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History, part 8: the oiseleurs of Paris

Anyone who wanted to buy a pet bird in Paris in the late 1600s would have known exactly where to find one: the quai de la Megisserie, a bustling area on the right bank of the Seine (1); or, if it was a Sunday, on the Vallée de Misère and the Pont au Change at […]... Read More
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Lizard canary basics, Part 10: tiny details, big impact

Let’s start with a riddle: What am I? All canaries possess them, but I have never seen any writer on canaries mention them. You will see them in photographs, but rarely in drawings. They are an insignificant detail in every variety except one: the Lizard canary. Answer: they there are two tufts of feathers either side of […]... Read More
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History, part 5: the Huguenot legend and the comfort of opinion

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort […]... Read More
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History, part 4: the Last of France

Before anyone familiar with the Pre-Raphaelites (1) points it out, the illustration above has nothing to with France and was painted in a different era from the great Huguenot exodus, which is the subject of this post. Yet, when you try to understand what emigration meant to real people; their commitment, their emotions, this painting […]... Read More