Jack Wakefield

Nationalise the royal collection!

The royal collection consists of millions of objects whose purpose and ownership are sometimes obscure. Does the collection serve the monarchy, and if so how? Or is the care of the collection, and of the palaces that contain it, the sacred duty of the Queen? Housed throughout the royal palaces, it includes works held by

Why Christie’s is wrong to cancel Eric Gill

Eric Gill was an incestuous paedophile and his own letters prove it, but the value of his work can run into millions of pounds. So it was a surprise to hear rumours that auction house Christie’s will no longer be accepting his art. Will they really be turning away all Gills, even the masterpieces? I

Conning the connoisseurs

Rogues’ Gallery describes itself as a history of art and its dealers, and Philip Hook, who has worked at the top of Sotheby’s for decades, is well versed in his subject. Sadly for the prurient, this is not an exposé of the excesses of the market from one of its high priests; and Hook says

Thomas Heatherwick

Thomas Heatherwick is the most famous designer in the United Kingdom today and has an unquestionable flair for attention-grabbing creations. Before 2010 he was mostly known for a splashy public sculpture in Manchester, ‘B of the Bang’ (2005). Within weeks bits started to fall off. In 2009 it was dismantled. This was his most celebrated

Boris’s London legacy

Overseeing Boris Johnson’s futuristic office, with its spectacular view of the increasingly culinary skyscape of the City of London with its Gherkins and Cheesegraters, is a bust of Pericles, distinctive in his helmet. It is no surprise that the Mayor should hold himself up to the gaze of the Athenian general and politician because he

The next head of the National Gallery will be…

Nick Penny announced that he is stepping down as head of the National Gallery. Next door, at the National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Nairne also announced that he is leaving. Could he be after the job at the NG? Nick Penny’s predecessor, Charles Saumarez Smith, came from the NPG but his lack of knowledge about the NG collection is

John Deakin is no genius – and he has not been forgotten

Every so often, John Deakin, jug-eared chronicler of Soho and hanger-on at the Colony Rooms, is breathlessly rediscovered as the unknown giant behind Bacon and the forgotten man from Soho’s  generation of genius. All that is so much tosh: Deakin is no genius and he has not been forgotten. In fact, he can never be

The curator brain drain

In 1857, the National Gallery’s pioneering director Sir Charles Eastlake bought one of Veronese’s most sumptuous paintings, ‘The Family of Darius before Alexander’. The purchase was met with strident and very personal opposition from a Tory, Lord Elcho, in the House of Commons, but his objections were swatted aside by Lord Palmerston and we were

Venice: A feast of great art

Venice is a 10,000-carat jewel set by the greatest ever goldsmith pinned to the breast of the most beautiful woman to have lived. Built out of a need for security in the turbulent world of late antiquity, it was protected by the lagoon, which also gave it political stability, and with political stability came riches,

Eastern promise | 11 August 2012

The Olympic Legacy List has less to do with the Olympics than its name suggests. True, it is responsible for the long-term cultural programme in the 618-acre Olympic Park but, as one insider put it, the real work begins when the circus leaves town. The word on every Olympic panjandrum’s or British politician’s lips is