Dabbler Diary – Taxi Driver

A little after one in the morning we emerged arm-in-arm from the Bristol Museum and walked unsteadily in the direction of the taxi rank outside Brown’s. Mrs Brit was in a cocktail dress and heels. I was in a dinner suit (by M&S, machine washable) and a real bow tie ... Read More...

Giovanni Battista Moroni at the Royal Academy

The Royal Academy's exhibition of paintings by Giovanni Battista Moroni is the first large-scale survey of his works to be staged outside Italy. Nige reports... I only knew Moroni from the handful of his intriguing portraits in the National Gallery - including the famous Portrait of a Tailor (top) - and I was eager ... Read More...

Review: The Art of Pin-Up (TASCHEN)

Brit gets an eyeful of The Art of Pin-Up, TASCHEN's comprehensive new guide to a uniquely American art form... Men are simple creatures: show them a picture of an attractive woman in a revealing outfit and you can flog them pretty much anything, from magazines to toothpaste to joining the army.  This straightforward ... Read More...

Marianne North – Globetrotting Flower-painter

Nige pays tribute to the extraordinary Victorian spinster, globetrotter, botanist, artist and 'very wild bird', Marianne North... Tomorrow marks the birthday of the brilliant flower painter and tireless traveller Marianne North (born 1830), who, even by the standards of intrepid, globetrotting Victorian spinsters, was pretty extraordinary. In an age before jet ... Read More...

Achievement Gaps

Ever tried to write a novel that wasn't worthless? Douglas considers talent, mediocrity, the limits of creativity and the art of appreciation... In A Mathematician’s Apology G.H. Hardy estimates that only five or ten people in a hundred can do something “rather well.” Considerably fewer are truly gifted. We do not each have ... Read More...

A Trip to Dieppe

Nige visits the French town of Dieppe, once home to Oscar Wilde, Frits Thaulow and a society of Anglophile artists... About this time last year I headed for Dieppe to spend a few days as a summer flaneur, a thoroughly restorative trip. Dieppe retains its unique, slightly faded charm, and its ... Read More...

Stonehenge and British art

Visiting Stonehenge this half-term? Here's Alexandra Harris' post on its influence on British culture, from Turner to Hepworth... Stonehenge is a good example of how a particular landmark in the English countryside could inspire different kinds of appreciation. Its image was particularly potent because it signified strength and endurance while at ... Read More...