Brits at their Best.com: British History, Culture & Sports, History of Freedom, Heroes, Inventors

HEADLINE: CREATIVE BRITS

British Writers, Artists & Musicians

Alex Kingston

DANIEL DEFOE IS HERE

 

Portrait of his nephew

GAINSBOROUGH, PAINTER WITH A HEART, IS HERE

 

AWN Pugin

Passionate Pugin is HERE


Inigo Jones tulip staircase winds in a spiral

The luminous links between Georgian architecture, music,
and breaking waves HERE


George Orwell, faintly smiling


Writer George Orwell takes the stand
HERE


St Paul's advent procYoussion

Christopher Wren's St Paul's
HERE

Woman

SHAKESPEARE'S HEROINES
HERE

horse standing on back legs

George Stubbs and the Kingdom of Animals
HERE

 

Angels hovering

William Blake
HERE


Bryn Terfel

BRYN TERFEL
VOICE IN A BILLION HERE

 

Landscape painting - clouds, water, rowboat, sun! by Constable

Constable is HERE



Elton John smiling

ELTON JOHN, SIX DARK & DAZZLING DECADES
HERE


Laurie Baker's brick campus building with tower

ARCHITECT LAURIE BAKER, BUILDER & BLYTHE SPIRIT
HERE

 

Elgar

COMPOSING FOR A LAND OF HOPE AND GLORY
HERE


Hill and sea

Robert Byron's love for the flora and fauna of England,
"WHAT I HAVE LEARNT" HERE

Julian of Norwich with her cat

Julian of Norwich HERE
The first woman to be published in English,
her Divine Revelations have never been out of print.

HEADLINE: FUTURE FEATURES

THE DETECTIVES

Eccentric and resolute, Lord Peter Whimsey, Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, Adam Dalgliesh, Brother Cadfael, Miss Jane Marple, DSI Jane Tennison, the insomniac Bohan, and Mma Precious Ramotswe of Botswana explore the recesses of the human psyche.

TANTALIZING POETRY

John Donne, George Herbert, William Wordsworth, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning are by turns tender and incandescent, spiritual and sensual.  Four different kinds of love infuse and shape their poetry.

SOUL-RICH DRAMA

Both had painful childhoods. Both had secret lovers. Both create memorable characters that experience the heights of heroism, the depths of depravity, and the glistening beauty of love. William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens have quite a lot to say to each other, and to us.

MUSIC FROM PLANET EARTH

Out of the turmoil and tragedy of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst, Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and John Tavener create haunting, hopeful, and healing music.

PAINTING THE LANDSCAPE OF DESIRE

Turner sold everything he painted with the exception of ‘His Darling’, a work he refused to sell. Constable could not find buyers for his paintings, though now they are considered priceless. One day in the Royal Academy, Turner “fired a gun” into a Constable painting, an event that reveals the temper and the very different achievements of these two great artists.

MYSTICAL BRITS

Three non-fiction books written in the Middle Ages – The Cloud of Unknowing, The Spirit of Prayer, and Showings of Divine Love – reveal the Brit as mystic, and the mystical experience as joy.

IS THERE A MAN IN THE HOUSE?

The heroes of Jane Austen, George Eliot, and the Brontës share certain romantic character traits. These make for interesting and unexpected developments. 

A WILDLY BEATING HEART

John Gay's witty rogues and ballads, Gilbert & Sullivan's operettas, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, and Billy Elliot are some of the British contributions to a much loved art form.

MAKING MOVIES

British actors and directors have a gift for capturing Oscars and radiating cinematic heat. Their range, from Olivier to Sean Connery, from Cary Grant to Judi Dench, is dazzling.  Their careers are meteoric.

WIZARDS OF SPACE & TIME

In the 14th century, master builders create the stunning heights and airy expanses of Perpendicular Gothic. In the 17th century, Christopher Wren rebuilds London after the Great Fire, and makes a clean break with Gothic. (His enchanting steeple for St. Bride’s inspires the classic, white-tiered wedding cake.) In the 19th century, A.W.N. Pugin, an intensely creative artist, who designed his first chair when he was eight, revives the Gothic at the age of twenty-two by co-designing Britain's landmark Houses of Parliament. In the 21st century, Norman Foster pays tribute to both Perpendicular Gothic and Wren by designing the world’s tallest bridge, a tour de force that appears to sail across the clouds.

AMAZING GRACE

They experienced religious persecution, deafness, and capture by slave traders. William Byrd, Henry Purcell, William Boyce, and John Newton compose celestial music. That they can is due to the English invention of the musical chord of the triad, the building block of Western music. The story and the lyrical songs of British folk music beat like a secret heart in American Country (country-western), too.

HARRY POTTER MEETS THE LORD OF THE RINGS

With heroes, hobbits, and elves, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan fighting pirates, Lucy exploring Narnia, and Harry working hard at Hogwarts, Brits write children's literature better than almost anyone. Is it the adventure? The wit? The love of being outdoors? The fierce belief in right and wrong and the importance of doing the right true thing? Or is it an ancient mystery that inspires Tolkien, Malory, Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, JM Barrie, Hugh Lofting, Beatrix Potter, PL Travers, Enid Blyton, E. Nesbit, Richmal Compton, CS Lewis, and JK Rowling?

ROCK 'N ROLL REBELS

Composing and playing sensational songs with intensity and drive, bands like the Beatles, the Stones, the Who and "Definitely Maybe" Oasis take the world by storm. Moving on more solitary musical paths are Eric Clapton and Elton John.

ECCENTRIC TRAVEL WRITERS

Eric Newby tackles the Hindu Kush; Gerald Durrell revels in Corfu and Africa; and Bruce Chatwin tracks songlines in Australia.  Their insights are as startling as the people and animals they meet. 

BLOOD & TEARS: WAR POETRY

The finest, most heart-breaking war poetry: Shakespeare, Housman, Owen, Sassoon, Rupert Brooke, Clough, Binyon, and Edward Thomas.

MASTERS OF HISTORY

Productivity, readability, and dangerous times distinguish British historians. The Venerable Bede wrote the first great history of the Brits in the early 8th century. Edward Gibbon, whose controversial DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE establishes new standards for research. Winston Churchill relishes making history, and writing it.

 

 

When you contribute to this website,
you support Brits at their Best.

Join the Circle of Friends

English bulldog puppy

 

Copyright 2006, 2007, 2008 David Abbott & Catherine Glass