Archive for the ‘This ‘n’ That’ Category


Marcelle de Saint Martin and British silent film

  French born Marcelle De Saint Martin, became the first true head of a cohesive costume or wardrobe department for a British film studio beginning work at the Islington film Studio in the early 1920s. A creative, talented and a striking beauty she had found great success designing costumes for the stage in London at the end of the First World War before joining Famous Players Lasky British Producers Ltd at their brand new American built and financed enterprise in a converted power station. And yet, her career as a designer for British silent film was sadly all too brief and short-lived.  Read her full story here   [caption id="attachment_3654" align="alignleft" width="184"]Marcelle de St Martin
Marcelle de St Martin[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_3651" align="alignleft" width="300"]Sketches by Marcelle de St Martin for one of the early Famous Player's Lasky films (early 1920s)
Sketches by Marcelle de St Martin for one of the early Famous Player's Lasky films (early 1920s)[/caption]                         London’s Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years  Published 15th July 2014 A detailed look at the British Silent Film industry with this first ever evaluation of the history, output and achievement of the most iconic film studio in England during the silent era.  Available in the following formats: Hardback, £27, ISBN 9781909230132 Paperback, £14.99, 
ISBN 9781909230101 From Amazon.co.uk From Amazon.com Amazon Kindle ebook, £8.99, 

ISBN 9781909230125 Apple ebook, £8.99, 
ISBN 9781909230118 (Through Apple / iTunes – search for title on iTunes bookstore)

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Learn to order food by season - Parisian style

You know where to eat and when to eat - now find out what to eat. By month. By season. The fine art and charm of dining is not in flopping into a Restaurant, grabbing the menu, sweeping it quickly with your eye and calling to the waiter, ' Give me some of this; give me some of that.’ Just the same old ‘Bread, meat and potatoes’ that everyone else orders. Why not know Food as you know other fine things?   [caption id="attachment_4088" align="aligncenter" width="330"]Paris chef in the Jazz Age
A Paris chef in the Jazz Age[/caption]     Why be at the mercy of a menu at all? Why not order the dinner in your mind before you enter the restaurant? Two or three hours before. What a gorgeous idea. The thrilling anticipation of it. How much nicer to know the novel, the exceptional, the exquisite in foods and when they are in season. Not just any dish; any old commonplace food like ‘Corn beef and Cabbage’ or ‘Ham and Sauerkraut.’ You never knew there were so many marvellous foodstuffs. And you can have them all, in Paris. Show the Head - waiter that you know as much about beautiful food as he does. Take every month of the year. Just see and marvel at what each month reaches out to you in the way of epicurean delicacies. January Eat turkey, capon, chicken, rabbit, goose, lark, pheasant, partridge, widgeon, woodcock, wild duck, plover, snipe, teal, hare and venison. Eels, smelts, oysters, turbot, cod, carp, cravettes, lobsters. Spinach, endive, brussel sprouts. February The month of green geese, whitebait, giant asparagus, globe artichokes, pronns, pigeons and truffles. What on earth is pronns? March The abundant fish month. Sole, plaice, flounder, eels, perch, pike, smelts, carp. Early green peas. Mppr fowl and plover. Some choice dishes are Omelette aux huitres 9oysters), Filets de Soles Colbert, Mackerel Hollandaise, Turbot Dieppoise or Perche gratinee or brochet en dauphin. April Red and gray mullets, fresh herrings, ham, lamb, spring chicken. Plover's eggs are the hors d'oeuvres of the month. May The great delight of May is the fresh vegetables. The early green pea with sweetbreads, and pigeons and baby chickens and duckings. And the mushrooms and the first strawberries. June Here is a typical June dinner. Green pea soup. Turbot with lobster sauce. Saddle of lamb, mint sauce. Asparagus and new potatoes. Roast duck. Hearts of lettuce salad, strawberries and cream. Or substitute a luscious home grown chicken, roasted to a golden brown with creamy bread sauce; cherry pie. After that a fragrant slice of camembert and a pony of brandy. August The month for suckling pig, the peach, the green fig, the grouse and venison and mutton. September The grape gathering month. The month of partridges and oysters and abundant fruit. And the French Thrush is in perfection. (Their own orgies on the grape vines give them a fine flavour). Order your 'Thrush au Chasseur a la Choucroute'. Or have it Au Choux or swathed in fat bacon. October Mackerel comes in now. And pheasants. A pheasant pie, sautéed with truffles; served with an orange salad and chip potatoes. November Now we welcome the Turkey. And the Chestnut. And November is the month of soups, Petite Marmite or Pot au feu and mutton broth. December The month of feasting. A York ham basted in Champagne and spiced sausages. Turtle soup. Plum pudding. Roast Turkey. (nothing changes)…

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The Social Season in the Jazz Age

The social season in the Jazz Age was a well established pattern of behavior where the elite, rich and famous members of society moved with the seasons like a flock of migratory birds from one nesting place to another enjoying a range of activities and events. (more…)

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The bizarre tale of Mrs Smith Wilkinson

Described variously as ‘The Countess of Monte Cristo’, ‘The Queen of Diamonds’ and ‘Madame Aladdin’, Mrs Smith Wilkinson can be seen as a society con-artist and one of the first wannabe celebrities. She made a rather big splash in Paris in the summer of 1921 causing much debate and gossip in the press thereafter. Whatever was all the fuss about? (more…)

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Gasoline and love – Jenny Dolly and the Speedway star Harry Knight

I recently bought a rather lovely postcard showing the Dolly Sisters early in their career, signed by them (the ‘Sisters Dolly’) to a H. C. Knight. It is most likely that the card was given to Harry Knight, the speedway driver of Indianapolis in about 1911. (more…)

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