PHARAOH OF THE TWO LANDS – The African Story of the Kings of Napata
28 April – 25 July 2022
In the 8th century BC, a kingdom grew up around the Nubian capital, Napata. In about 730 BC, the Nubian king Piankhy conquered Egypt and founded the 25th Dynasty of Kushite kings, who ruled for more than fifty years over a kingdom stretching from the Nile Delta to the confluence of the White and Blue Niles. The most famous of those kings is the pharaoh Taharqa.
The exhibition highlights the importance of this vast kingdom, located in what is now northern Sudan. It is organised in connection with the Louvre’s archaeological campaign in Sudan, which focused for ten years on the site of Muweis before moving some 30 kilometres northwards to El-Hassa, not far from the pyramids of Meroe.
John Goodall’s The Castle: A history is the much slimmer companion to his magisterial The English Castle, (2011). Partly an attempt to bring the fruits of his research to a wider audience, Goodall’s new book uses extracts and quotations as the foundation of a historical account: each short chapter features an excerpt from a primary source that seeks to illustrate a particular moment. Rather than offering an architectural or conventional narrative history, Goodall explores the concept of the castle as it has been imagined, remade and contested over time. Important castles such as the Tower of London, Kenilworth and Windsor feature throughout.
In January 2022 I came down with mild symptoms of something or other. I was already triple-vaxxed, with a French vaccine passport (“pass vaccinal”) on my iPhone to prove it, and like a true pioneer I had already suffered through a bout of COVID-19 long before, in March 2020.
More than one million Americans were killed by Covid-19 in just over two years, the CDC reports. But the disease has hit some segments of the U.S. population far more than others. Photo illustration: Todd Johnson
Delve into the cinematic legacy of Portofino. This year Belmond were thrilled to team up with the Italian Riviera Film Festival to celebrate Portofino’s silver screen heritage, producing a heartfelt short film presented by beloved actor Alessandro Gassmann. Commissioned by Belmond from local production company Flying Donkeys, the film honours legendary actor, director, screenwriter and Splendido guest, Vittorio Gassmann – Alessandro’s father.
The architecture of Kelmscott Manor is woven into William Morris’s 1890 novel, News from Nowhere, in which a journey exploring utopian ideals in a post-industrial world leads, after much wandering, to a ‘many-gabled old house built by the simple country-folk of the long-past times’. There is no ‘extravagant love of ornament’ here, only a feeling that ‘the house itself and its associations was the ornament of the country life amidst which it had been left stranded from old times’. It is a poignant vision that underlines both a respect for the past and an ideal of a new society based on mutual interest and support.
Today, this old stone-built farm house is best known as the Morrises’ country home, from 1871. First leased as a retreat from busy London life, it became a vital point of reference for Morris, as artist, designer and poet; it was his ‘Heaven on Earth’, and a source of profound emotional and artistic inspiration.
It is thought that cats lived alongside people for thousands of years, hunting the rodents that inevitably accompany human settlements, before they deigned to become domesticated—a state that many cat owners can attest feels provisional to this day. One research paper on the history of the house cat observes, “Let us just say that our cats do not take instruction well. Such attributes suggest that whereas other domesticates were recruited from the wild by humans who bred them for specific tasks, ancestors of domestic cats most likely chose to live among humans because of opportunities they found for themselves.”
Verona is a city in northern Italy’s Veneto region, with a medieval old town built between the meandering Adige River. It’s famous for being the setting of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” A 14th-century residence with a tiny balcony overlooking a courtyard is said be “Juliet’s House.” The Verona Arena is a huge 1st-century Roman amphitheater, which currently hosts concerts and large-scale opera performances.