A solitary clergyman, pious in garb and somber in expression, glides across a frozen Scottish landscape. The subject of our painting is Reverend Robert Walker, his empty rink is Duddingston Loch, and the year is 1790. Painter Sir Henry Raeburn contrasts the minister’s elegant demeanor with the whimsy—and do we sense a touch of vanity?—of his skillful pose.
Grandmothers are bastions of fine manners, and ours always had strong opinions on drinks—mixed, shaken, stirred, and especially spilled. A consummate hostess, she taught us that putting one’s guests at ease is the golden rule of giving a gracious party. So when a festive cocktail party climaxes in a brandy stain on her favorite kaftan or bust of Marie Antoinette, she never fumbles for the right course of action.