Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Cagliostro, Hardy & Elgar...

June 2nd, 1743: Count Alessandro di Cagliostro, Sicilian man-of-mystery and con artist, was born as Giuseppe Balsamo. "He was prosecuted in the affair of the diamond necklace which involved Marie Antoinette and Prince Louis de Rohan, and was held in the Bastille for nine months but finally acquitted. His enemies would have been delighted had he been convicted- Casanova, the greatest lover of the age, was bitterly jealous of him; Catherine the Great, empress of Russia, wanted to strangle him; Johann von Goethe, the most revered of Germany's writers, was driven almost mad by hatred of him; King Louis XVI of France persecuted him as a dangerous revolutionary; Queen Marie-Antoinette wanted him locked permanently in the Bastille for involving her in a diamond necklace swindle; and Pope Pius VI accused him of threatening the survival of the Catholic church."

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June 2, 1840: English novelist Thomas Hardy was born. "An English novelist and poet of the naturalist movement, he regarded himself primarily as a poet who composed novels mainly for financial gain. During his lifetime he was much better known for his novels, such as Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Far from the Madding Crowd, which earned him a reputation as a great novelist. The bulk of his fictional works, initially published as serials in magazines, were set in the semi-fictional land of Wessex (based on the Dorchester region where he grew up) and explored tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances. Hardy's poetry, first published in his fifties, has come to be as well-regarded as his novels and has had a significant influence over modern English poetry, especially after The Movement poets of the 1950s and 1960s cited Hardy as a major figure."

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June 2, 1857: Edward Elgar, English composer, was born. "Sir Edward William Elgar, 1st Baronet, OM, GCVO, is known for orchestral works including the Enigma Variations, the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, concertos for violin and cello, and two symphonies. He also composed oratorios, including The Dream of Gerontius, chamber music and songs. He was appointed Master of the King's Musick in 1924. His music was taken up by a wide range of international conductors and orchestras, but is nevertheless more played in Britain than overseas. Elgar was one of the first composers who recorded their works for the gramophone."


"Tiffany Flora / Tiffany Fauna"
By John Loring.
Published in New York by Harry N. Abrams in 2003.

A colorful, sumptuous survey of the best and most dramatic in Tiffany jewelry in two volumes, one focusing on animals, the other on flowers. “a striking visual survey of the unparalleled craftsmanship of Tiffany & Co. The effect is like peering into an ark of fantastic, bejeweled creatures—winged dragons with fiery eyes clutching beautiful gems; a golden parrot in a jaunty diamond cap and blue enameled pantaloons; an extravagant wreath of diamond and platinum leaves and flowers; a blushingly suggestive enameled orchid; and a Tiffany lamp in blues and greens evoking an illuminated wisteria.” The pieces illustrated and described range from the 19th century to the present day. A must-have set for the Tiffany & Co. enthusiast.


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