Cat Murder Mystery

In this piece I’m setting out to prove that the 1747 death by drowning of Horace Walpole’s cat Selima was not an accident. No, it was murder. I had some trouble choosing a title. Since this blog follows on from three previous postings featuring the Lounge Lizard Captain Jefferson Davis Cohn, I might have chosen … More Cat Murder Mystery

Lounge Lizard: Chapter 3

My self-imposed task in this piece is to establish a connection between a Lounge Lizard called Captain Jefferson Davis Cohn (born 1881) and a Cat called Selima (died 1747). Warning: the connection is rather tenuous. Regular readers of this blog already know about Captain Cohn (see here and here).  He was, among many other things, … More Lounge Lizard: Chapter 3

Lounge Lizard: Chapter 2

In my last blog piece I introduced readers to Jefferson Davis Cohn, colourful character, lounge lizard, charmer, wealthy businessman, horse breeder and man-about-town. I hoped you were interested in hearing about this rather overlooked figure who operated just off the centre of high society in the 1920s and 1930s, but I might have detected just … More Lounge Lizard: Chapter 2

Lounge Lizard: Chapter 1

I’ve been blogging recently about the contents of an old leather suitcase which belonged to a very wealthy gentleman from the West of Scotland. Fitted out as a top-quality travelling dressing case, it was stored unopened for 80 or 90 years and has only very recently come to light. It contained all kinds of interesting … More Lounge Lizard: Chapter 1

A Day at the Races

In my last-but-one blog piece (called Flea Market Supplementary) I said I’d get back to you about two envelopes discovered inside a suitcase belonging to a wealthy Scottish sporting gentleman. One of the envelopes didn’t have anything interesting in it but is of interest in itself (well, of interest to me, anyway), and I’ll write … More A Day at the Races


  A picture that I bought last week in my local auction room features a portrait of a 71-year-old Jewish gentleman, balding, with a grizzled grey beard and oval wire-rimmed glasses. Please note that any possible resemblance between him and this blogger is entirely coincidental. Anyway, I’m only 70 years old. What originally attracted me … More Degenerate

Flea Market Supplementary

I ended my last blog piece like this:  “When Mary’s sister-in-law heard that Mary was going to take a stall at the flea market, she got an old suitcase out of an outhouse and asked her to sell it for a few pounds. And guess what? Both the suitcase itself and its contents turned out … More Flea Market Supplementary

World-Class Provenance

I’ve hit the big time! I have joined the ranks of the greatest billionaire collectors of the world. J Pierpont Morgan. John D Rockefeller. J Paul Getty. Henry Clay Frick. Calouste Gulbenkian. William Randolph Hearst. Andrew Mellon. An assortment of Rothschilds. And me. What gives me the effrontery to claim membership of this illustrious band? … More World-Class Provenance