18 April 2024

18 April

NEW - Giuseppe Terragni - architect

Major pioneer of Italian Rationalism

The influential architect Giuseppe Terragni, who was a pioneer of the modern movement in Italy and a leading Italian Rationalist, was born in Meda, a town in Lombardy between Milan and Como, on this day in 1904.  Terragni's work tends to be associated with the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, although some students of his work have questioned whether he should be considered a Fascist architect.  He was a founding member of the Gruppo 7, a collective of seven Italian architects whose aim was to move Italian architecture away from neo-Classical and neo-Baroque revivalism towards Rationalism. The group produced a manifesto spelling out their aims.  Terragni’s most renowned work is the Casa del Fascio in Como, also known as the Palazzo Terragni, which was constructed between 1932 and 1936 and is considered a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture.  Other notable works include his war memorials at Como and Erba, 15km (nine miles) east of the lakeside city, the Posta Hotel in Como, a number of apartment buildings in Como and Milan and the Antonio Sant'Elia nursery school in Como.  Read more…


Ilario Bandini - racing car maker

Farmer's son who created beautiful and successful cars

Ilario Bandini, a businessman and racing driver who went on to construct some of Italy’s most beautiful racing cars, was born on this day in 1911 in Villa Rovere in Emilia-Romagna.  His cars won races in Europe and America and his designs earned the respect of the great Italian performance car maker Enzo Ferrari.  Bandini was from a farming family but was fascinated with cars and motorcycles and began to work part-time as a mechanic while he was still at school, eventually becoming an apprentice in a workshop in nearby Forlì.  At the age of 25 he took the bold decision to move to Eritrea, then an Italian colony, in northern Africa, where he repaired trucks and in time set up a transport business, which was very successful.  The venture made him enough money to open a garage in Forlì when he returned to Italy in 1939, running a repair workshop alongside a car rental and chauffeured limousine business.  At around the same time, he began to compete in motorcycle races, soon graduating from two wheels to four. In 1940, he took part in the Mille Miglia, the 1,000-mile road race from Brescia to Rome and back.  Read more…


Lucrezia Borgia – notorious beauty

Pope’s daughter who inspired painters and poets

Lucrezia Borgia, the illegitimate daughter of Rodrigo Borgia - Pope Alexander VI - was born on this day in 1480 in Subiaco near Rome.  A reputedly beautiful woman, she entered into arranged marriages to important men to advance her family’s political position and rumours have abounded about the fate of her first two husbands.  Macchiavelli wrote about the Borgia family in his book, The Prince, depicting Lucrezia as some kind of femme fatale and this characterisation of her, whether just or unjust, has lasted over the years, being reproduced in many works of art, books and films.  Lucrezia was born to Vannozza dei Cattanei, one of Rodrigo Borgia’s mistresses, and had three brothers, Cesare, Giovanni and Gioffre. When she was just ten years old the first matrimonial arrangement was made on her behalf but was annulled after a few weeks in favour of a better match, which was also later called off. But after Rodrigo became Pope Alexander VI, he arranged for Lucrezia to marry Giovanni Sforza.  When the Pope needed a new, more advantageous, political alliance it is thought he may have ordered the execution of Giovanni, but Lucrezia was able to warn her husband and he fled to Rome.  Read more…


Giuseppe Pella – prime minister

Economist did wonders for the value of the lira

Giuseppe Pella, who served as the 31st prime minister of Italy from August 1953 to January 1954, was born on this day in 1902 in Valdengo in Piedmont.  Pella is considered one of the most important politicians in Italy’s postwar history because his economic and monetarist policies led to the strong economic growth that transformed his shattered country into a global industrial power and improved the standard of living for most Italians. Born into a family of sharecroppers, after finishing elementary school Pella attended a technical school and then an accounting institute in Turin. He graduated in economy and commerce in 1924. Pella became a professor of accounting at the Sapienza University of Rome and the University of Turin and also worked as a tax advisor and auditor.  Under the Mussolini regime, Pella was forced to join the National Fascist Party to be able to continue with his profession.  He was appointed a member of the governing council of the Fascist Culture Provincial Institute of Biella, a town near his birth place of Valdengo, and in the late 1930s was appointed deputy podestá - mayor - of Biella.  Read more…


Ippolita Maria Sforza – noblewoman

Learned lady sacrificed happiness for a political alliance

Ippolita Maria Sforza, a cultured young noblewoman who wrote poetry, letters and documents in Latin, was born on this day in 1446 in Cremona.  She was married to Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, who later became King Alfonso II of Naples, because it was a politically advantageous alliance, but she did not live long enough to become his Queen consort.  Ippolita was the eldest daughter of Francesco I Sforza, Duke of Milan, and Bianca Maria Visconti.  She was tutored along with her six younger brothers and one younger sister by a Greek scholar who taught her philosophy and Greek.  When she was 14 years old she composed a Latin address for Pope Pius II, which became well known after it was circulated in manuscript form.  She wrote many letters, which were published in Italy in one volume in 1893. She also wrote poetry and a Latin eulogy for her father, Francesco.  Ippolita was married at the age of 19 to Alfonso, the eldest son of King Ferdinand I of Naples. The marriage created a powerful alliance between the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan.  But her husband treated her with a lack of respect throughout their marriage.  Read more…


Book of the Day: The Terragni Atlas: Built Architecture, by Attilio Terragni and Daniel Libeskind, with photography by Paolo Rosselli 

A pioneer of modernist architecture, Giuseppe Terragni produced some of Italy's most significant 20th century buildings. Published to celebrate the centenary of Terragni's birth, The Terragni Atlas presents a visual record of this influential architect whose work is experiencing renewed international interest.  In a short and intense career, Terragni created a small but remarkable group of designs that form the nucleus of the Italian Rationalist school of architecture. The 424-page Atlas presents the architecture of Terragni through a juxtaposition of archival images and contemporary photographs by Paolo Rosselli. Daniel Libeskind's authoritative and original essay and Rosselli's outstanding photography attest to the importance of Terragni's work and his continued influence on modern architecture.

Daniel Libeskind, a Polish-American architect, artist, professor and set designer, was selected to design the World Trade Center redevelopment project in New York City. His architectural and urban design practice is based in Berlin and New York. Attilio Terragni is Giuseppe Terragni’s great nephew.

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Giuseppe Terragni - architect

Major pioneer of Italian Rationalism

Terragni's Casa del Fascio in Como, completed in 1936, is considered a modernist masterpiece
Terragni's Casa del Fascio in Como, completed in
1936, is considered a modernist masterpiece
The influential architect Giuseppe Terragni, who was a pioneer of the modern movement in Italy and a leading Italian Rationalist, was born in Meda, a town in Lombardy between Milan and Como, on this day in 1904.

Terragni's work tends to be associated with the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, although some students of his work have questioned whether he should be considered a Fascist architect.

He was a founding member of the Gruppo 7, a collective of seven Italian architects whose aim was to move Italian architecture away from neo-classical and neo-baroque revivalism towards Rationalism. The group produced a manifesto spelling out their aims. 

Terragni’s most renowned work is the Casa del Fascio in Como, also known as the Palazzo Terragni, which was constructed between 1932 and 1936 and is considered a masterpiece. 

Other notable works include his war memorials at Como and Erba, the Posta Hotel in Como, a number of apartment buildings in Como and Milan, a Casa del Fascio in Brianza and another in Lissone, and the Antonio Sant'Elia nursery school in Como.

Terragni's career and life were cut short by World War Two
Terragni's career and life were
cut short by World War Two
With fellow architect Pietro Lingeri, he designed the Danteum, a proposed monument in Rome to the Italian poet Dante Alighieri structured to reflect his greatest work, the Divine Comedy. The monument, in the event, was never built.

Terragni’s father, Michele, was a builder and owner of a construction company. His mother, Emilia, arranged for him to live with members of her family in Como so that he could attend lessons at the Technical Institute of Como, where he enrolled on a mathematical physics course.

He graduated in 1921 and enrolled at the Royal Higher Technical Institute (later Polytechnic of Milan), where he graduated in 1926 before he and six fellow students - Luigi Figini, Adalberto Libera, Gino Pollini, Guido Frette, Sebastiano Larco Silva and Carlo Enrico Rava - signed the document that united them as the Gruppo 7, which the following year expanded into the Italian Rational Architecture Movement (MIAR).

In the same year, 1927, the magazine Rassegna Italiana published the four articles considered to be the manifesto of Italian Rationalism. Terragni was one of the seven signatories.

With his brother, Attilio, Terragni opened an office in Como in 1927. His first original building, a collaboration with Luigi Zuccoli, was the Novocomum apartment building in Como (1927-29), designed in European avant-garde style with elements of German expressionism and Soviet constructivism. 

Between 1928 and 1932 he created the War Memorial in Erba, a town east of Como, the first modern war memorial in Italy. He moved from there to start work on the Casa del Fascio in Como, which fronts on to Piazza del Popolo on Via Alessandro Manzoni, opposite Como’s majestic duomo, the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta, with its 15th century Gothic facade and a 18th century cupola by Filippo Juvara.

Terragni's Monumento ai Caduti in Erba was the first modern war memorial built in Italy
Terragni's Monumento ai Caduti in Erba was the
first modern war memorial built in Italy
The Casa del Fascio, which enthusiasts see as a milestone of modern European architecture, forms a perfect prism, its height corresponding to half the base. It owes it expanse of glass to Terragni himself, who followed the Fascist regime’s instruction to create a building that was accessible and without secrets, declaring that "the concept of visibility, of the instinctive control established between the public and Federation workers predominates in the study of this Casa del Fascio". 

In 1933, Terragni joined Lingeri in opening a studio in Milan, where they designed a series of apartment houses, including the Casa Rustici in Corso Sempione, the broad boulevard that links Piazza Firenze with the Arco della Pace, and the Casa Toninello in Via Perasto and Casa Ghiringhelli in Piazzale Lagosta, both in the Isola district, north of Porta Garibaldi railway station.

Back in Como, in 1936 he built the Antonio Sant'Elia nursery school, for which his design was characterised by large bright spaces that he hoped would create a sense of happy freedom. It formed part of a social programme aimed at helping working-class women escape from domestic drudgery and giving children a healthy, hygienic environment, open to greenery, play and education. 

He and Attilio retained their office in Como until Giuseppe's premature death at the age of just 39, the result of the physical and psychological consequences of being called up to serve with the Italian Army on the Eastern Front. 

Terragni was ahead of his time in giving children a large, airy play area in his Sant'Elia nursery
Terragni was ahead of his time in giving children
a large, airy play area in his Sant'Elia nursery
Attilio was the Fascist Podestà (mayor) of Como when the Casa del Fascio, built as the local party headquarters, was commissioned,

Until 1940 Terragni was fully active and had many works in progress, including the Danteum, the project for the development of the Cortesella district of Como, the Casa del Fascio and the complex Casa Giuliani Frigerio, which some consider to be his final masterpiece.

Everything changed, though, when Italy entered World War Two. Terragni received his call-up papers and was assigned to an Italian army unit destined for the Eastern Front. 

After the Italian advance disintegrated near Stalingrad, Terragni suffered a nervous breakdown.  He returned to Como but in July 1943 he collapsed and died at his girlfriend's house, having suffered a cerebral thrombosis.

His body was buried in the family tomb in Lentate sul Seveso, a neighbouring town to Meda. 

Terragni's architectural legacy, though brief, left a significant impact on modernist architecture in Italy, and his works continue to be studied and admired for their innovative approach and design excellence. 

Meda's Church of San Vittore is an important example of Lombard Renaissance architecture
Meda's Church of San Vittore is an important
example of Lombard Renaissance architecture
Travel tip:

Meda, where Terragni was born, is a town in the province of Monza and Brianza in Lombardy, around 26km (15 miles) north of Milan and a similar distance south of Como. Nowadays a centre for furniture production, it was originally established around a convent built on a mound (meta in Latin) from which it gets its name. The territory was held by the Visconti and Sforza families until coming under the control of Spain, France and the Habsburg empire before becoming part of the Kingdom of Italy. The town’s 16th century Church of San Vittore  has a series of frescoes by Bernardino Luini. 

The Casa Ghiringhelli in Isola
is one of Terragni's buildings
Travel tip:

Isola, the district of Milan where Terragini and Pietro Lingeri collaborated on a number of apartment buildings, is regarded as a somewhat trendy, up-and-coming neighbourhood, a former working-class area that has taken on a vibrant hipster feel. Easy to reach via Milan’s metro system, it is perfect for travellers who want to experience an alternative Milan. It has a lively art scene with plentiful street art, especially along the underground tunnel connecting the Isola and Garibaldi metro stations. As well as such public art installations, Isola has many art galleries that remain largely undiscovered by the tourist crowds who flood to Milan for its most famous art galleries. Isola is home to Ratanà, considered by some to be one of the best restaurants in all of Milan, where Milan-born head chef Cesare Battisti brings a signature twist to typical Milanese dishes. 

Also on this day:

1446: The birth of noblewoman Ippolita Maria Sforza

1480: The birth of notorious beauty Lucrezia Borgia

1902: The birth of politician Giuseppe Pella

1911: The birth of racing car maker Ilario Bandini


17 April 2024

17 April

Riccardo Patrese - racing driver

Former Williams ace was first in Formula One to start 250 races

The racing driver Riccardo Patrese, who for 15 years was the only Formula One driver to have started more than 250 Grand Prix races, was born on this day in 1954 in Padua.  The former Williams driver reached the milestone in the German Grand Prix of 1993, having three years earlier been the first to make 200 starts.  Patrese retired at the end of the 1993 season with his total on 256 and his record of longevity was not surpassed until 2008, when the Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello made his 257th start at the Turkish Grand Prix.  Ferrari ace Michael Schumacher passed 250 two years later and Patrese’s total has now been exceeded by six drivers, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa having all joined the 250 club.  Patrese also became famous for an unwanted record, having gone more than six years between his second Grand Prix victory in Formula One, in the 1983 South African GP, and his third, in the San Marino GP of 1990.  He enjoyed his most successful years while driving for Williams between 1987 and 1992, finishing third in the drivers’ championship in 1989 and 1991 and runner-up in 1992.  Read more…


Graziella Sciutti - operatic soprano

Vivacious performer who became a successful director

The operatic soprano Graziella Sciutti, a singer known for a vivacious stage presence and engaging personality who excelled in the work of Mozart, Puccini and Verdi, was born on this day in 1927 in Turin.  The daughter of an organist and pianist, she grew up in a bilingual household, speaking both Italian and her mother’s native tongue, French. Her early childhood was spent in Geneva in Switzerland before the family moved to Rome, so that she could attend the Accademia di Santa Cecilia, which is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious musical institutions.  Sciutti wanted to play the piano like her father but it became clear she had a notable voice and she caught the eye as a soloist when she was still a student.  She was asked at the last moment to appear in a performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, the up-and-coming Austrian who would become one of the greatest conductors in the world.  It was a daunting prospect, forced on her at short notice after another singer became ill, but she rose to the challenge and won accolades as a result.  It led her to be spotted by Gabriel Dussurget, founder and leading light of the Festival at Aix-en-Provence Festival.  Read more…


Giovanni Riccioli – astronomer

Jesuit priest had a crater on the moon named after him

Giovanni Battista Riccioli, a Jesuit priest who became one of the principal astronomers of the 17th century, was born on this day in 1598 in Ferrara.  He was renowned for his experiments with pendulums and falling bodies and for his studies of the motion of the earth and the surface of the moon. Riccioli entered the Society of Jesus when he was 16 and after completing his training began studying the humanities.  Between 1620 and 1628 he studied philosophy and theology at the Jesuit College in Parma, where he was taught by Giuseppe Biancani, who had accepted new ideas such as the existence of lunar mountains.  After Riccioli was ordained he taught physics and metaphysics at Parma and engaged in experiments with falling bodies and pendulums. He is believed to be the first scientist to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body. He also carried out observations of the surface of the moon.  Riccioli became more committed to studying astronomy than theology and his superiors in the Jesuits assigned him to carry out astronomical research.  He went to work at a college in Bologna where he built an observatory.  Read more…


Gianni Raimondi – tenor

Brilliant performer left few recordings of his voice

Opera singer Gianni Raimondo, who on his first appearance at La Scala in Milan sang opposite Maria Callas in a production by Luchino Visconti, was born on this day in 1923 in Bologna.  Raimondi was admired for his brilliant top notes and exquisite phrasing when he performed. Opera fans have been disappointed that more recordings of his performances were not made at the time.  After studying voice in Bologna and Mantua, the tenor made his stage debut at the Teatro Consorziale in Budrio a small town near Bologna, in 1977 as the Duke in Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. The following year in Bologna he sang the part of Ernesto in Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale and was then chosen for the premiere of Il contrabasso by Valentino Bucchi at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence.  In 1956 he made his La Scala debut opposite Callas in Verdi’s La traviata and the following year sang opposite Callas again in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena.  He was also successful at La Scala in Gioachino Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto and Semiramide and as Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème.  Raimondo made his American debut in 1957 in San Francisco and then took part in La bohème at the Staatsoper in Vienna.  Read more…


Book of the Day: Motor Racing Heroes: The Stories of 100 Greats, by Robert John Newman

Covering almost 100 years of motor racing history, humanity, not simple statistics, is revealed here as the true source of the subject’s heroism. Take André Boillot; so tired at the end of the 1919 Targa Florio, he made a silly mistake, spinning his car backwards across the finish line yet he still won. Or Grand Prix winners Robert Benoist, William Grover Williams and Jean-Pierre Wimille, all of whom became French resistance fighters during WWII. There’s David Purley’s valiant attempt at rescuing a trapped Roger Williamson by overturning Willamson’s blazing March with his bare hands during the 1973 Grand Prix of Holland. And Alessandro Zanardi, who lost both his legs in a CART accident, yet still came back to win races. The lighter side of motor sport is also here, with Giannino Marzotto, who won the 1950 Mille Miglia wearing an immaculate double-breasted suit. Or Giovanni Bracco, who won the 1952 Mille Miglia as he swigged from a bottle of red wine! There are so many heroes and heroines in this sport. Motor Racing Heroes is about 100 of them

Born in Ashford, Kent, Robert Newman was an avid motor racing fan and a particular admirer of Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss. In 1955, joined the Kentish Express in his home town as a reporter, later also acting as correspondent for The Times, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, the Evening Standard and Southern TV. He subsequently worked for Pirelli first as UK press officer and then as their Milan-based international PR manager, working with many stars, including Fangio and Moss.

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16 April 2024

16 April

Fortunino Matania - artist and illustrator

War artist famous also for images of British history

Chevalier Fortunino Matania, a prodigiously talented artist who became known as one of the greatest magazine illustrators in publishing history, was born on this day in 1881 in Naples.  Matania made his name largely in England, where in 1904 he joined the staff of The Sphere, the illustrated news magazine that was founded in London in 1900 in competition with The Graphic and the Illustrated London News.  The use of photography on a commercial scale was in its infancy and artists who could work under deadline pressure to produce high-quality, realistic images to accompany news stories were in big demand.  Never short of work, he was commissioned by magazines across Europe, including many in his native Italy.  Matania’s best known work was from the battlegrounds of the First World War but he also covered every major event - marriages, christenings, funerals and state occasions - from the coronation of Edward VII in 1902 to that of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  He produced illustrations of the Sinking of the Titanic for The Sphere.  He was also in demand to design advertising posters, such as those inviting travellers on the LNER and other railways to visit Blackpool or Southport.  Read more…


Felice Pedroni - prospector

Italian’s discovery sparked Fairbanks Gold Rush

The gold prospector known as Felix Pedro was born Felice Pedroni on this day in 1858 in the village of Trignano, near the small Apennine town of Fanano in Emilia-Romagna.  In July 1902, on or around the 22nd, Pedroni discovered gold in the Tanana Hills northeast of the fledgling town of Fairbanks, Alaska in a small, then unnamed stream (later to be called Pedro Creek).  Some claim that Pedroni was the prospector who, on his return to Fairbanks from his prospecting mission, uttered the famous words "There's gold in them there hills", although there are other accounts of where the phrase originated.  What does not seem to be disputed is that Pedroni’s discovery triggered what became known as the Fairbanks Gold Rush as more than 1,000 other gold diggers flooded the area.  Brought up in a family of subsistence farmers in Trignano, Pedroni was the youngest of six brothers. He left Italy in 1881 after the death of his father. He moved first to France, then took the bold decision to board a steamship to America.  After disembarking in New York City, where he was registered as Felix Pedro, he found work as a labourer but, having heard about the gold in Alaska was determined to get there.  Read more…


Leo Nucci – operatic baritone

Singer renowned for his interpretation of Rigoletto

One of the most famous baritones in the world, Leo Nucci, was born on this day in 1942 in Castiglione dei Pepoli, a small town south of Bologna and, since making his stage debut in 1967, has been delighting opera audiences for more than 50 years.  The singer has performed his signature role of Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto more than 500 times all over the world. He had planned to retire in 2020, but changed his mind during the first Covid-19 lockdown when the area around his home near the city of Lodi was declared a red zone and subject to the toughest restrictions imposed by the Italian government.  He has said that he lost colleagues and friends to Covid and had the opportunity for reflection while he remained at his home, listening to the sounds of nature, broken only by the sirens of hundreds of ambulances taking victims of the virus to hospital. It was then he realised he ought to move forward in his career and play his role as a singer fully in order to be useful to others.  At the start of his career, Nucci studied with Giuseppe Marchese and won several singing competitions. He first appeared on stage in Spoleto as Figaro in Gioachino Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia. Read more…


Antonio Starabba, Marchese di Rudini – Prime Minister

Bloodshed in Milan marred liberal premier’s time in office

Political leader Antonio Starabba, Marchese di Rudini, who twice served as prime minister of Italy, was born on this day in 1839 in Palermo in Sicily.  During his second term in office, Di Rudini’s Government passed social legislation to create an obligatory workmen’s compensation scheme and a fund for disability and old age pensions but they were also blamed for the army’s brutal treatment of rioters in Milan.  Di Rudini was born into an aristocratic but liberal Sicilian family and grew up to join the revolutionaries in Sicily.  He became Mayor of Palermo and successfully resisted the opponents of national unity. He was then promoted to Prefect and given the task of suppressing the brigands in Sicily.  After entering parliament, Di Rudini became leader of the right wing but when he became premier in 1891 he formed a coalition with the left and began economic reforms.  When Di Rudini became prime minister for the second time in 1896, the Italian army had just been defeated in Ethiopia and he signed the peace treaty to end the war there.  In 1898, riots in Milan about food prices were brutally repressed by General Fiorenzo Bava-Beccaris.  Read more…


Adelaide del Vasto – Countess of Sicily

Prudent ruler who looked after Sicily for her young sons

Adelaide del Vasto, who served as regent of Sicily during the 12th century, died on this day in 1118 in Sicily.  One historian described her as ‘a prudent woman’ and a Greek and Arab document listed Adelaide – known in Italian as Adelasia - as ‘a great female ruler and protector of the Christian faith’.  Born in Piedmont, Adelaide was from an important family with branches that ruled Liguria and Turin. She became the third wife of Roger I of Sicily in 1089. When he died in 1101 she became regent of Sicily for her young sons, Simon and Roger II, when she was about 26.  After rebellions broke out in parts of Calabria and Sicily, Adelaide dealt with them severely, but this did not tarnish her reputation as a good ruler.  Adelaide’s eldest son, Simon, was enthroned at about the age of nine but he died in 1105 leaving her as regent again until Roger II became old enough to take control of the kingdom in 1112. There is evidence that Adelaide continued to play a central role in the governing of Sicily as her signature can still be seen on documents drawn up after that date.  During her regency Palermo officially became capital of the Kingdom of Sicily.  Read more…


Book of the Day: Drawing from History: The Forgotten Art of Fortunino Matania, by Lucinda Gosling

Drawing from History is the first book dedicated to showcasing the work of Fortunino Matania, one of the most talented and respected illustrators of the 20th century. This 340-page volume includes examples of his detailed and breathtaking art covering his whole career, with more than 750 illustrations, many taken directly from the original art. Enjoy his meticulously accurate historical drawings and paintings of antiquity, the Roman era, British history and English Kings and Queens, his book illustrations for Kipling stories, Edgar Rice Burroughs stories and of course a major selection of his historic World War One illustrations for The Sphere as well as numerous other paintings and drawings from his prolific output. His work inspired many contemporary artists: Annigoni and Russell Flint both visited his studio, and many comic strip artists collected his work including Al Williamson, Roy Krenkel, Frank Frazetta, John Bolton, Bernie Wrightson as well as film directors such as Cecil B DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock. The British Royal family purchased his originals and John Singer Sargent admired and purchased one of his paintings at the Royal Academy. He was made a Chevalier of the Crown of Italy and exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and Royal Institute of Art.

Lucinda Gosling is a writer, historian, researcher, speaker and curator with a special interest in the social and cultural history of the early 20th century.  Her published books span a range of subjects including debutantes, royal coronations, First World War cartoons, high society, holidays, Great War knitting, feminist art and, most recently, the history of an iconic theatrical landmark, the London Hippodrome.

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