Andrew Lycett

Maud Russell: mistress of Mottisfont Abbey — and Ian Fleming

8 April 2017 9:00 am

The name Maud Russell creeps almost apologetically into a few 20th-century diaries such as those of her friend Violet Bonham…

Portrait of Persia’s Prince Abbas Mirza, c.1820. From his bailiwick near the Russian border he dispatched educational missions to Europe, sponsored translations of key European works and imported metal casting techniques and the printing press. (Getty images)

When Islam was synonymous with knowledge and erudition

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist who has spent much of his working life in the Middle East, has grown tired…

Portrait of Persia’s Prince Abbas Mirza c. 1820. From his bailiwick near the Russian border he dispatched educational missions to Europe, sponsored translations of key European works and imported metal casting techniques and the printing press

When Islam was a byword for benign Enlightenment

25 February 2017 9:00 am

Christopher de Bellaigue, a journalist who has spent much of his working life in the Middle East, has grown tired…

Mark Sykes in Vanity Fair, June 1912

The squiggle on the map that shaped the modern world

19 November 2016 9:00 am

When turbaned warriors from Daesh (or Isis) advanced on Raqqa in Syria two years ago, they whooped wildly about having…

Richard Chopping’s design for The Fly (1965)

A guide to 20th-century British painting and promiscuity

11 June 2016 9:00 am

Somewhere I have a couple of neat letters from the artist Richard Chopping, politely declining my requests to interview him…

Jeremy Thorpe gets off Scott-free

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Appropriately for the dog days of British politics, there’s plenty of canine activity in this neatly groomed account of the…

Always prone to depression: David Astor c.1946

David Astor: the saintly, tormented man who remade the Observer

5 March 2016 9:00 am

Before embarking on this book, Jeremy Lewis was told by his friend Diana Athill that his subject, the newspaper editor…

David Litvinoff: queeny aesthete or street-hustling procurer?

6 February 2016 9:00 am

Even David Litvinoff’s surname was a concoction. It was really Levy. Wanting something ‘more romantic’, he appropriated that of his…

Diana Athill finally accepts ‘Old Woman’ status, aged 98

23 January 2016 9:00 am

There’s something reassuring about 98-year-old Diana Athill. She’s stately and well-ordered, like the gardens at Ditchingham Hall in Norfolk, her…

The real subject of John le Carré’s novels is his conman father Ronnie

29 October 2015 9:00 am

John le Carré has been writing about a mirror world for over 50 years — and he’ll continue to do so for as long as his father haunts him, says Andrew Lycett