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Women at a quilting bee. Lithograph, 1876 © Bridgeman Images.

Women, non-importation agreements and spinning bees in the American Revolution.

Ben Jones

The sinister reach of East Germany’s Ministry for State Security did not end in 1989. According to the British press, the Stasi is still with us.

The Sharp Family, by Johan Zoffany, 1779-81 (John is next to Frances  in blue; Elizabeth plays the harpsichord beside Granville; James holds a ‘serpent’, William waves his hat and Judith plays the lute) © Stefano Baldini/Bridgeman Images.

The Sharp siblings show the power of family to help and support each other towards greatness.

Central transept of the Great Exhibition, c.1851, John Nash.

Snobs, bores and triumphs at the Royal Society of Arts.

Rhinoceros, by Albrecht Dürer, woodcut, 1515. National Gallery of Art, Washington DC / Wikimedia/Creative Commons.

For centuries, one grossly distorted woodcut defined the ideal of a rare beast.

Summer Reading

Eight historians share the books they’ve enjoyed this year and reveal what’s on their ‘to-read’ pile. 

Home Secretary James Chuter Ede at his desk, c.1950 © Hulton Getty Images.

The Representation of the People Act, which received royal assent on 30 July 1948, abolished university constituencies.

Sunday Afternoon, by Leopold von Kalckreuth, 1893 © Bridgeman Images.Sunday Afternoon, by Leopold von Kalckreuth, 1893 © Bridgeman Images.

The presence of Covid-19 is a reminder of our new proximity to the fragilities and perils of the past.

Parliamentary propaganda of Cavalier cruelty, woodcut, 1644 © Bridgeman Images.

Politics, propaganda and censorship during the Civil Wars. 

Allegory of the Siege of Paris, 1870,  by Jean-Louis-Ernest Meissonier © Bridgeman Images.

The conflict that broke out between France and an ambitious new German state 150 years ago can lay claim to be the first modern war.