messina, whom Pope Urban II had given the legateship of Sicily, though Roger himself was holding it. Embroiled in such controversy, the pope came down to discuss it with Roger, who released Robert. The pope's presence caused the saintly archbishop of Canterbury, a Lombard, Anselm of Aosta, then in self-exile from King William II of England, to go to meet the pope. According to Eadmer, Anselm's biographer, "the Lord Pope and Anselm were neighbours at the siege."
Eadmer also gives us an interesting portrait of the Arabs, whose brown tents Anselm found "innumerable." According to Eadmer, many Arabs, impressed by tales of Anselm's holiness, visited his tent for food and other gifts. The biographer goes on to say that the count, whose soldiers the Saracens were, would not allow them, though many would readily have done so, to convert to the Roman Catholic faith. "With what policy—if one can use that word—he did this, is no concern of mine: that is between God and himself." The policy, so inconceivable to Eadmer, is probably explained in this way: by maintaining a third religious and cultural party (other than Latin or Greek Christian) on the island, he assured that he could always have an ally, should either Muslim or Greek oppose him, a Latin. It also assured the presence of an "outlet for the military instincts and talents of his Muslim subjects," according to historian John Julius Norwich.
When the city surrendered, Richard was reinstated, Roger Borsa accepted his homage, and the pope and Roger of Sicily retired to Salerno.The Ruby in her Navel
The Ruby in Her Navel is a historical novel by Barry Unsworth first published in 2006. It was long listed for the Booker Prize that year.The story is set in 12th century Sicily and is centered on the Christianization of the Norman kingdom of Sicily under King Roger II. The book is narrated by Thurstan Beauchamp, a young man of English-Norman origins and describes Sicilian life through his eyes. All the good elements of a novel are contained in it: mystery, love, passion, betrayal, and revenge, but the novel's description of life in 12th century Sicily and its resonance to our own times that makes the novel especially interesting. Writing in the Guardian, John Julius Norwich said that the novel made him feel what it felt like to live, work and travel in the Sicily of that time. Jason Goodwin in The New York Times Book Review points to the contemporary resonance of the story, set as it is in the brief time that Normans, Byzantines, Greeks, Muslims, and Jews lived together in relative harmony. The harmony did not work, says Goodwin and "we glimpse the fragile nature of the Sicilian compact — and the gloomy inevitability of the civil conflict that lies ahead".Victor Horta
Victor Pierre Horta (French: [ɔʁta]; Victor, Baron Horta after 1932; 6 January 1861 – 8 September 1947) was a Belgian architect and designer. John Julius Norwich described him as "undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect." Horta is considered one of the most important names in Art Nouveau architecture. With the construction of his Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1892-3, he is sometimes credited as the first to introduce the style to architecture from the decorative arts. The "biomorphic whiplash" style that Horta promoted deeply influenced architect Hector Guimard who used it in projects in France and extended its influence abroad.In 1932 King Albert I of Belgium conferred on Horta the title of Baron for his services to the field of architecture. Four of the buildings he designed have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Violet Manners, Duchess of Rutland
Marion Margaret Violet Manners, Duchess of Rutland (née Lindsay; 7 March 1856 – 22 December 1937) was a British artist and noblewoman. A granddaughter of the 24th Earl of Crawford, she married Henry Manners in 1882. She was styled the Marchioness of Granby from 1888 to 1906, when Manners succeeded as Duke of Rutland. She had five children, including the 9th Duke of Rutland and the socialite Lady Diana Cooper.
Though she had no formal training as an artist, the Duchess painted portraits of her social circle. Many of her works were displayed at various major art exhibits in the UK, including the Grosvenor Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, and the New Gallery. Violet was also a prominent member of The Souls, an aristocratic social circle that favoured intellectual pursuits and avant-garde artistic tastes. Known for her beauty, she was the subject of many paintings. Watts Gallery Trust acquired a beautiful Watts portrait of her in Dec 2016 (Art Fund, the ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and donors). Inspired by the acquisition, John Julius Norwich (a prominent historian and Violet’s grandson) donated over 40 of Violet’s own drawings, including a self-portrait and a portrait of Harry Cust. She became engaged in sculpting after the death of her elder son Robert in 1894.
|Ancestors of John Julius Norwich|