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The Selling of Mary Davies: And Other Writings [Hardcover]

Simon Jenkins

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Book Description

May 1994
Who was the mysterious girl sold for half of Westminster? Did we have to import an American to build the new wing of the National Gallery? Who was Vermeer's Guitar Player? Why is bankruptcy such a driving force behind London's development? What makes a City churchyard such a wondrous thing? Simon Jenkins has been roaming and writing about London all his life and naturally much of this book is about London. However he often strays further afield and the issues raised have wide implications and offer rich food for thought. He is fascinated by the arguments that constantly engulf the capital: Should we pay to see a famous Goya; Is it right to return the Elgin Marbles to Athens?; What can be learnt from Seifert's Centre Point? Are we being swamped by tourists?. But he also observes the longer-term shifts in the capital's art and architecture. With Betjeman, he finds an eerie peace in the churches of Heathrow. With Constable, he witnesses the skies above Hampstead Heath. He joins the Prince of Wales in welcoming the demise of Modernist building. He debates the restoration of Windsor Castle. He traces the booms and busts of Docklands and considers to what use the empty offices might one day be put. From Hampstead's Vale of Health to Richmond's river front, from the hanging of the Royal Academy's 'Leonardo' to the Finest Walk in London, he is full of surprises. Paintings and books, buildings and the environment are mingled in this collection which is wonderfully lively and always stimulating.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious, incisive portraits June 28 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Even though I don't share Critchley's political
leanings (until his retirement from politics, he
was one of the most prominent "wet" Tory critics
of Thatcherism), his portraits of Mrs Thatcher's
men (and one woman -- Edwina Currie) are so well-
etched (in acid ink) that one can't help chuckling
or even at times bursting into laughter. For instance,
he points out that in any group photo of Thatcherites,
you would have immediately recognised Nick Ridley --
he was the one with the cigarette. Some of the humour
may not be apparent to those who haven't closely
followed British politics, though.

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