I don’t feel I adequately conveyed the depth of my admiration for Jan Morris’s writing in my blog post yesterday. I have been thinking about it overnight. Most writing about architecture was strictly topographical, dominated by Pevsner. James Morris demonstrated in Venice that it was possible to write about a city in terms of its people and its atmosphere, its smells and its cats, not just in terms of its architecture, but its mood, expressed through its history. It was a good lesson. He thanks the British Army for introducing him to Venice and ‘philanthropists in Russell Square, Sixth Avenue, and Cross Street, Manchester’. Who, one wonders, were those philanthropists who paid a Times journalist and his young family to go and live in Venice for long enough to write a masterpiece ?