FYI December 31, 2018

On This Day

 
 
1759 – Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum and starts brewing Guinness.
Guinness (/ˈɡɪnɪs/) is an Irish dry stout that originated in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50 countries and available in over 120. [1][2] Sales in 2011 amounted to 850 million litres (220,000,000 US gal).[1]

Guinness’ ‘burnt’ flavour derives from malted barley and roasted unmalted barley, a relatively modern development, not becoming part of the grist until the mid-20th century. For many years, a portion of aged brew was blended with freshly brewed beer to give a sharp lactic acid flavour. Although Guinness’s palate still features a characteristic “tang”, the company has refused to confirm whether this type of blending still occurs. The draught beer’s thick, creamy head comes from mixing the beer with nitrogen and carbon dioxide.[3] It is popular with the Irish, both in Ireland and abroad. In spite of declining consumption since 2001,[4] it is still the best-selling alcoholic drink in Ireland[5][6] where Guinness & Co. Brewery makes almost €2 billion worth of the beverage annually.

The company moved its headquarters to London at the beginning of the Anglo-Irish Trade War in 1932. In 1997, Guinness plc merged with Grand Metropolitan to form the multinational alcoholic drinks producer Diageo.

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Born On This Day

 
 
1805 – Marie d’Agoult, German-French historian and author (d. 1876)
Marie Catherine Sophie, Comtesse d’Agoult (31 December 1805 – 5 March 1876), was a French romantic author, known also by her pen name, Daniel Stern.

Life
Marie was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, as Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, the daughter of Alexander Victor François, Vicomte de Flavigny (1770–1819), a footloose émigré French aristocrat, and his wife Maria Elisabeth Bethmann (1772–1847), a German banker’s daughter. The young Marie spent her early years in Germany and completed her education in a French convent after the Bourbon Restoration.

She entered into an early marriage of convenience with Charles Louis Constant d’Agoult, Comte d’Agoult (1790–1875) on 16 May 1827, thereby becoming the Comtesse d’Agoult. They had two daughters, Louise (1828–1834) and Claire (1830–1912). They were divorced on 19 August 1835.

From 1835 to 1839, she lived with virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt, who was six years younger, and was then a rising concert star. She became close to Liszt’s circle of friends, including Frédéric Chopin, who dedicated his 12 Études, Op. 25 to her (his earlier set of 12 Études, Op. 10 had been dedicated to Liszt). Liszt’s “Die Lorelei”, one of his very first songs, based on text by Heinrich Heine, was also dedicated to her. D’Agoult had three children with Liszt; however, she and Liszt did not marry, maintaining their independent views and other differences while Liszt was busy composing and touring throughout Europe.

Family
Their children were:

Blandine (1835–1862), who was the first wife of future French prime minister Émile Ollivier but died at the age of 26
Cosima (1837–1930), who first married pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow and then composer Richard Wagner, and
Daniel (1839–1859), who was already a promising pianist and gifted scholar when he died of tuberculosis.

In 1876, she died in Paris, aged 70, and was buried in Division 54 of Père Lachaise Cemetery.

Legacy
She was portrayed by Geneviève Page in the 1960 film Song Without End, opposite Dirk Bogarde as Liszt, by Klara Luchko in the 1970 film Szerelmi álmok – Liszt, by Fiona Lewis in the 1975 Ken Russell film Lisztomania, opposite Roger Daltrey as Liszt, and by Bernadette Peters in the 1991 James Lapine film Impromptu, which last dramatized encounters between d’Agoult, Liszt (Julian Sands), Chopin (Hugh Grant), and George Sand (Judy Davis).

Works
Her first stories (Hervé, Julien, and Valentia) were published in 1841-1845. Her best-known work (written as “Daniel Stern”) is the Histoire de la révolution de 1848 (appearing from 1850–53, in 3 volumes). D’Agoult’s other works include the novel Nélida (1846), Lettres Républicaines in Esquisses morales et politiques (1849, collected articles), Trois journées de la vie de Marie Stuart (1856), Florence et Turin (1862), Histoire des commencements de la république aux Pays-Bas (1872), “A Catholic Mother Speaks to Her Children” (1906, posthumously), and Mes souvenirs (1877, posthumously).

See also
List of works by Henri Chapu

Further reading
Cronin, Vincent. Four Women in Pursuit of an Ideal. London: Collins, 1965; also published as The Romantic Way. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966.
Stock-Morton, Phyllis. The life of Marie d’Agoult, alias Daniel Stern. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. ISBN 0-8018-6313-9.
 
 
 
 

FYI

 
 
Open Culture Ayun Halliday: 10 Rules for Appreciating Art by Sister Wendy Beckett (RIP), the Nun Who Unexpectedly Popularized Art History on TV

Wendy Beckett (25 February 1930 – 26 December 2018), better known as Sister Wendy, was a British religious sister,[1] hermit, consecrated virgin and art historian[2] who became well known internationally during the 1990s when she presented a series of BBC television documentaries on the history of art.[3] Her programmes, such as Sister Wendy’s Odyssey and Sister Wendy’s Grand Tour, often drew a 25 percent share of the British viewing audience.[4] In 1997, Sister Wendy made her US debut on public television and that same year The New York Times described her as “a sometime hermit who is fast on her way to becoming the most unlikely and famous art critic in the history of television.”[1]

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