It Could Do with a Lick of Paint

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Perfected and polished by Eton and Christ Church, Edward Geoffrey Stanley, the future Earl of Derby and prime minister, made a leisurely tour of Italy and parts of Switzerland and the Alps in 1820–22 and was, on the whole, gloriously unimpressed by what he saw, as he recorded in his journal, published for the first time here. He was serene in his confidence that

Slow Boat to China

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Close by the desk on which I write, I have some pieces of Tibet, a collection of ordinary stones picked up at various places thirty years ago on my one and only visit there. They are each wrapped in an envelope and labelled ‘Potala Palace’, ‘Yamdrok Lake’ and ‘Norbulingka Palace’. This set of otherwise unremarkable […]

Our Man in Ajmer

Posted on by Jonathan Beckman

Pity Sir Thomas Roe. He was sent to India in February 1615 by James I as the first English ambassador to the fabulously glamorous Mughal court – a privilege and an extraordinary opportunity, one might think. But diplomats in the 17th century, in Europe at least, were woefully underpaid and were expected to make up any shortfall out of their own pockets in anticipation of a refund on their

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

RLF - March