Angus Trumble’s 1877 In Retrospect


“Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky’s new ballet Swan Lake, op. 20, was performed for the first time at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, with choreography by Julius Reisinger. Emile Berliner finished inventing the microphone. Pope Pius IX, 85, celebrated the 50th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop, and was duly presented with the jewel-encrusted three-tier Palatine Tiara, a gift from his volunteer militia, as well as an engraved gold watch from the Swiss branch of the ‘Piusverein,’ an international society solemnly dedicated to the promotion of the pope....”

Esopus’s resident chronologer dissects yet another year in this regular series.

Angus Trumble (1964–2022) was the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia. He was also a senior research fellow at the National Museum of Australia, as well as a curator at the Yale Center for British Art and the Art Gallery of South Australia. Trumble wrote several books, including A Brief History of the Smile (Basic Books, 2004) and The Finger: A Handbook (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2010). In 2015, he was named a fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. In 2022, he was made an honorary fellow of his alma mater, Trinity College, Melbourne.