Diary of a Curious House Guest

More Christmas preparations at work as we pass the designated ‘Christmas issue’ and prepare the things that will come out for the Christmas weekend itself. Also a great wave of invitations to book launches, drinks parties and Christmas lunches. On one level this seems quite frivolous, but I always amazes me how much business can be done at drinks parties: articles commissioned, authors reminded, and big name writers approached for contributions.

One such this week was the launch of the book, A Glimpse of Heaven in the throne room of the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, a grave and stately room designed by J.F.Bentley. The book, illustrated with pictures by Alex Ramsay, draws attention to the riches of architectural design of specially designed Roman Catholic churches, the party swarmed with my conservation heroes, as well as various priestly figures.

Roman Catholic networks have always intrigued me since my long stay in Rome when I was 18 brought me into contact with an interesting gang of English/Irish Catholics who all seemed related to each other, and their families often had a nice old world flavour that I have often encountered since, a sense of belonging to the old Europe that is curiously attractive.

I also enjoy a drink with the young Georgians, an impressive gang of young thrusters of the world of conservation and the arts who are passionate about Georgian architecture and arts generally, organised into foraying parties by Oliver Gerrish, a young opera singer with a talent for giving parties. I only wished I could have stayed longer…