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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Famous in Florence

Tuesday, April 19th., Pension White, Florence.

By dint of taking one room in the Uffizzi and resolving to look at every picture in it without exception, I saw things I should never have seen otherwise. Including an Adam & Eve of Cranach not specially remarked in Baedeker, and skied. In another room I discovered for myself the exceeding beauty of the small Dutch pictures.

Adam and Eve is a double painting by German Renaissance master Lucas Cranach the Elder, dating from 1528, housed in the Uffizi Gallery of Florence, Italy. The two biblical ancestors are portrayed, in two different panels, on a dark background, standing on a barely visible ground. Both hold two small branches which cover their sexual organs. Eve holds the traditional apple, with the snake coming to her from above from the tree of life. Adam is shown in a relaxed posture, his right elbow lying on the left border of his panel.

A complete change in the weather. Sunshine quite blinding, and yet a wind-chill in the shadows. I did three full hours on "Clayhanger" before breakfast, and was then exhausted for the day. Disgusted with my sketching.

I saw the town between 5 and 6 and had a drink in the Piazza Signoria. It is agreeable to be able to contemplate the Perseus of Cellini while drinking a quina-vermouth. 

At Vieusseux's library, on changing my book this afternoon, the attendant said it was known in Florence, Florence being a cosmopolitan place, that A.B. the author was staying in the town. He then became enthusiastic about the demand for my books, & lyrical about the number of Tauchnitz copies of them that Vieusseux possessed. He said he knew them all from the first, "The Grand Babylon Hotel", and to prove his bona fides he began reeling off the Tauchnitz series numbers of them. So I rewarded him by shaking hands with him, whereat he was well content.

The Gabinetto Scientifico Letterario G. P. Vieusseux, founded in 1819 by Giovan Pietro Vieusseux, a merchant fromGeneva, is a library in Florence, Italy. It played a vital role in linking the culture of Italy with that of other European countries in the 19th century, and also became one of the chief reference points for the Risorgimento movement. It began as a reading room that provided leading European periodicals for Florentines and visitors from abroad in a setting that encouraged conversation and the exchange of ideas. A circulating library with the latest publications in Italian, French and English was installed next to the reading room.

Additionally for April 19th., see 'Kaiser in the offing'

Dr. Slimon reports to me that at the meeting of Chairmen of Emergency Committees and Military Representatives at Chelmsford on Friday, which I could not attend, under the chairmanship of General Paget, Paget insisted on the strong probability of an invasion between Harwich and Maldon in July or August.
The naval opinion at Harwich, I hear, is that Harwich Flotilla could not deal with the covering ships of an invading force, and that, so far as the Navy was concerned, the force would land, and the convoy be taken in the rear. It is also said that the German submarines are trying to  mine the course of the proposed expedition, and that we are sweeping their mines and mining contra.

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