Books · Medieval Art and Architecture

King of the Confessors – a Crazy Story About the Cloisters Cross

I just finished reading Thomas Hoving's King of the Confessors, which is about Hoving's adventures in acquiring what's now called The Cloisters Cross. Thanks to him, this English Romanesque carved ivory cross is one of the highlights of the Met Cloisters. The story is wild, and I couldn't put it down.

Books · European Art

The Mystery of the Disappearing Velasquez (maybe)

I just finished reading a book that told a wild, but true story about a work of art. Laura Cumming's The Vanishing Velasquez: A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession with a Lost Masterpiece tells the story of an English bookseller who believed that he owned a lost masterpiece by Spanish artist Diego Velasquez. It ends with a huge, still-unsolved mystery.


First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (an eyewitness account)

As some of you may know, the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. has taken several of its 82 copies of the First Folio on tour this year, bringing one to each of the fifty U.S. states and Puerto Rico to honor the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare's death. Drew University, my alma mater, was the tour's only stop in New Jersey, most likely due to the… Continue reading First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (an eyewitness account)

Other Stuff

Happy Hobbit Day! (

Bilbo Baggins, the titular protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, and his nephew Frodo Baggins, hero of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, shared a September 22nd birthdate. Accordingly, that day is annually celebrated as Hobbit Day, and the entire week is deemed to be "Tolkien Week". In honor of this year's festivities, just published my article "Beyond the Hobbit… Continue reading Happy Hobbit Day! (

Other Stuff

“The Fortsas Bibliohoax” (

   "The Fortsas Bibliohoax, or how a Belgian collector fooled book lovers for the fun of it" I wrote this article for's Book Collecting blog a few months ago now, but I only just found out that it was published. The Fortsas Bibliohoax, an elaborate prank perpetrated by a mid-nineteenth century book lover, is a hilarious story that… Continue reading “The Fortsas Bibliohoax” (