8 November 2014

The baby has been born and although not called Persephone her name is Constanze which is also a great name – in homage, obviously, to Mozart’s wife (her parents are musicians). Apparently in the film of Amadeus she is called Stanzi, so we shall be re-watching it this weekend.

There was excitement in the office because Lena Dunham was interviewed on the Nick Grimshaw show and said she was in London with a friend who had come in to Persephone to buy her some books. She was so funny and sharp on the radio that we have bought her book in homage.

We shall definitely be going to the Moroni exhibition at the Royal Academy. Doesn’t this 1575 Portrait of a Young Lady look curiously like Lady Edith in Downton Abbey?

(Yes, we know it’s ridiculous but the plot line about Edith’s illegitimate daughter Marigold is extremely interesting as a symbol of not-yet-but-just-about-to change mores. We wish it wasn’t sponsored by you-know-whom).

One of our readers sent us a picture of this amazing rug.

She wrote: ‘I am a rughooker and avid Persephone reader in Penzance, Cornwall, and have just finished this rug for our exhibition entitled, “The message in the mat”. I thought you may like to see it! We have a vibrant rughooking group here, and regularly discuss Persephone books whilst hooking. All our rugs are made from old clothes.’

We have just caught up with an incredible lecture Griselda Pollock gave about Charlotte Salomon at the Everydayness and the Event conference at Sussex last year (we had an ad in the programme); the talk was in some ways a meditation on these three unforgettable photographs.

You can watch the video here.

The Art Fund initiated a very well-run campaign to Save the Wedgwood Collection and Persephone gave some money. The campaign has now been successful , which is wonderful news.

By the way, if you are coming to the film of They Knew Mr Knight or the Tea with Victor de Waal (both events are now sold out) you will be drinking your tea from a proper vintage cup and saucer, none of them Wedgwood but all of them characterful. And much better than a polystyrene cup.

Persephone author Diana Athill wrote a review in the Financial Times of Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End. Her style is an incisive as ever – she is always clear and unaffected, funny and profound eg. ‘the central message put across in this book, by means of closely observed and vividly described case histories, is that doctors should listen to and respect their patients, not just keep them undead.’ 

Finally, do Persephone readers know that if you buy anything online the company you are buying from, whatever it is, gives 2% of the value of your purchase to a charity of your choice? We have so far raised £12 for The Victorian Society, which is quite a lot of shopping online but if you take into account two new bookcases for the shop, food shopping, books from abe and a pair of trousers from Toast – it all adds up. Go to Give as you Live and sign up your favourite charity.

Nicola Beauman

59 Lambs Conduit Street

59 Lamb's Conduit Street, London WC1N 3NB