Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen at the National Gallery – 28th November 2018 to 3rd February 2019


One of the world’s best known animal paintings, Edwin Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen, will be displayed at the National Gallery this autumn for the first time since 1851. The large painting of a stag, which is also on show for the first time in London since 1983, has been loaned by the National Galleries of Scotland, who acquired the work in 2017 following a public fundraising appeal. The picture will be the centrepiece of a free exhibition that will reveal the close connections between Landseer (1802-73) and the National Gallery.

While The Monarch of the Glen is usually associated with Scotland, it is less well-known that it was originally commissioned for the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Sir Charles Eastlake, the Gallery’s second Keeper and later first Director, was closely involved in this project. The painting was first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1851, which was then housed in the National Gallery building. Landseer designed the lions for Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and the exhibition will also include paintings and drawings connected with these famous sculptures. 

As well as highlighting the artist’s close relationship to Queen Victoria, whom he tutored in etching and accompanied to the Scottish Highlands, Landseer’s The Monarch of the Glen will include other paintings and drawings by Landseer of Highland scenes showing how he developed his distinctive approach to the representation of the stag as hero.  

A representation of the painting made in 1966 by former National Gallery Associate Artist Sir Peter Blake will provide a living artist’s response highlighting The Monarch of the Glen’s enduring appeal.  

For more information, visit the National Gallery website here

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Review: Bank of England Museum

The Bank of England stands behind high walls in the City of London and is often ignored by visitors, however it has a fascinating history. The Bank of England has played a unique role in British history for over 300 years, it is the central bank of the United Kingdom which was established in 1694. The bank also plays an important role in setting monetary policy and has a monopoly on the issue of banknotes in England and Wales and regulates the issue of banknotes by banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

To find out more about the bank, visitors can enter The Bank of England Museum which has a selection of displays and exhibits which cover the history of the Bank, its buildings, and the role the bank has played more than 300 years.

The first room is The Stock Office which is a reconstruction of one of the bank’s eighteenth-century offices built by Sir John Soane, who was the Bank’s architect from 1788 to 1833.

Displays show how the bank is involved in monetary policy, tries to ensure financial stability by identifying and monitoring risks in the financial system and looks at the Bank of England’s architecture from Sir John Soane to Herbert Baker who rebuilt and expanded the Bank in the 1930s. The current bank building has seven floors above ground and three floors below.

The next section entitled The Early Years 1694 – 1800 explores the first 100 or so years of the Bank of England. The bank was created as a response to the need to raise money at the time of war with France. The Bank was located in rented buildings for its first 40 years, but moved to Threadneedle Street in 1734.

One of the oldest pieces of furniture in the Bank, dating from approximately 1700 is a great iron chest that was the forerunners of modern safes. Visitors can also see a £1 million pound note used for internal accounting in the 18th century. It was in the 18th century that The Bank of England’s got its famous nickname, ‘The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’, which originated from a 1797 cartoon by the satirist James Gillray.

The centre of the museum is the The Rotunda which features displays for the period 1800 to 1946. The statues around the Rotunda, called caryatids, were original features of Sir John Soane’s bank. They were salvaged for use in the new building.

The bank played an important role during the interwar years, managing the country’s gold and foreign exchange reserves and operating monetary policy, this was formalised when the bank was nationalised in 1946.

A remarkable little known fact is that The Bank of England stores around 400,000 gold bars in its vaults. The gold stored in the vaults doesn’t actually belong to the Bank of England. Instead, the Bank stores gold on behalf of the UK Treasury, other governments and central banks around the world, and many other financial institutions.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to handle genuine bar of gold, you can with a bar weighing 13kg (28lb) available for visitors to lift up in a small box.

The Banknote Gallery looks at the origins of paper money in ancient China and how banknotes have changed from the seventeenth century to the present day. The problem with forgeries is discussed and you can look at the complex designs that make modern banknotes more difficult to counterfeit. There is a section on the cutting-edge technology used to create the Bank of England’s newest polymer banknotes.

As well as the permanent displays, the museum has a series of temporary exhibitions taking place throughout the year.

The Bank of England Museum is located within the Bank of England itself and is a fascinating look at this often mysterious institution. The museum is relatively small but full of interesting exhibits which provide some background to the role of the bank in the past and in the modern world.

Admission is free, but all visitors will need to go through airport style security to enter the museum, the museum entrance is on Bartholomew Lane.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Bank of England website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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The Museum of London Frost Fair from 19 November 2018 – 6 January 2019

The Museum of London will celebrate a unique London tradition that last took place over 200 years ago. The museum will become an immense frost fair as it begins a whole season of special events celebrating a traditional Christmas in the capital.

Between 1309 and 1814, the Thames would freeze on a regular basis; in that time at least seven frost fairs assembled on the ice. As the Thames froze, river traders and nearby businesses would take to the ice to sell their wares, creating a festival that would last until the ice thawed. Thames Watermen converted their boats into temporary stages and the frozen Thames played host to pubs, food stalls, coffee shops, souvenir stands and puppet shows. Printing presses produced souvenir publications and there were even rumours of an elephant being brought on to the frozen river near Blackfriars Bridge.

The water of the Thames was able to freeze as temperatures were much lower, but this was also due to the fact that the river flowed much more slowly than it does today. Since 1831, when the old London Bridge resting on nineteen solid piers was demolished and replaced with a new bridge with just five arches, the river has flowed too quickly to freeze. The Thames frost fair is a spectacle that will probably never happen again.

Visitors will create Christmas crafts and enjoy free performances of traditional festive tales, and the museum’s beloved Victorian Santa’s grotto will return, with children meeting Father Christmas and receiving a traditional toy, amidst a Victorian Street scene. The Museum of London frost fair runs from 19 November 2018 – 6 January 2019.

Museum of London Christmas Events

All events are free unless stated

Santa’s Victorian Grotto Dates: Sat 1–Sun 23 December 2018 Take a stroll through a twinkling Victorian Walk, transformed with festive decorations and the sound of carols, and discover Santa in his secret grotto. Tell Santa your Christmas wishes and receive a special gift. You can even have a photo taken to capture the moment. Book in advance, £10 (includes gift). Photographs available at additional cost.

The Thames frost fair Dates: Sat 1 & Sat 8 December 2018 at 1–1.30pm, 2–2.30pm & 3-3.30pm Imagine a winter so cold the Thames freezes over completely. It last happened over two hundred years ago during London’s final frost fair. Join us to create a frost fair scene that recaptures the magic of these special celebrations on the Thames.

Freezing frost fairs Dates: Sun 2 & Sun 9 December 2018 at 12.30–2pm & 2.30–4pm Join us for a Christmas craft session and create your very own frost fair scene that recaptures the magic of these special celebrations on the Thames.

Christmas Paper Crafts: a Frost Fair Workshop Dates: Sat 8 December 2018 from 1.30–4.30pm Get crafty for Christmas in this fun and festive workshop. Learn all the skills you need to make charming paper decorations and cards, inspired by the great frost fairs of Victorian London. You don’t need any experience, and all materials will be provided to create your beautiful crafts.

Season’s Greetings Dates: Sun 16 December 2018 from 12.30–2pm & 2.30–4pm Design a beautiful sparkly card to send to friends and family this festive season. Whether it’s a thank you card after the Festival of Lights, or a card in advance of Christmas, get creative and inspired by seasonal cards in our collection.

The Legend of Babushka Dates: Sat 15 & Sun 22 December 2018 from 1–1.30pm, 2–2.30pm & 3-3.30pm Take part in this interactive retelling of the traditional Russian story in which a little old lady heads off to see the baby Jesus. Along the way, she ends up giving away her gifts to people in need. After the story, discover different wrapping paper designs and create your own.

Cops & Robbers Dates: Thu 27 & Fri 28 December 2018 from 1–1.30pm, 2–2.30pm & 3-3.30pm Can you help a brave police officer catch the robbers of London town when they try to steal all the toys one Christmas Eve? Watch out for Granny Swagg and make sure she doesn’t get away in this fun re-imagining of Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s bestselling book, ‘Cops and Robbers’ with some traditional pantomime action!

Get Your Party Hats On! Dates: Sat 29–Mon 31 December 2018 from 12.30–2pm & 2.30–4pm Decorate a special hat and go hunting in the galleries for more at this art drop-in. From a worker’s cap or an office clerk’s bowler, to an aristocratic top hat, or the Queen’s crown, which hat will you choose to wear? Pick a hat from our silhouettes and decorate it with lots of glitter and festive sparkle to wear at your celebrations. Then try to spot them in the galleries!

If you would like further information, visit the Museum of London website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Review: Lord Mayor’s Show 2018 in the City of London – 10th November 2018

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest and most important traditions of London, its origins go back to 1215 when King John was in trouble with his Barons looked to the City of London for support. In 1215 the King was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor, but there was an important condition. Every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made the journey for 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

For the next few hundred years, Lord Mayor of London was by far the grandest position to which a commoner could aspire, and the Mayor’s journey was the celebrity spectacle of its day. Over the centuries it grew so splendid and so popular that by the 16th century it was known everywhere as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It features in the plays of Shakespeare, the diaries of Pepys  and in the pantomime story of Dick Whittington, who was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. The state coach is 250 years old and the show features the City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life come together to enjoy a celebration of the City’s ancient power and prosperity.

This is a procession unlike any other in the world: this year there were over 7000 participants, 20 bands, 200 horses, 150 floats and hundreds of other carriages, carts, coaches and other vehicles including vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, steamrollers, giant robots.

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am,  and was led off by the Band of HM Royal Marines (HMS Collingwood) .

Some of the highlights of the procession include:

Other Royal Marine units followed by The Bank of England’s float returns to the Lord Mayor’s show for the fourth year running.

Next came, Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor’s procession around five hundred years ago.

The Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, London focus on artificial intelligence and smart city technology look with two 5m-tall robots.

There were plenty of pandas in a China float.

The City officials bring up the rear of the procession with Late Lord Mayor, the Light Cavalry, and Pageantmaster

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Band struck up the music for the new Lord Mayor.

The new Lord Mayor is Peter Estlin who becomes the 691th Lord Mayor and rides in the procession within the magnificent State Coach.

The new Lord Mayor is followed by the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers which is a ceremonial unit of the Honourable Artillery Company who provide a ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor of the City.

The procession lasted for around an hour long and reached  the Royal Courts at around 12.30. The return leg left Temple Place at 1.10pm and the tail of the procession arrived back at Mansion House at 2.30.

This eclectic procession is one of the great free shows of the London year, although part of a long tradition, the emphasis is always about fun and spectacle.  With an inflatable bear and pig, marching bands, military personnel, horses, carriages, colourful floats and much more. The Lord Mayor’s Show is one parade that you are never sure what you are going to see next.  The warm weather bought out huge crowds estimated at around 500,000 who enjoyed the procession and the free family festival fun in Paternoster Square and Bloomberg Arcade.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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Food Glorious Food: Dinner with Dickens at the Charles Dickens Museum – 28 November 2018 to 22 April 2019


Food is often an important ingredient in Dickens’s stories and a new exhibition entitled Food Glorious Food: Dinner with Dickens investigates Dickens’s relationship with food and the epic menus of dishes and drinks served by the Dickens family to their many guests. It shows his dinner parties full of activity, wit, comedy and people and their peculiarities were essential food for his imagination.

The exhibition also examines the deep-lying reason for Dickens’s need to entertain and share food, his hidden childhood memories of hunger and his belief, made clear in his stories, that rich and poor alike had the right to enjoy food and drink and that children deserved the security of proper meals.

The Food Glorious Food exhibition will be displayed throughout the rooms in which Charles Dickens and his family lived, entertained countless friends and hosted dinner parties for some of the most influential and interesting members of Victorian society.

The exhibition will feature household culinary items used by Dickens and will draw on letters and first hand accounts by Dickens’s dinner guests to build a vivid picture of the experience of enjoying dinner with Dickens.

Among the exhibits is a previously-unseen letter from 1849, written by novelist Elizabeth Gaskell giving a detailed description of a dinner at Dickens’s home.

Other exhibits include:

A groaning Victorian dining table, set for dessert and featuring items used by Dickens and his family when hosting social gatherings at home 

Charles Dickens’s large wooden lemon squeezer used to prepare his favourite punch recipes

Hand-written dinner invitations from Dickens to his friends

Dickens’s hand-written 1865 inventory of the contents of his wine cellar at Gad’s Hill Place (among the items to be found in Dickens’s cellar in 1865 were ‘one 50 gallon cask ale’, ‘one 18 gallon cask gin’, ‘one 9 gallon cask brandy’ and ‘one 9 gallon cask rum’. The cellar also included dozens of bottles of champagne, Chablis, Sauterne, Metternich hock, claret, L’eau d’or and Kirsch)

An extremely rare early edition of a fascinating cookbook written by Catherine Dickens – wife of Charles – in the early 1850s, entitled What Shall We Have For Dinner? filled with meals and menus (‘bills of fare’) created by Catherine to put before gatherings of between two and twenty people, all aiming to answer the title of the book

A silver-plated samovar owned by Dickens and used at his home at Gad’s Hill Place

Dickens’s heavy silver fish-knife, engraved with a fish design and the monogram ‘CD’

A set of 6 silver punch ladles presented to Dickens to celebrate the completion of Pickwick Papers, each featuring a character from the novel

Dickens’s wooden bread board

The exhibition’s guest co-curator is Pen Vogler, author of Dinner with Dickens: Recipes inspired by the life and work of Charles Dickens, published by CICO books. The book celebrates Victorian food and recreates the dishes which Dickens wrote about and served.

Visitors to the exhibition can also explore the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, the London Townhouse into which Charles Dickens moved with his family in 1837. The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material, including the desk at which he wrote Great Expectations.

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review – Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 at The Queen’s Gallery from 9 November 2018 to 28 April 2019


The Queen’s Gallery presents the first exhibition of Roger Fenton’s Crimean works in London since 1856, the exhibition entitled Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 explores how the photographer brought the stark realities of the Crimea war to the public through more than 60 photographs from the Royal Collection.

Roger Fenton was already a respected photographer (Queen Victoria had commissioned Fenton to produce portraits of the royal family in 1854) when he travelled to the Crimea.

He had been commissioned by the publishers Thomas Agnew & Sons to photograph people of interest in the Crimea for use as source material for a painting by the artist Thomas Barker. However, Fenton’s photographs of bleak terrains and exhausted soldiers would have a profound impact and marks one of earliest examples of war photography.

When Roger Fenton arrived in the Crimea in March 1855, the war had been fought for 12 months and many of the major battles of the campaign had already been fought. Fenton spent three months producing approximately 360 photographs, travelling and working in a mobile darkroom that he had converted from a wine merchant’s van. To a public that had been given selected information about the ‘great’ campaign and the famous Charge of the Light Brigade, Fenton’s photographs were a stark reminder of the horrors of war.

In his most famous photograph, Valley of the Shadow of Death (23 April 1855), he places the viewer at the bottom of a barren ravine littered with cannonballs leaving it to the viewer’s imagination to create a picture of past events.

Britain sent 98,000 men into the conflict and Fenton spent several weeks photographing the key figures of the war. One of his best-known portraits, The Council of War (June 1855), shows the three commanders of the allied armies – Lord Raglan, Maréchal Pélissier and Omar Pasha preparing for an assault on the Russian fortifications. An exhausted looking Lord Raglan died shortly after the image was taken.

One of Fenton’s more haunting images in the exhibition is Lord Balgonie (1855), who seems to be suffering from some kind of psychological problem associated with the conflict.

The majority of Fenton’s portraits depicted senior officers, however he did photographs troops on the frontline usually around the cooking facilities or showing the after effects of battle.

Although Fenton did not produce scenes of battle and death, he photographs were a stark contrast to artistic depictions of battle which tended to glorify the conflict. Fenton returned to Britain in July 1855, and in September his Crimean photographs went on display at the Water Colour Society on Pall Mall. The images raised awareness of the conditions endured by soldiers and Queen Victoria took a personal interest in the conflict and the welfare of the troops. The exhibition features a 1856 painting by John Gilbert which shows Queen Victoria meeting wounded soldiers in Buckingham Palace in 1855.

This interest was translated into practical action when she became the first British monarch to meet and support wounded soldiers in public, personally greeting troops at Buckingham Palace and during visits to hospitals. She also instituted the Victoria Cross, which remains the highest award for gallantry in the British Armed Forces.

This thought-provoking exhibition provides some insights into how the advent of photography changed many of preconceptions of how war was presented to the public. Fenton’s photographic technical and practical skill created a body of work which amazes the modern viewer. It is important to remember that photography was still in its earliest development when Fenton travels to the Crimea and yet he produces portraits of considerable psychological depth and landscapes that live long in the memory.

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 is at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 9 November 2018 – 28 April 2019, with Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review – Russia: Royalty and the Romanovs at The Queen’s Gallery from 9 November 2018 to 28 April 2019


The Queen’s Gallery presents a new exhibition entitled Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs which explores the relationship between the two countries and their royal families through works of art in the Royal Collection.

In 1698 Tsar Peter I, known as Peter the Great became the first Russian ruler to visit England and had meetings with the British King, William III. When he departed, Peter presented the King with his portrait, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller.

This portrait in the exhibition and coronation portrait of Empress Catherine II (Catherine the Great) by Vigilius Eriksen, c.1765–9, thought to have been given to George III are indications of the rise of Russian power and how the rulers of Russian empire were looking to the west for inspiration to modernize the country.

The ties between Russia and the United Kingdom grew in the early 19th century when the allied forces, including those of Great Britain and Russia finally saw victory in the Napoleonic wars. George IV commissioned Sir Thomas Lawrence to paint portraits of the central figures in the defeat of Napoleon for the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle. The paintings in the exhibition of Matvei Ivanovitch, Count Platov and of General Fedor Petrovitch Uvarov, recognised Russia’s important contribution to the defeat of Napoleon.

After the Napoleonic wars, the ties between the Royal Families of the UK and Russia increased and the exhibition includes evidence of the closer ties.

Empress Maria of Russia sent the Prince Regent’s daughter, Princess Charlotte, the insignia of the Order of St Catherine which was the most prestigious award for women in Imperial Russia. The Princess is shown wearing the badge on a Russian-style dress in a portrait of c.1817.

Gradually family ties were consolidated by marriages, in 1874, Queen Victoria’s second son Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, married Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna, daughter of Emperor Alexander II, this event is recorded in Nicholas Chevalier’s painting of the ceremony.

Other marriages followed and the English, Russian and Danish royal families regularly visited one another and marked these occasions in paintings and photographs, and through the exchange of gifts which are featured in the exhibition.

The Danish artist Laurits Regner Tuxen was commissioned to record significant family events, including The Marriage of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia in 1894 and The Family of Queen Victoria in 1887, celebrating the Queen’s Golden Jubilee that year.

Many of the gifts could be lavish, it was around this time that a great number of works by Carl Fabergé entered the Royal Collection. Among them are a framed portrait miniature of the Empress and a gold cigarette case, given to King Edward VII as a 40th wedding anniversary present in 1903.

Although connections between the two countries were never the same after 1918, in 1923 the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother) commissioned a portrait of herself from the Russian artist Savely Sorine. Twenty-five years later she commissioned Sorine to paint a portrait of her daughter Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh, the future Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.

First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev and Premier Nikolai Bulganin presented Her Majesty The Queen with a number of gifts, including the oil painting A Winter’s Day by the prominent painter, Igor Grabar.

This fascinating and decorative exhibition illustrates the ever-changing relationships between the UK and Russia. From the early contacts with Peter the Great and Catherine the Great through to the close family ties in the 19th century and finally the tragic end of the Imperial family in 1918.
The remarkable collection of paintings and other gifts provide considerable insights into the ties that bound many of the royal families of Europe. These ties would be undone by many of the events of the 20th century especially the fall of the Romanovs which changed the political landscape of Europe forever.

Shadows of War: Roger Fenton’s Photographs of the Crimea, 1855 is at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 9 November 2018 – 28 April 2019, with Russia: Royalty & the Romanovs.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or book tickets, visit the Royal Collection website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in  2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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