And so made significant . . .

around the world, and through the centuries

21 April

Joseph Farington,

‘At Eleven o’Clock I called on Sir Nathaniel Holland [Dance had changed his name by this time to Dance-Holland]. We talked of the sale of Barry’s pictures. He said Barry’s Birth of Pandora was a very incompetent attempt to do something great. It was deficient both in design, in form, & in colouring. Jupiter was a Huge figure in the upper parts but the lower limbs were so small in proportion that such a figure could not stand. It was the case with several other figures in that picture; and many of the limbs appeared to have been executed in imitation of parts which He had looked at in the antique, but these limbs were not of the same character with the other parts of the figure to which He had attached them. What attempt there was at colouring was as bad as possible, He seemed to have no sense of it. On the whole He sd. Barry Had talked & bullied people into a belief of His being a great artist. He said His Venus rising from the Sea was His best performance. In that He had the Venus of Medicis in his eye, & made something of it, but He had spoilt the picture by rubbing a brick dust colour over the upper part of the figure.

He spoke of the Bacchus & Ariadne by Titian belonging to Lord Kinnaird. He said it was impossible that Titian could have left the Sky in the state it is, almost pure Ultramarine, like a Lapis Lazuli stone, while another part of the sky is quite Hot. He did not like the figure of Bacchus leaping from His Car, nor that of Ariadne. In some parts there is fine colour, but on the whole it is a picture more fit for an Artist to examine for the purpose of studying what is good in it, than desireable to hang up in a room for general admiration. He thought the picture had been in the hands of bungling picture menders.

He mentioned Wilkie with great approbation, saying that His merit was of the right sort, so true in all respects.

He complained of not having a good painting room at His House in the Country. He had no light good to paint by but what faced the South & He had been much embarassed by it.’

Farington on Dance


Henry Crabb Robinson,

‘Accompanied Cargill to Covent Garden. Mrs. Siddons in “Mrs. Beverley”. Her voice appeared to have lost its brilliancy (like a beautiful face through a veil); in other respects, however, her acting is as good as ever. Her “Oh, that my eyes were basilisks!” was her great moment in the play. Her smile was enchantingly beautiful; and her transitions of countenance had all the ease and freedom of youth. If she persist in not playing Mrs. Beverley again, that character will, I am confident, never be played with anything like equal attractions.’

Her genius triumphed


Edward Lear,
poet and artist

‘Bonifacio is doubtless a most striking place and full of subjects for painting; the bright chalky white of the rocks on which it stands, the deep green vegetation, and the dark gulf below it, add surprising contrasts of colour to the general effect of its remarkable position and outline. Returning to the Widow Carreghi’s hotel, confusion prevailed throughout that establishment, owing to its being crowded at this hour by, not only the officers of the garrison, who take their food there, but an additional host of official civilians, gendarmerie, &c, to-morrow being a day of great excitement, on account of the conscription taking place, in consequence of which event the Sous-prefet is here from Sartene, with numerous other dignitaries.

It was not wonderful that the two obliging women, who seemed joint hostesses, were somewhat “dazed” by the unbounded noise in the small and overfull rooms; nevertheless, they got a very good supper for me and my man, only apologising continually that “le circonstanze” of the full house, and of the late hour at which I had arrived, prevented their offering more food and in greater comfort and quiet. Everybody seemed to be aware that I was a travelling painter, and all proffered to show me this or that; the Sous-prefet, they said, had gone out to meet me, and the Mayor, for whom I have left a card and a letter from M. Galloni d’Istria (he lives in the Carreghi house), would come and see me to-morrow. Another of the persons at the table gave me his address at Casabianda, and begged that, if I should come there, he might show me the ruins of Aleria. The whole party, “continentals” and “insulaires,” were full of civility.

All night long there was singing and great noise in the streets, so that in spite of my camp-bed very little sleep was attainable.’

Awfully tortured by fleas


Douglas Hyde,

‘The white blossoms of the dog trees brightened the woods and forests on both sides of the railway, and the pink patches made by the Judas trees, as they are called, were beyond anything lovely. The Judas tree appears to have no leaves, but is thickly covered with pink blossoms. Judas is said to have hung himself on one of these trees, hence the name. They are numerous all over the South, but apparently not in the North. Toward evening we struck the Allegheny Mountains, a series of lovely ridges with a beautiful river running through them. All night long these ridges were lit up by brilliant flashes of summer lightning which kept playing on the hills and river for hours.’

Ireland’s first president


Jean Sibelius,

‘Again in the deepest depression. Working hard at the newcomer.’

An inner confession


Clifford Crease,

‘Fine weather started to pick up bodies at six AM and continued all day till five thirty PM. Recovered fifty one bodies, forty six men four women and one baby. Burried twenty four men at sea at eight fifteen PM. Rev Canon Hinds in attendance also Ships Company. Bodies in good state but badly bruised by being knocked about in the water.’

Recovering Titanic bodies


Frederick Hamilton,

‘Two icebergs now clearly in sight, the nearest is over a hundred feet high at the tallest peak, and an impressive sight, a solid mass of ice, against which the sea dashes furiously, throwing up geyser like columns of foam, high over the topmost summit, smothering the great mass at times completely in a cascade of spume as it pours over the snow and breaks into feathery crests on the polished surface of the berg, causing the whole ice-mountain, which glints like a fairy building, to oscillate twenty to thirty feet from the vertical. The ocean is strewn with a litter of woodwork, chairs, and bodies, and there are several growlers about, all more or less dangerous, as they are often hidden in the swell. The cutter lowered, and work commenced and kept up continuously all day, picking up bodies. Hauling the soaked remains in saturated clothing over the side of the cutter is no light task. Fifty one we have taken on board today, two children, three women, and forty-six men, and still the sea seems strewn. With the exception of ourselves, the bosum bird is the only living creature here. 5.p.m. The two bergs are now in transit, the heavy swell has been rolling all day, must be a gale somewhere. 8.p.m. The tolling of the bell summoned all hands to the forecastle where thirty bodies are ready to be committed to the deep, each carefully weighed and carefully sewn up in canvas. It is a weird scene, this gathering. The crescent moon is shedding a faint light on us, as the ship lays wallowing in the great rollers. The funeral service is conducted by the Reverent Canon Hind, for nearly an hour the words For as must as it hath pleased - ‘we therefore commit his body to the deep’ are repeated and at each interval comes, splash! as the weighted body plunges into the sea, there to sink to a depth of about two miles. Splash, splash, splash.’

Recovering Titanic bodies


Henry Fountain Ashurst,

‘Introduced bill to curb gambling on the stock market and it is about as popular as an alarm clock in a boys’ dormitory.’

A kindly and witty diarist


Rob Ellis,

‘This is a great day, a great day! Today marks the beginning of a second composition book of my diary. As yet no living person has gazed upon the pages of my diary although several persons have asked for that privilege. At first I put down only the things I wouldn’t be ashamed of, but as time went on I began to record all, or nearly all, of my thoughts, actions and desires, be they good or bad.’

A fat little rascal


Denton Welch,
writer and artist

‘This morning I had a book, Planet and Glow-worm, from Edith Sitwell and a letter with her love. Then I went out in the sun and, feeling so much better, I lay on the top of a haystack and sunned myself and ate and actually fell asleep, and I forgot unhappiness and trouble and only felt in a daze with hot sun and cool wind on my face.

Edith mentioned my Horizon story which appeared on Wednesday. Cyril Connolly sent me fourteen guineas and said Hamish Hamilton wanted to know if I had a book of them in mind, because if so he’d like to publish it.

Lately I have a poem in the Spectator and two in Life and Letters and a story in New Writing and one in English Story.

Also I have sold two little pictures to a Mrs. Serocold

It is happiness to have things liked, but when I’m ill as I was on Wednesday and other days lately everything pales to nothing and I want to die more than anything on earth.

I think all I can do is to keep my work going as long as I can. And if I can no longer, then I will die . . .’

Black, dead, inhuman


E. M. Forster,

‘Back little more than a week from Greece I went into the chapel today while the light was fading and the organ playing Bach and felt I had stumbled back into a world which had taken the wrong turning after Christ, and had tried to explain human suffering by the doctrine of suffering, redemption, and atonement, and had identified heavenly happiness with rest. The Greeks did not solve our troubles as was sometimes dreamily hoped, their wars were horrible and endless, they were greedy and unkind. But they did not impose a false solution as Christianity has, and as Bach, burbling and buzzing through endless variations on a chorale, would confirm. The scene was magnificent - brownish light poured through the west window and converted the stone to sandstone, and picked over the niches and emphasised their different altitudes, and from the east a black tunnel advanced and swallowed the fan vaulting. I was in the greatest building of the fifteenth century.’

A frank and lively diarist


John Nash,

‘A lady from Sotheby’s to call about 30c. She brought me the painting which I had thought not mine from the Photo. Decided it was mine, probably circa 1015 in the Cotswolds. On the back of another. Biblical scene. Lot & family being led from Sodom & G. by angels, also probably by me. Damaged in parts. 1913 or so? The Cotswold picture badly cracked. Probably done when w. Father in Cheltenham.’

Drawing of boats and town


Michael Palin,
actor and writer

‘Talk with TJ on the phone. Last Wednesday night he was attacked by an old gent in Soho who asked him where Charing Cross Station was. When he told him, the old man called our director ‘a lying bastard’ and belaboured him with his stick. TJ’s head was cut and bleeding. A ‘passer-by’, who TJ thinks may have been a plainclothes man from the Metropolitan force, leapt on the old bloke and hauled him off to the nick. Apparently he had just attacked someone else further up the street.’

The Jones/Palin relationship


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And so made significant . . .
is the world’s greatest online anthology of diary extracts. It is presented in the same way as popular books like The Assassin’s Cloak and The Faber Book of Diaries, i.e. by calendar day, but contains more, and many longer, extracts than is possible in published books. Moreover, for each quoted extract there’s a link to a Diary Review article with some or all of the following: further extracts, biographical information, contexts, a portrait, and links to online sources/etexts. Furthermore, new extracts are added on a regular basis.

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Notes and Cautions
In general, these diary extracts are quoted as given in the published (book or online) source referred to in the reference articles. Each extract may be all, a large part of, or a small part of the complete entry for that day. I have tried to indicate where text has been removed from within a quote by the use of trailing dots in square bracket.

For any other use of these diary extracts other than browsing please refer to the original sources.

Any author, publisher or other copyright holder who takes the view that I am unacceptably breaching their copyright please let me know. I have tried to remain sensitive to copyright rules (using far fewer quotes, for example, when a book, by an author still alive, remains in print and popular), but it is not practical for me to seek authorisation for every quote and article, since I maintain these websites without any funding or advertis-ing. I take the view that publicity for the source books is a quid pro quo for my use of the extracts, but I am more than happy to remove the extracts if asked.

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The Diary Junction is one of those wonderful privately maintained public resources for which the Internet is justly celebrated: a database of information about celebrated and obscure diaries[over 500] from all historical periods, with referrals to the dates the diaries cover, where the originals are held and bibliographic information on published versions.’ Laura Miller, Salon

The Diary Review, hosted by Blogger, publishes magazine-style articles on diaries and diarists, several times a week. Now over ten years old, The Diary Review is the secondary source for the extracts in this online anthology.