The Spectator

15 December 2018

Arts

‘The Nativity’, 1470–75, by Piero della Francesca

Arts feature

The fascinating story behind one of the best-loved depictions of the Nativity

The painting reveals Piero della Francesca moving into a novel phase: blending the lucid geometry of his earlier work with the naturalism of Flemish artists

Charles J. Tebbutt at Littleport, January 1893, unknown photographer

Exhibitions

A short history of ice skating

The sport was brought to England under the Stuarts and quickly became an arena for male display as this new exhibition at the Centre for Sporting Art shows

Arts feature

The people have not forgotten me: the exiled Empress of Iran interviewed

The widow of the Shah of Iran was painted by Warhol and assembled the greatest collection of art outside of Europe. She talks to Will Heaven about the stupidity of the current regime

King's College Choir rehearsing for the Christmas Eve 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols'. Photo credit: Geoff Robinson Photography / REX / Shutterstock

Music

All hail Mrs C.F. Alexander, author of 'Once in Royal David's City'

Her hymns express with such unpretentious clarity and perfect scansion the essence of Christianity

True stories: Gary Kemp in 1971

Arts feature

Gary Kemp on pop, Pre-Raphaelites, politics and playing Pinter

The Spandau Ballet frontman and actor is enjoying a comeback. He talks to Michael Hann

Practically perfect in every way: Joel Dawson and Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns
The Royal Ballet's Nutcracker. Photograph: Tristram Kenton
Sensational: the cast of Seussical

Theatre

I couldn’t wait to escape this opaque, witless horror show: True West reviewed

Plus: Southwark Playhouse’s Seussical is a 75-minute sensation

Sheridan Smith and Alison Steadman in Jimmy McGovern's Care. Photo: BBC / LA Productions / Dan Prince

Television

Could it be that Jimmy McGovern was getting into the festive spirit? No... Care reviewed

McGovern swung his sledgehammer stirringly but the ending was unexpectedly happy – and unsatisfactory

Apollo 8 on its launch pad in December 1968. Photo: AP / REX / Shutterstock