The golden age of Dutch art never ceases to amaze

This year’s Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the Frans Hals retrospective at London’s National Gallery are testaments to the enduring appeal of the Dutch artists of the Golden Age. When the 80-year war between Spain and the Dutch Republic ended in 1648, it left the Dutch strong in military and economic terms. They founded colonies across the world. The affluence and stability provided the perfect medium for creativity. Painting flourished, and buying art was no longer the domain of the wealthiest. Benjamin Moser’s first book since winning the Pulitzer for Sontag explores this burgeoning world. The lives and works of the greatest and lesser-known Dutch artists of

The cult of the extortionate ‘English’ kitchen

A house around the corner is on its fourth kitchen in a decade. Every two or three years, the house changes hands, the pristine kitchen comes out and a newer, pristiner kitchen goes in. They are always white, they are always shiny, and when I peer through the basement windows there is nothing in the way of signs of life. I reckon I can predict the next kitchen. Think homespun, think rustic, think scullery maid in mobcap and pinny. What the rich want now is a plain old Plain English kitchen. Hand-crafted cabinets, antiqued brass, Delft tiles with authentic craquelure. Starting at £34,000 and going up to… well, how much

Why millennials love midcentury modern

I’ve recently become betrothed, so naturally I’ve started playing the fantasy house game; scrolling through property sites on my phone, highest price first, before I go to sleep at night. I thought I knew what I was looking for; a Georgian townhouse, solid stone steps leading up to a grand front door, basement kitchen, you know the drill… but then I saw it, my dream house. The main living area is a vast open plan, multi-levelled space with a sweeping wall of windows; white limestone floors contrast against its naked brick body and slatted wooden ceiling; everything is bathed in brilliant natural light, the lines between inside and outside gloriously

There’s more to paint than Farrow & Ball

Hands up if you’ve ever had your house decorated and strategically placed a couple of empty tins of Farrow & Ball Dead Salmon on the doorstep so the neighbours appreciate your excellent taste. It happens a lot, says Henry Prideaux, a London-based interior designer who agrees that a certain kind of paint brand, ‘can appeal for a variety of reasons, whether it is for its environmental credentials, ease of use, or value for money. Sometimes though, it’s a case of keeping up with the Joneses and impressing your friends by using the best and most expensive.’ At £52 for a 2.5L tin, it’s clear that Farrow & Ball has become a dictum