The Great

The Great

Straight out of the gate, The Great is upfront about its blatantly ahistorical content. ‘An occasionally true story’ reads the disclaimer and if anything, that grossly undersells it. In much the manner of buses and threes, there’s been a sudden glut of prestige TV dramas about Russia’s Catherine The Great;...

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Picasso’s paint palette sells for £56,250

Picasso’s paint palette sells for £56,250

The World of Picasso (see here) Presenting a plethora of works of all media spanning the entire oeuvre of the truly indefatigable artist Pablo Picasso, the online auction charted his experimentation and creativity from pastels to linocuts, ceramics to silver plates. 188 works together totalled £4,832,125 / $6,128,101, with 92% of...

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Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020

Turn the page for Independent Bookshop Week 2020

From online events with bestselling authors, to a picture book celebrating key workers, to virtual bookshop crawls, Independent Bookshop Week 2020 (20-27 June) is in full swing this week. Organised by the Booksellers Association (BA) and sponsored by Hachette, the annual celebration of independent bookshops across the UK and Ireland...

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From Shoguns to Star Wars: V&A’s personal guided tour of the Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk

From Shoguns to Star Wars: V&A’s personal guided tour of the Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk

Close your eyes and travel in your mind over to Kyoto Japan where pink cherry blossom flutters down and tripping towards you in her high wooden geta, chiselled from a block of wood, is a vision of perfection – a young Geisha Maiko, her snowy white face smooth, black hair...

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Iran, or is it Persia?

Iran, or is it Persia?

Persia has one of the longest, most inventive and sophisticated, yet least known or understood civilisations. Like all Empires, it has had eras of dreadful bloodshed and wars. The Persian Wars against Greece ended with the iconoclastic sacking of the Parthenon in 479 BC. In 515 BC, Darius I had...

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Art and Artifice

Art and Artifice

I was brought up on reproduced pictures of classical fine art in books and journals, mostly in black and white and poor quality printing. It was only when I was at secondary school, we were exposed to places like the British Museum and the National Gallery. It was a revelation...

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Streaming’s Hidden Gems

Streaming’s Hidden Gems

As lockdown shows little signs of abating, you might be feeling that if you have to watch another episode of Friends you’ll have to trade your living room sofa for a padded cell. Luckily there’s still plenty of hidden gems to be found across streaming services that will keep you...

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Sons of the Waves by Stephen Taylor

Sons of the Waves by Stephen Taylor

The subtitle of this weighty tome is ‘The Common Seaman in the Heroic Age of Sail’, which charts the history of Jack Tar from when Francis Drake circumnavigated the Globe on the Golden Hind in 1577, with 166 seamen on board, until the age of steam, when Britain literally ruled...

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At the movies with BFI Player

At the movies with BFI Player

Since social distancing effectively made the nation’s televisions essential workers in our households, the question of what to watch in our free time has never felt so crucial. Unsurprisingly this has seen demand for BFI Player skyrocket. For the uninitiated (or those thinking our proofing department should really know how...

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Radio Dada

Radio Dada

I have always regarded the radio as a constant companion, a close friend and a source of information and entertainment, more so than the television. It was that old stager Alistair Cooke, the broadcaster best known for his Letters from America, who quoted a little boy in a survey of...

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