Elation soon turned to terror. After his twelve-minute spacewalk, Leonov prepared to reenter the airlock, and found to his horror that he could no longer fit. The air pressure had ballooned out his suit in the vacuum of space, making it so rigid that he could no longer work his way back into the hatch. Fast action was necessary as the spacecraft was rapidly spinning into darkness.
When I first saw the Abiquiu house it was a ruin with an adobe wall around the garden broken in a couple of places by falling trees. I found a patio with a very pretty well house and bucket to draw up water. It was a good-sized patio with a long wall with a door on one side. That wall with a door was something I had to have.
“The first thing I thought of when I heard that Isabella Blow’s personal effects—including her wardrobe—were due to go under the hammer of Christie’s London was a sonnet written by Oscar Wilde and entitled ‘On the Sale by Auction of Keats’ Love Letters,’ specifically the lines: ‘These are the letters which Endymion/Wrote to one he loved in secret, and apart/And now the brawlers of the auction mart/Bargain and bid for each tear-blotted note.’”
—Daphne Guinness, Financial Times, July 3/4, 2010
“Rare Tiffany stained-glass windows, which were primarily installed in churches and cemeteries, have been particularly coveted by criminals since the 1960s.”
—New York Times, August 13, 1999
Walking about the Place des Vosges in the early morning, criss-crossing the park before the dogs and the children arrive and people start spreading blankets on the grass for lunch, one encounters a haven of old-world serenity. The windows facing the park all around in those glorious brick and stone villas are mostly shuttered for the August vacation. But the vaulted arcades below offer an array of cafes, art galleries and boutiques, most of them open for business despite the summer doldrums. One even encounters a museum there, the former home of Victor Hugo comprising a vast suite of rooms featuring walls of porcelain plates and Asian knickknacks along with the novelist’s own artwork and various furniture he designed. Who knew the author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a weekend painter, an aspiring decorator?
The fashion photographer, whose importance has only been recognized in the last twenty years, is an extraordinary being. He is generally a painter who could not paint, a designer who never drew, or an architect who never built. The leading dressmakers of the world are household names, but only those directly concerned with the magazine world have heard of any celebrated fashion photographer.
—Cecil Beaton, Photobiography, 1951
For most of my youth I knew little about music. I took clarinet lessons in school, then recorder lessons, and finally realized that while I loved music I could neither read it nor play it. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties and living in Brussels for a year that, with time on my hands, I suddenly discovered a serious interest in listening to music. This was satisfied by attending concerts weekly at the Palais des Beaux Arts, a stately hall where the major orchestras of the world appeared often on European tour, and where one could hear the greatest soloists of violin and piano in recital. The tickets were cheap, even for hearing Alfred Brendel, the Guarnari Quartet or the Vienna Symphony conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini.
Emblazoning the cover of the Country Life issue of October 28, 1949, above a black-and-white photograph of Clarence House glimpsed from the garden of nearby St. James’s Palace, was the announcement:
Princess Elizabeth’s London Home: First Pictures.
How many triumphant evenings, what miracles of artistry, what gasps of admiration, what beating hearts and clapping hands, what Arabian nights do these scenes and dresses represent, which are now to be sold to the highest bidder?
—Richard Buckle, Sotheby’s Catalogue, July 1968
Writing to an acquaintance in a letter dated February 17, 1947, Diana Vreeland, the flamboyant fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar, recounted a recent trip to California and all the wondrous sights she had beheld there. In sentences bursting with impressions thrown off like vivid, colorful splats on a canvas, she conjures up scenes of film stars on sound stages, homes of the rich and famous in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara, dress factories in Hollywood and socialites up and down the coast, art collectors with French pictures and, the most amazing of all to her, how in Hollywood everybody—stars, agents, producers, directors, waiters, people in shops—has the most wonderful teeth.