Robert Douglas-Fairhurst

Letitia at the height of her fame in 1825. H.W. Pickersgill’s original portrait was exhibited at the Royal Academy

The celebrated poet who’s been erased from English literature

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Biographers are a shady lot. For all their claims about immortalising someone in print, as if their ink were a…

The discovery of the murder of Lord William Russell. Credit: Bridgeman Images

The Victorian melodrama that led to murder and mayhem

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Early on the morning of 6 May 1840, a young housemaid in a respectable Mayfair street discovered that her master,…

Before fleeing to London, Emmanuel Barthélemy commanded a barricade during the June Days uprising in Paris in 1848. Painting by Tony-François de Bergue

The cruel end of Emmanuel Barthélemy –as a waxwork in the Chamber of Horrors

26 May 2018 9:00 am

This is a biography that begins with a bang, swiftly followed by puddles of blood, shrieks of ‘Murder!’ and a…

Darwin was a martyr to ill-health all his life, and was patiently nursed by his wife Emma, whom he called ‘Mammy’

A flawed and dangerous theory

2 September 2017 9:00 am

If there were a prize awarded to the book with the best opening line, A. N. Wilson would be clearing…

A real-life Tristram Shandy – found in a skip

30 April 2016 9:00 am

Most modern biographers feed off celebrity like vampires let loose in a blood bank. That is why their books sell:…

‘Nocturne in Grey and Gold’ by James McNeill Whistler, 1874

London fog: from the Big Smoke to the Big Choke

7 November 2015 9:00 am

‘A foggy day in London town,’ croons Fred Astaire in the 1937 musical comedy A Damsel in Distress, puffing nonchalantly…

A misery memoir from Alan Cumming that's surprisingly thoughtful

15 November 2014 9:00 am

Misery loves company. Anyone who doubts this old adage should pop into their local bookshop, because besides celebrity chefs and…