Leading historians among guests toasting author's book about the Plinys
Daisy Dunn and William Collins launched her new book, In the Shadow of Vesuvius: A Life of Pliny, at the Panter & Hall gallery in Pall Mall.
Dunn's title echoes the belief, only dispelled in the 14th century, that there was one Pliny. But there were two, and In the Shadow of Vesuvius is about both of them: the Elder, a naturalist who died following the Vesuvius eruption; and the Younger, his nephew, a lawyer and politician whose letters have challenged and occasionally exasperated generations of schoolchildren.
Dunn's book, following her life of the poet Catullus, is already receiving acclaim, with Christopher Hart in the Sunday Times calling it "immensely entertaining and readable". Perhaps even those who thought they had said good riddance to Pliny might be tempted to give him another go.
Guests at the party included, as well as Dunn's publisher Arabella Pike and her agent Georgina Capel, authors and historians Saul David, Giles Milton, Andrew Lycett, Bettany Hughes, Ferdinand Mount, Simon Sebab Montefiore, Hugo Williams, Simon Jenkins, Jessie Childs, and Daniel Johnson.
Photo: Daisy Dunn (left) and Arabella Pike