Quite A Turk

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

From caravan outpost to the world’s oil capital: this was the fate of Baku (Azerbaijan) in the late nineteenth century, a transformation which took not much more than one generation. The sudden accretion of wealth and prominence gave rise to a profusion of extravagant characters as well as notable buildings – mosques, Zoroastrian temples, casinos, […]

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Husband Hunting

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Consuelo Vanderbilt was the most glamorous of the American heiresses to come to England and marry a duke, but for her the fairy tale ended in divorce and disillusion. Amanda Mackenzie Stuart has written a joint biography of Consuelo and her mother Alva which is a fascinating study of the super-rich of the Gilded Age.

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How We Laughed

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

One day, lunching at the Elysée, Alexis de Redé found himself sitting next to the wife of the then Mayor of Paris, Mme Tibéri. She asked him what he did in life. Nothing, he replied. Impossible, she said, there isn’t a soul who does nothing. ‘On the contrary, I’m always very busy,’ Alexis assured her. […]

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RLF - March