Fig Leaf Wardrobe

August 27, 2009



The V & A are hosting a new exhibition celebrating contemporary design Telling Tales : Fantasy and Fear in Contemporary Design

The V & A writes that the exhibition ‘ explores the recent trend among European designers for unique or limited edition pieces that push the boundaries between art and design.’

‘It showcases furniture, lighting and ceramics, designed by a new generation of international designers, including Tord BoontjeMaarten Baas,  Jurgen Bey and Studio Job, who are all inspired by the spirit of story-telling. Each tells a tale through their use of decorative devices, historical allusions or choice of materials, sharing common themes such as fantasy, parody and a concern with mortality’

The exhibition is free, open daily 10.00am -17.30pm and Fridays 10.00am -21.30pm, and runs until the 18th October. 


La Mort du duc de Guise

August 25, 2009

Music notes

Alhambra Theatre , London

‘At a “private exhibition” yesterday afternoon, Messers. Pathe Freres, in conjunction with the management, showed on the cinematograph  three wordless plays from Paris.’

‘On the cinematograph we saw not only the murder …but glimpses of the life of cafes , grand and humble …and all sorts of thrilling things, including a  danse d’Apache by Mlle. Mistenguette and a man.’

‘All these, of course,  not in the flesh, but on the films , while the orchestra played….next came a version of  L’Arlesienne… and finally the Murder of the Duke of Guise, a play specially composed for  this kind of performance , by M. Lavenden, and acted by no lesser people than M. le Bargey, M. Albert Lambert, and Mlle. Gabrielle Robbinne.’  The Times, Saturday, Nov 21, 1908; pg. 13; Issue 38810; col

Camille Saint-Saens wrote in 1908 the first modern film score for the cinema, for the silent film Murder of the Duke of Guise [sometimes refered to as  L’Assassinat du duc de Guise].    The film only ran for about 18 minutes, but has become of great historical importance in the development of silent films, film scores, and sound of  the ‘talkies’.  Silent films were still popular in France up to the 1930s.

It is interesting to note that as the film achieved critical acclaim, going some way of launching the fledgeling film industry into popular culture, Saint-Saëns did not himself seek the notariety associated with later film-stars and film score composers.   Saint-Saëns wrote to the German journalist M. Levin in 1901  “I take very little notice of either praise or censure, not because I have an exalted idea of my own merits (which would be foolish), but because in doing my work, and fulfilling the function of my nature, as an apple-tree grows apples, I have no need to trouble myself with other people’s views.”

The Union of Film Music Composers [UFMC] is celebrating the centenary of film music, in association with the Federation of Film and Audiovisual Composers of Europe [FFACE].  UFMC writes that   ‘Le film marque un tournant dans l’histoire du cinéma en édifiant d’une première pierre l’histoire de la musique originale : la composition de Saint-Saëns suit très précisément chaque scène, n’autorisant au chef aucune désynchronisation avec l’image. D’autres extraits de musiques de films ainsi qu’une masterclass suivront la projection.’

 If you would like to lean more about Saint-Saëns and early film music, please see the links below….

Musical memories by Camille Saint-Saëns

French cinema : from its beginnings to the present by Rémi Fournier Lanzoni  shelved on L evel 2 at 791.430944/LAN

The sounds of early cinema /edited by Richard Abel and Rick Altman  shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/SOU

Spellbound in darkness :a history of the silent film by George C. Pratt shelved on Level 2 at 791.4309/PRA

The ciné goes to town :French cinema, 1896-1914 /Richard Abel shelved on Level 2 at 791.430944/ABE

Musicians of To-Day, by Romain Rolland [1915]

Film and Sound Online – a set of collections of film and video. Login via UK Federation, choose Loughborough University (ATHENS) from the drop-down list then login with your Athens username and password.   Available via MetaLib.

The Derby 1909

August 18, 2009


When the bay colt Minoru won The Derby in 1909 ‘…the tumult of jubilation was overwhelming.  Occupants of the stand waved their hats…and gave lusty vent to their feelings; thousands of ardent enthusiasts came running down the course to the stand, and they in turn shouted with delight till they could shout no more.  

‘On the hill beyond more hats were thrown in the air and more outbursts of rejoicing were heard.   Meanwhile his Majesty had left his place, gone down the steps….to lead the winner back. the King re-entered the enclosure holding his colt’s leading rein, and then once more enthusiam burst forth, cries of  “Vive le Roi” giving evidence of the presence of sportsmen from France.  It was a spectacle never to be forgotten.’ The Times, Thursday, May 27, 1909; pg. 10; Issue 38970; col A

King Edward VII had leased the colt from Lord Wavertree, and was the first monach to have a horse win the Derby. A race course in Richmond, Canada, was named after the horse and the colt featured on a the box lid of a racing board game.

Loughborough University Library subscribes to a number of equestrian sports related e-journals such as Horse and Rider,  Practical Horsemanship , Dressage today  and the Corinthian Horse Sport.   For the horse owner, there are also a number of veterinary titles available such as Equine and comparative exercise physiologyJournal of Equine Science,  The British veterinary journal  and Equus.   Off campus access available using Athens username and password or by logging in to the Remote Working Portal and MetaLib. 

Minoru Horse sculpture – sculptor Sergei Traschenko

Equestrianism in the East Midlands

Horses – equine issues in Government

Strategy for the Horse Industry in England and Wales

The Equestrian

Rabbit Hutch Britain

August 17, 2009
Smallest house in Great Britain. Copyright: DerbyRed

Smallest house in Great Britain. Copyright: DerbyRed

It is is claimed that the  fisherman’s cottage on the quayside in Conwy and built in the 1800s is the smallest house in Britain. According to a survey for the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) some houses still lack enough space in which their owners can live comfortably. Houses, flats and bungalows built between 2003 and 2006 are said to be far too small for children to play in. 2,500 owners of private new homes were surveyed: 57% said that they didn’t have enough storage space, 47% didn’t have room for all the furniture they needed and 35% said that there weren’t enough surfaces in the kitchen to store basic appliances like toasters and microwave ovens. Researchers said that economically disadavantaged households are more likely to suffer from a lack of space and having a larger living area would have both health and educational benefits. Families with a  proper dining area  are more likely to eat healthily and develop closer relationships. CABE says that the lack of space could also affect the current Government waste policy because 72% of house owners do not have enough space outside to store their recycling bins. Richard Simmons, CABE chief executive, said that local planning authorities needed to stipulate adequate space standards for houses before allowing developments to proceed.  If you want to research further into the social aspects of housing you can consult our resources,  ASSIA and the International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) and  Civil Engineering Abstracts will provide references and links to full text for all the technical aspects of housing.

Different significations

August 13, 2009



 Samuel Johnson Tercentenary 2009 

‘This Month will be publifhed, in Two large VOLUMES in FOLIO (Price bound Four Pounds Ten Shillings) A DICTIONARY of the ENGLISH LANGUAGE ; In which the Words are deducted from their Originals and illuftrated in their different Significations, by Examples from the beft Writers.  To which are prefixed, a GRAMMAR and a HISTORY of the LANGUAGE by SAMUEL JOHNSON A.M. ‘

Public Advertiser (London, England), Saturday, March 1, 1755; Issue 6346

Creating and publishing dictionaries had been popular by Johnson’s time,  when previously the idea of looking up information in a book, using the front and middle and end of a book, A-Z , had been a relative novelty.

Johnson was an extraordinary writer, always strapped for cash, and the dictionary became a great challege for him to compile over many years, sifting out words and descriptions suitable for his readers from those he felt were not suitable  [every language has … its improprieties and absurdities, which it is the duty of the lexicographer to correct or proscribe..  ‘ Preface to the Dictionary]

It is interesting to note that Johnson was well aware that despite the publishing of a list of words and their meanings, the English language would still grow and develop.  In the preface of the the Dictionary he tells his reader that ‘sounds are too volatile and subtile for legal restraints….Those who have much leisure to think, will always be enlarging the stock of ideas, and every increase of knowledge, whether real or fancied, will produce new words, or combinations of words.’

Johnson’s friends were perhaps rightly aggreived to see the poor send off the author received at Westminster Abbey when Johnson died in 1784.    Wax candles had been ordered, along with the playing of the organ, however one person observed  that ‘not a key of the organ was ftruck, or a fingle taper was lighted up on the occaifon.  The fervice, the mutilated fervice, was mumbled over …in the moft unfkilful and unfeeling manner….’ Public Advertiser (London, England), Tuesday, December 28, 1784; Issue 15785


If you would like to learn more about Dr Samuel John and his time, please see the resources below.

Domestick privacies :Samuel Johnson and the art of biography /edited by David Wheeler  shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/DOM

The political writings of Dr. Johnson /edited by J.P. Hardy shelved on Level 2 at 942.07/JOH

The life of Samuel Johnson /James Boswell ; edited, abridged and annotated by John Canning shelved on Level 2 at 828.6 JOH/BOS

BBC Stoke and Stafforshire

Icons – a portrait of England

Johnson Collection

Dr Johnson’s House

Samuel Johnson Tercentenary

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum

The Poet’s Song

August 12, 2009



Tennyson, Alfred Tennyson, Baron, 1809-1892

The rain had fallen, the Poet arose, 
 He pass’d by the town and out of the street, 
A light wind blew from the gates of the sun, 
And waves of shadow went over the wheat,

Although the Victorian poet laureate Alfred Tennyson was a household name in poetry,  Tennyson’s poetry received  mixed receptions during his lifetime. 

In May 1842 The Examiner  harshly criticised  Tennyson for making ‘Greek compounds out of homely Saxon phrases’ ;  and later in April 1847 an article in the The Hull Packet and East Riding Times still described Tennyson as a poet with a ‘peculiar but undoubted talent’ . 

Tennyson’s catholic imagery, the poetic preoccupation with death, illness, and fate,  may not have been to every reader’s taste, nor the Burns-like of accents such as ‘Wheer ‘asta beän saw long and meä liggin’ ‘ere aloän?  Noorse? thoort nowt o’ a noorse: whoy, Doctor’s abeän an’ agoän’  of the Northern Farmer.   Tennyson’s name was even parodied by W.G. Gilbert in ‘The Rival Curates’ as the ‘lamb like’ Reverend Lawn Tennison.

However with the publication of poems such as The Charge of The Light Brigade, The Lady of Shallot and Ulysses, and others containing lush descriptions of English countryside – including the victorian sentimental take on medieval literature and stories [Old Sword! whose fingers clasp’d thee  Around thy carved hilt? ]  Tennyson became a household name.   

There are a number of resources available which give an insight into the poetry, plays and prose of Tennyson and the times he lived in.   Loughborough University Library holds over 140 books on Tennyson and his works as well as online poetry journals such as Victorian Poetry and Victorian Literature and Culture, which cam be accessed via MetaLib English and Drama databases etc.

Literature Online integrates over 300,000 works of poetry, prose and drama from the 8th to the 21st century, and contains over 500 poetical works of Tennyson, plus over 90 selected web texts, prose, references and critical texts.

BBC Poetry Season

Poetry Archive

The Tennyson Page

The Victorian Web

COPAC has new look and feel

August 10, 2009

COPAC has a new look and feel, so why not try it out today?

Copac enables you to search the merged catalogues of many major UK and Irish Academic, National, and Specialist libraries, including the British Library.  A list of the libraries is available, so you can double check whether COPAC with be useful for you.