St. John de Crèvecœur, after the portrait by Vallière, 1786 MEANING a period of unusually calm dry warm weather, often accompanied by a hazy ...
duck being force-fed corn in order to fatten its liver for foie gras production photograph: GAIA – Voice of the Voiceless The French term foie gras, from foie, liver, and gras, fat, fatty, denotes the liver of a specially fattened goose or duck prepared as food. Short for pâté de foie gras, […]
A drawing of Peeping Tom, in the exact state in which he is carved, but divested of all paint and superfluous ornaments. W. Reader in The Gentleman’s Magazine: and Historical Chronicle (London) of July 1826 The Coventry Peeping Tom statue, which dates from around 1500, survives today. Though it is now stripped down to the oak, […]
Spree at Melton Mowbray. Larking at the Grantham Toll-Gate. Or Coming in for the Brush. A Society of Distinguished Painters, Who Hunt with Fox Hounds, Live Splendidly and only Paint at Night. date: unknown – by Henry Thomas Alken (1785-1851) The colloquial phrase to paint the town red means to enjoy oneself flamboyantly, to go on […]
Charles Macklin (circa 1792), by John Opie image: National Portrait Gallery MEANING a place or state of utter confusion and uproar ORIGIN In Paradise Lost (1667), the English poet John Milton (1608-74) invented the word Pandæmonium, with a capital P, as the name for the capital of Hell, containing the […]
cover of The Great Panjandrum Himself (1885), a picture book based on the text attributed to Samuel Foote, by the English artist and illustrator Randolph Caldecott (1846-86) – photograph: Aleph-Bet Books MEANING a pompous self-important official or person of rank ORIGIN The word is supposed to have been […]
photograph: javi.velazquez MEANING a heavy cotton pile fabric with lengthways ribs ORIGIN: UNKNOWN The original form of this noun, in the late 18th century, was corderoy. The earliest use of the word that I could find is in The Manchester Mercury (Lancashire) of Tuesday 7th April 1772: Manchester, March 23, 1772. STOLEN. From […]