On Hilary Mantel
Close on the heels of the Queen’s state funeral (which ensued in The Queue), came the death of one of our greatest writers, Hilary Mantel, which, as critic Parul Sehgal put it, felt “like a theft of a kind. All those books we still needed from her. That lavish imagination, that beady understanding of power.”“[T]hat beady understanding of power” shimmers across the pages of her Wolf Hall trilogy but it also reminded me of her (now infamous) ‘Royal Bodies’ speech, a feminist critique of monarchism that is worth revisiting and reading within context.
The thought of Dame Mantel binge-watching Selling Sunset inexplicably delighted me. It’s from this Guardian piece (excerpt below) in which Mantel answers questions from a host of famous admirers, many of them fellow writers.
As most of you know, the three gorgeous products in April’s Beauty Box come from Bloomeffects, founded by the wonderful Kim van Haaster in 2019 to harness the potency of flavonoid-rich tulips. The tulips come from her husband’s family farm, that has been growing and exporting the flowers since 1905, including supplying the British Royal family with their bulbs. You can read more about the company, the history of tulips and New York’s (surprising) Dutch heritage, here.
Botanical drawing of Semper Augustus, the most desirable (and astronomically expensive) tulip variety from early seventeenth century, when Tulip Mania was at its peak. Read all about it in Tulipomania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower and the Extraordinary Passions it Aroused.
This stunning thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle of a painting from the Dutch Golden Age, not for beginners, you’re hereby forewarned!
Having a Coke With You by Frank O’Hara
Bits and Bobs is a new fortnightly newsletter curated for your reading pleasure: interesting ‘bits and bobs’ that have caught our eye about art, culture, and more! Hope you enjoy this series.
Bits and Bobs is brought to you by Simar Puneet, Content and Marketing Director at Boxwalla. Simar has been an editor in publishing for the last fifteen years during which time she has commissioned, edited, and worked with the finest authors in the South Asian literary firmament. Her passion for books is only rivaled by her abiding interest in art, history, and, yes, skincare!