Monday, October 22, 2012

Pater, Ruskin and Botticelli

The last time we met for class Johanna (sorry if my spelling is off) remarked that there was no Ruskin  assigned for this week's class. So, I did a little bit of skimming through the always magnificent JSTOR and I came across a very interesting article which connected Ruskin and Pater. Apparently, the two had a bit of a feud concerning the rediscovery of Botticelli in the 19th Century. Both men wanted to claim credit for it! In 1883 Ruskin explicitly stated that  he alone  rediscovered Botticelli. However in August of 1870 Pater published an essay entitled, "A Fragment on Sandro Botticelli" while it was not until a year later in 1871 that Ruskin mentioned Botticelli in an Oxford lecture during the Lent term. This lecture was not published until 3yrs later in 1873. It appears that Pater clearly wins the debate here. Yet, there is a letter from Ruskin to Charles Elliot Norton dated July 1870 (a month before Pater's article) in which Ruskin devotes a single sentence to Botticelli and his general dislike of the painter.While Ruskin is typically credited with the rediscovery of Botticelli in the 19th century, it does appear that perhaps this is slightly incorrect. 

Monday, October 1, 2012


The spirit sherry takes its name from the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. In 1725 an Irishman by the almost comically stereotypical name of Patrick Murphy founded the sherry company that would be taken over by the Domecq family.

 In 1814 the Scotsman John James Ruskin combined with Pedro Domecq and Henry Telford to found Ruskin, Domecq, and Telford, the sherry-importing business that would make Ruskin and his son John, the critic, rather fabulously wealthy.

In 1994 Pedro Domecq combined with Allied Lyons (itself the product of a merger between Allied Breweries and J. Lyons and Co., a catering, restaurant, and hotel group) to form Allied Domecq.

In 2005 Allied Domecq was acquired by Pernod Ricard SA. Late that year, Pernod announced that it was spinning off the restaurant arm of what had been Allied Lyons – including Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins – to a consortium of 3 US private equity firms: Thomas H. Lee Partners, The Carlyle Group, and Bain Capital LLP.

The Domecq name (which can still be found on certain brands of sherry) remains in the hands of Pernod Ricard SA, the descendent of the Pernod Fils company (founded on the production of absinthe), which owns the Seagram name and has most recently acquired Absolut Vodka.

faith, or the capacity for faith?

[Ruskin, writing to Charles Eliot Norton, 27 December 1872, responding to a manuscript on Sienese history Norton had sent him:]

I was greatly surprised by the early dates you assign, and prove, for the fall of Siena and also, by your ascribing it in the end, so completely to the failure of religious faith.

Q. and this is the only thing which – during the whole day I wanted my pen to suggest – all the rest being unquestionable and as perfect as work can be – should we not rather say, – the failure of the qualities which render religious faith possible, – and which, if it be taught – make it acceptable?

How far religion made – how far destroyed – the Italians is now a quite hopelessly difficult question with me. My work will only be to give materials for its solution.