Alasdair Palmer rss


The rise and fall of the gunless gangster

8 November 2014

The release of Harry Roberts, the man responsible for shooting dead three policemen in 1966, has sparked a vigorous debate about whether he should have stayed in prison until he… Read more

‘Portrait of Andrea Quaratesi’, c.1532, by Michelangelo

Michelangelo had a bigger vision than Shakespeare – and the ego to match

13 September 2014

It is 450 years since the birth of William Shakespeare. The anniversary has been hard to avoid in this country, which is entirely appropriate. Shakespeare helped to shape not only… Read more

A penetrating, unblinking gaze: ‘La Bella’, 1536, by Titian

Exhibitions: Tiziano

25 May 2013
Tiziano Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome

‘When Titian paints eyes,’ observed Eugène Delacroix, who spent a lifetime admiring, studying and copying the Venetian artist, ‘they are lit with the fire of life.’ The truth of Delacroix’s… Read more


Medieval mystery

9 February 2013

Medieval castles are generally dark and forbidding places that look as if they were built to prove the proposition that ‘form follows function’: the function was to be impregnable, and… Read more


Mad money

28 July 2012

Daniel Kahneman is a very modest man — amazingly so for someone who has won the Nobel prize in economics. When I met him in the lobby of a London… Read more


Restoration tragedy

12 May 2012

Alasdair Palmer questions the ill-conceived makeover of Chartres cathedral which robs us of the sense of passing time that is part of its fascination and mystery Should old buildings look… Read more


Medieval frescoes

24 September 2011

Rome contains many hidden treasures, but the most remarkable of the lot is concealed on the Caelian Hill, above the Colosseum, in the medieval monastery of Santi Quattro Coronati. It’s… Read more


Paradise regained

16 July 2011

Alasdair Palmer marvels at a series of Veronese frescoes at Palladio’s Villa Barbaro It has included repairing the roof and strengthening the walls, as well as redecorating the interior, and… Read more


Rewarding rubbish

27 November 2010

If you went on holiday to Italy this year, you may have come back with a plate, a mug or a jug — an item or two of the painted… Read more


Why the coalition’s police reforms will fail

21 August 2010

The Home Office has radical plans, but they won’t come to much, says Alasdair Palmer. Less money and fewer paid officers will inevitably mean more crime Last month when Theresa… Read more

Pacific Heights

18 March 2008

‘God created the world in seven days… San Francisco took a little longer.’ You can forgive San Franciscans a little blasphemy — well, you sort of have to, because it’s… Read more

Meeting Professor Torture

14 February 2007

Guantanamo Bay has just marked its fifth anniversary. John Yoo was instrumental in setting up the prison camp which the normally solidly pro-American Daily Mail has called ‘the sort of… Read more

Saddam’s trial shouldn’t be fair

8 November 2006

When Mohammed al-Ureybi, the presiding judge at the trial of Saddam Hussein, started reading out that the court sentenced Saddam to death for killing 148 inhabitants of the Shiite village… Read more

How Leonardo did it

14 September 2006

Alasdair Palmer talks to the French artist who has discovered the secret of the Master’s technique How did he do it? Among the many great unanswered questions about Leonardo da… Read more

Life, liberty and terrorists

17 December 2005

‘When it comes to the British courts,’ Charles Clarke insists, ‘I am a perpetual optimist.’ Which is fortunate, because he needs to be. We met on the day the Law… Read more

The American way of torture

26 November 2005

Alasdair Palmer on how the White House is trying to defeat Senator McCain’s anti-torture Bill America is starting to get anxious again about its use of ‘aggressive interrogation’. The more… Read more

Is torture always wrong?

24 September 2005

The officers who pumped seven bullets into Jean Charles de Menezes as he sat in a Tube train in Stockwell station on 22 July believed he was a suicide-bomber about… Read more

Small is beautiful

24 September 2005

The Cambridge Illuminations, the Fitzwilliam Museum’s exhibition of mediaeval manuscripts, wasn’t very crowded when I visited last Sunday. The show comprises principally images of devotion, damnation and prayer, conceived and… Read more

Railtrack’s show trial

19 July 2003

Alasdair Palmer says the charges against Railtrack’s Gerald Corbett are the cynical prelude to a law on corporate killing The families of the four people who were killed in the… Read more