Posts Tagged ‘London.

14
Nov
10

Letitia Elizabeth Landon ~ Poet and Novelist

Novelist

Letitia Elizabeth Landon also known as L.E.L.  she was born on August 14, 1802 in London and died October 15, 1838 in Gold Coast Colony, now Ghana.  She was a poet and novelist who, at a period when women were conventionally restricted in their themes, treated that of passionate love.  She is remembered for her high-spirited social life and mysterious death and for verse that reveals a lively intelligence and intensity of feeling.

Her first volume of verse came out in 1821; it and the eight collections that followed were extremed popular, and she was in great demand as a contributor to magazines and the many annuals produced in the 1820s and ‘30s as gifts for ladies.  Her four novels (published 1831-42) were also successful.

She captivated London society by her wayward charm, and her exploits were the talk of the town.  An engagement to John Forster, journalist and man of letters, ended unhappily.  In 1838 she married George Maclean, governor of Cape Coast Castle.  She died of poisoning soon after her arrival in Africa after taking prussic acid, presumably by accident.

Reference:  The New Encyclopedia Britannica (Micropaedia) 
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14
Oct
10

Frederick William Lanchester ~ Automobile and Aeronautics Pioneer

He was born on October 23, 1868 in London and died on March 8, 1946 in Birmingham.  He was an automobile and aeronautics pioneer who built the first British automobile.  An architect’s son, he graduated from Harley University College (now the University of Southampton) and the National School of Science.

In 1891 Lanchester went to work for a gas-engine works in Birmingham, where he improved the products by designing a pendulum governor and a starter.  After five years he left to set up his own automobile-manufacturing firm, producing his first car, a one-cylinder, 5-horsepower model, in 1896.  A second model, with two cylinders, won the Gold Medal of the Royal Automobile Club, and a third led to backing for the Lanchester Engine Company, which produced several hundred cars over the next few years.  Among notable design features of his cars were a relative freedom from vibration, a graceful appearance with fewer of the knobs and levers that bristled in most driver’s compartments, and a luggage rack.

Lanchester’s  interest in aeronautics was first expressed in a paper he wrote in 1897, ahead of its time in appreciation of the principles of heavier-than-air flight.  In 1907-08 he published a two-volume work embodying distinctly advanced aerodynamic ideas.  As a member of the Advisory Committee on Aeronautics in 1909, and consultant to the Daimler Motor Company, Ltd., later, he also contributed to the development of operations research. – New Encylopedia Britannica

 

11
Jan
10

Paul de Lamerie – English Silversmith

Paul de Lamerie

He was born on April 9, 1688, ‘s Hertogenbosch, Netherland and died on August 1, 1751, in London.  Probably the best known English silversmith.  His parents, Huguenots who probably left France for religious reasons in the early 1680s, by 1691 had settled in Westminster.

After serving as an apprentice to a London goldsmith, Pierre Platel, de Lamerie registered his mark and established his own shop in 1712.  Early in his career he made simple vessels, such as tankards and teapots, in an unornamented Queen Anne style and more pretentious works, such as a large wine cistern (cooler for wine bottles) for the first earl Gower (1719; Minneapolis [Minn.] Institute of Arts), in an ornamented style associated with the work of French Huguenot craftsmen.

In the 1730s de Lamerie was producing works, particularly covered cups, in his version of the Rococo style.  A notable example of 1737 is a cup, the handles of which are in the form of realistic snakes (owned by the Fishmoners’ Company, London).  A further example of his rich Rococo decoration is a ewer (1741; Goldsmith’s Company, London) with a handle in the form of the figure of a triton.

Unlike the silversmiths on the Continent, de Lamerie made many uncommissioned works that were intended to be stocked for later sale. 

Photo courtesy:  rwc.co.za

05
Jan
10

Constant Lambert ~ English Composer, Conductor and Critic

English Conductor

Constant Lambert was born on August 23, 1905 and died on August 21, 1951 in London.

English composer, conductor, and critic who played a leading part in extablishing the ballet as an art form in England.  Commissioned (1926) by Diaghilev to compose the ballet Romeo and Juliet, he became conductor (1929) of the Camargo Society that led to the creation of the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, which he then directed until 1947.  His works include the ballet Horoscope (first produced 1938) and the song cycle Eight Chinese Songs (composed 1926).  A perspicacious critic, his Music Ho! A study of Music in Decline (1934) is an illuminating study of 20th-century music.

Photo courtesy:  fds.oup

09
May
09

Robert Adam (6 of 6)

By 1780 Robert Adam’s popularity was beginning to decline, and Horace Walpole, after visiting the architect Henry Holland’s new Carlton House, wrote, “How sick one shall be, after this caste palace, of Mr. Adam’s gingerbread and sippets of embroidery.”

Robert Adam designed and built a number of romantic Neo-Gothic castles, mostly dating from the 1780s, in Scotland.  The most important of the castles is Culzean, Ayrshire, for the earls of Cassilis (1777-90).  Another important work in the Gothic style was the interior at Alnwick Castle, Northumberland (c. 1770-80; destroyed in the 19th century).

Toward the end of his life, Robert built the Register House, Edinburgh (1772-92), in which he at last realized the conception of a monumental domed hall within a square, envisaged at Syon some years earlier;  and in 1789 designed the University of Edinburgh, whose entrance front is perhaps his most successful exterior.  At Fitzroy Square, London (1790), and Charlotte Square, Edinburgh (1791), he experimented for the last time with the introduction of movement into street architecture.

As a designer of furniture, Adam played a leading role.  The furniture style he evolved, popularized by the cabinetmaker George Hepplewhite, was always meant to harmonize with the rest of the interiors.  In this field, too, he was prolific, turning his hand to everything from organ cases and sedan chairs to saltcellars and door fittings.  It is one of the outstanding features of an Adam interior that everything, even the smallest detail, was part to the unified scheme created by the architect.

Robert Adam died on March 3,1792, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.  The bulk of the nearly 9,000 drawings he left were purchased by the architect Sir John Soane in 1833 and are now in the Soane Museum, London. (S.Mi.)




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