Angus Trumble’s 1849 In Retrospect


“Cadbury Brothers commenced manufacturing a solid chocolate bar in direct competition with Joseph Fry & Son, who invented it. Both firms exhibited their new sugary nonliquid chocolate products at Birmingham. Robert Schumann started work on Manfred, a melodrama for orchestra, choir, soloists, and speakers (Op. 115), partly based on Lord Byron’s dramatic poem. A fifth attempt was made to assassinate Queen Victoria. Her daughter, Princess Helena, 3, who was present, remarked: ‘Man shot, tried to shoot dear Mamma, must be punished.’ This is believed to have been the princess’s first recorded public statement....”

For this issue’s “Year in Retrospect,” Esopus regular Angus Trumble sets his sights on 1849, chronicling everything from the accidental discovery of dry cleaning to the near-execution of Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Angus Trumble is Director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. Formerly the Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art, Trumble has written several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004), and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010).