Crete: History and a Feast Fit for the Gods in Rethymno. One of the joys of research is to find a place filled with history and tantalizing food at the same time. Whilst researching for The Embroiderer I spent a few weeks in Crete. The final two weeks were in Rethymno and then Hania. Unforgettable experiences and I vowed to go back but as yet never have. Food plays an important part in The Embroiderer and at the back I give a recipe – Sevkiye’s Pilav. This is the first time I have written a blog and included a full recipe – one based on the...read more
Mimar Sinan and the Süleymaniye Mosque. Sultan Mahmud II, considered amongst many to be the last of the great Ottoman leaders before the empire fell into decline, loved Çamlıca, a beautiful area that he referred to it in his poetry with the line: “My heart is full of desire, my great lover. Let’s go to Çamlıca tomorrow, my dear Lord.” The view from Camlica overlooks the Bosphorus strait that divides the city’s Asian and European districts and offers splendid views of the ships and ferries traversing the waterway, the ancient city’s...read more
BLOG 46 10/04/2017 THE JOURNEY OF A HUGUENOT REFUGEE TO EMBROIDERERS FOR ROYALTY. HAND & LOCK CELEBRATES 250 YEARS OF EMBROIDERY.
THE JOURNEY OF A HUGUENOT REFUGEE TO EMBROIDERERS FOR ROYALTY. HAND & LOCK CELEBRATES 250 YEARS OF EMBROIDERY. This year, the prestigious embroidery London embroidery atelier, Hand & Lock, sponsors of the successful Opus Anglicanum exhibition at the V&A, London, celebrates its 250th anniversary. The Carriageworks in Sydney hosted the first of three major presentations, the others being London and Chicago. The conference ‘Heritage, the Now, and the Future of Embroidery’ explored the enduring appeal of embroidery in fashion and...read more
Matrakçı Nasuh: The Bosnian Leonardo da Vinci of the Ottoman Empire Nasuh bin Karagöz bin Abdullah el-Visokavi el-Bosnavî better known as Matrakçı Nasuh, was a 16th century Bosnian mathematician, teacher, historian, cartographer, swordmaster, painter and illustrator. He was born in the town of Visoko and recruited as a Janissary under devşirme system common in the Ottoman Empire until the 19th century. This was the system where promising young boys were recruited from the Christian communities of the empire to be brought up as a Moslem and...read more
“FRIENDS OF LITERATURE” “The Embroiderer of Smyrna” A few days ago I was interviewed by the delightful Clio Tsalapati, on her Greek literary blog “Friends of Literature” about “The Embroiderer” now called “The Embroiderer of Smyrna” in Greek. She has kindly allowed me to reproduce the full interview on my own blog. The following is the interview in both Greek and English. Clio asked probing questions, not only about the novel itself, but about writing in general. It was a joy to...read more
Constantinople Through the Eye of the Lens: 19th c. Photographers. I am often asked where I sourced my inspiration for “The Embroiderer”, especially Constantinople at the end of the 19th century. As a visual person I look towards old photographs. Photographs never lie, especially at a time when the written word was quite often biased. Bahattin Oztuncay’s “The Photographers of Constantinople: Pioneers, studios and artists from 19th Century Istanbul” was invaluable. This two-volume set is the story of how Constantinople became a Middle Eastern...read more
An Interview with Author Effrosyni Moschoudi Today I have the pleasure of bringing to you an interview with a wonderful author and prolific blogger, Effrosyni Moschoudi. Effrosyni’s novels set in Greece have been widely acclaimed and today she is with us to discuss her new novel. Welcome, Effrosyni. You must be excited about your newly published novel, The Amulet. What is it about? First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog. I am excited to be here! The Amulet is a romantic comedy with angels that is set on the...read more
Maria Callas and the Story of the Piano at the Pera Musuem, Istanbul. Whilst on my last trip to Istanbul, I came across this interesting snippet of information at The Pera Museum and thought I would share it with you all. The piano in question, which now takes centre stage in the cafe there, was bought for Maria Callas (Cecilia Sophia Anna Maria Kalogeropolou) by her father. In 1939, father and daughter travelled by liner across the Atlantic through the Straits of Gibraltar to the Aegean. The piano landed at Pire (Piraeus) and was...read more
Blog 41 03/10/2016 Postcards from a Leicestershire Village: Grace Dieu Priory and a Famous Playright.
Postcards from a Leicestershire Village: Grace Dieu Priory and a Famous Playright. The village of Thringstone in Leicestershire sits on the edge of Charnwood Forest, a lush woodland of glorious deciduous trees carpeted with bluebells and rhododendron bushes in the spring and hedgerows filled with blackberries and rosehips in late summer. Thringstone is mentioned in the Domesday Book as “Trangesbi” and most probably gets its name from the Viking name, “Traengr” combined with the Anglo-Saxon suffix, “tun” meaning farm or village. A watermill...read more
20th Century Greek Art: The Amos Art Group. The twentieth century in Greek art was a transition from the constraints of the old world: the classicism of ancient Greece to the realism and romanticism that stemmed from Greek artists’ contact with the west after the Greek War of Independence, combined with the naivety of folk art and the tradition of icon painting. The past would still continue to exert its influence but in a much freer style. Expressionism and Cubism would now make its mark. In 1949, when the Civil War in Greece was drawing to...read more