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Henry’s VIII’s Psalter

In this illumination from Henry’s VIII’s Psalter, the young David prepares to confront Goliath. In this illumination from Henry’s VIII’s Psalter, the young David prepares to confront Goliath. Dressed in Tudor costume, he wears a soft black hat with a white feather brim, similar to that worn by Henry in the famous Holbein portrait in

A delicate talent

When, 15 years ago, Nicola Beauman embarked on this life of ‘the other Elizabeth Taylor’, the novelist and not the film star, she had been deprived of documents that would certainly have been of tremendous use to her. These were the letters that, over a period of some three decades, Taylor wrote regularly and at

Tales out of school

The Old Boys’ Network, by John Rae At Westminster School, under the shadow of Big Ben and at the very centre of national life, 600 of the brightest, quirkiest and most stimulating boys and girls in the country spar with teachers of similar character. Results are spectacular. The difficulty for the headmaster, however, is that

From worthless to priceless

A combination of art history ‘lite’ and the personal touch — a common yoking together these days, even in books supposedly of art history ‘full strength’ — makes for, in Philip Hook’s hands, an engaging read. As a dealer and auctioneer, and the author of several thrillers, he has advantages not given to the general

Fame is still the spur

In The Frenzy of Renown, Leo Braudy’s magisterial study of fame and its history, he identifies the principal allure of being a celebrity: ‘In the heart of the fan and the famous alike, fame is a quiet place where one is free to be what one really is, one’s true, unchanging essence.’ The belief that

The day the music died

An earnest young man upbraids his singing teacher. ‘Why don’t you sing classical more often?’ It is Bombay in the early Eighties. The young man’s father has enjoyed a successful career in management, with the result that ‘his childhood had been almost entirely chauffeur-driven’. His singing teaching, peddling remarkable gifts to earn an unremarkable living