Centuries of Sound on Cambridge 105 Radio – Episode 4 (1892-1893)


More audio time travel adventures from James and Sean. This time we cover the years 1892 and 1893, the world’s fair in Chicago, a couple of notorious murderers, some rude jokes about Frances Folsom (the wife of the President of the USA), and some popular music hall songs, which may not be as innocent as they seem.

1893 in art

Albert Edelfelt - Larin Paraske

Albert Edelfelt – Larin Paraske

Édouard Vuillard - The Seamstress

Édouard Vuillard – The Seamstress


Eero Järnefelt – Raatajat Rahanalaiset (Under The Yoke)

Henri-Edmond Cross - The Evening Air

Henri-Edmond Cross – The Evening Air

Lawrence Alma-Tadema – Unconscious Rivals

Lawrence Alma-Tadema – Unconscious Rivals

Olga Boznańska – Self-portrait

Olga Boznańska – Self-portrait

Paul Gauguin - The Ancestors of Tehamana (Merahi metua no Tehamana)

Paul Gauguin – The Ancestors of Tehamana (Merahi metua no Tehamana)

Peder Severin Krøyer – Summer Evening on Skagen's Southern Beach

Peder Severin Krøyer – Summer Evening on Skagen’s Southern Beach

Ramon Casas - Over My Dead Body

Ramon Casas – Over My Dead Body

Władysław Podkowiński – Frenzy of Exultations

Władysław Podkowiński – Frenzy of Exultations


Edvard Munch and The Scream

Edvard Munch - The Scream

First exhibited in 1893 in Berlin, The Scream was the culmination of Munch’s magnum opus, a series of paintings called The Frieze of Life. This depicted the course of human existence through burgeoning love and sexual passion to suffering, despair and death, in Munch’s highly original, proto-expressionist style. His titles, from Death in the Sickroom, through Madonna to The Vampire, suggest just how directly and unironically he sought to depict the anxieties of late-19th century Europe. But against all Munch’s images, it is The Scream which stands out as the work which has seared itself into the Western imagination. It remains widely celebrated for capturing the torment of existence in what appeared to many in Munch’s time to be a frightening, godless world.

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time – Munch and The Scream

Oscar Wilde – Salome


Salomé is a rare instance in British theatrical history of an authentically ‘Symbolist’ drama. This means that it belongs with an innovative group of plays produced in Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Conceived as an alternative to naturalism and the kind of plays that purported to represent life by reproducing everyday habits of speech and physical behaviour in recognisable environments, ‘Symbolist’ drama made use of poetic language and pictorial settings to invoke the inner lives of characters. Released from the constraints of the here-and-now it was free to express all manner of emotions both spiritual and sensual.

John Stokes – Salomé: symbolism, decadence and censorship

Oscar Wilde – Salomé (Original text in French)
Oscar Wilde – Salomé (English translation)
Oscar Wilde – Salomé (Free audio at Librivox)
Oscar Wilde – Salomé (Ken Russell production from 1988)




Grover Cleveland’s Upper Palate


Grover Cleveland seems like a very suitable president for the tail-end of the Gilded Age, with the demeanor of a wealthy industrialist, a magnificent walrus moustache, a wife half his age and an obsession with the incomprehensible issue of the gold standard while the reconstruction of the South was being rolled back.

A year into his second (non-consesecutive!) term, he sought the advice of the White House doctor about a persistent ulcer. A sample was taken, cancer was diagnosed, and a decision was made to secretly operate, on a yacht somewhere off Long Island, then to replace the president’s upper left jaw and hard palate.

More on this strange little story (and the rest of his career) can be found at the Washington Post’s ‘Presidential’ podcast here.

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden 2

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.


On June 20th 1893 Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murder of her parents, but her reputation hasn’t really recovered in the years since.

Stuff You Missed In History Class have a podcast about her trial, including some new evidence which may shed some light on the case.