Liz Anderson

Farewell, Speccie

So we are all going to have to pay for fatties to have stomach bands and bypasses, are we? It may be ‘cost-effective’ to treat the obese before they go on to develop diabetes and other medical problems, but I’m not sure how much sympathy they will get when we already hear about cancer patients

How to beat Alzheimer’s

British scientists have identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict, with 87 per cent accuracy, the start of dementia. Symptoms, apparently, take about ten years to appear after the actual start of Alzheimer’s. Having lived with someone with this horrendous condition, I am certain that I wouldn’t want to take a blood test that would show that in a

Shot at Dawn: an emotionally charged WWI musical

A court-martial — followed by an execution: not exactly promising ingredients for a musical. But Ross Clark’s new music drama Shot at Dawn turns out to be unexpectedly moving. On the outbreak of the first world war, Adam, a farm labourer, enlists in the army, despite being underage, and is later shot for cowardice; his

From egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly

South Kensington is teeming with butterflies at the moment, or at least the specially constructed tropical enclosure at the Natural History Museum is. Sensational Butterflies (until 14 September) takes you on a journey through the life cycle of, you guessed it, the butterfly: from egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. Butterflies had a good

The Picasso muse who became an artist

With her long blonde hair tied in a ponytail, Sylvette David is familiar from many of Picasso’s paintings. She met the artist in the South of France as a teenager and became one of his models – his muse but never his mistress — during the spring of 1954 (Picasso’s relationship with Françoise Gilot had

All the fun of the fair | 30 January 2014

The Works on Paper annual fair runs from 6 to 9 February at the Science Museum. Its name is a bit of a giveaway: all art must be on paper. There is a huge range of work on display: early, modern and contemporary watercolours, prints, posters and photographs — from the late-15th century to the

The man who transformed houses

Alec Cobbe is a designer, painter, musician, picture restorer and collector, and has recently donated drawings, photographs and other archives to the V&A, where some of this collection is now on display. Cobbe was born in Dublin and aged four moved to the family house Newbridge, an 18th-century, 50-room country villa designed by James Gibbs,

Pearls: if you’ve got ’em, wear ’em

‘Women spend more money on their ears in pearl earrings than on any other part of their person.’ So said Pliny the Elder, who disapproved of the increasing fashion for pearls in the 1st century. It’s lucky he’s not around now to see the V&A’s new exhibition Pearls (until 19 January), where there are natural,

Sculpture trail

William Turnbull died last year. And if his name is not as familiar as those of his friends Giacometti and Paolozzi, it should be: an exhibition at Chatsworth in Derbyshire may help put this right. Turnbull was born in Dundee in 1922; he left school at 15, and went to work as an illustrator for

Millionaires’ playground

‘If you don’t like the weather in New England, just wait a few minutes.’ Well, Mark Twain, I waited a couple of days and I liked the weather a lot: bright blue skies, warm sun and a cooling breeze off the Atlantic during a September weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. Two days is not long

Royal rocks

It’s a smallish dark room but, wow, what a lot of sparklers. There are more than 10,000 diamonds set in tiaras, crowns (Diamond Diadem, above), brooches, swords, earrings and necklaces, on display at Buckingham Palace in a special exhibition Diamonds: A Jubilee Celebration (until 7 October). These stunning pieces were acquired by six monarchs over

Road to Mecca

The British Museum’s latest exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam (until 15 April) sets out to explain the mysteries of this annual pilgrimage. Last year, a total of 2,927,719 pilgrims went to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, something that all Muslims should try to do at least once in their lifetime. Such huge numbers are

The art of collecting

Passion was in the air in the rooms of the Wallace Collection last week — or at least the word was at the inaugural Apollo seminar sponsored by specialist art broker Stackhouse Poland with AXA Art Insurance. ‘How do you collect art and antiques in today’s market?’ was the question and the panel, chaired by

Me and my spoon

‘We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be interested?’ asked the Goldsmiths’ Company. I most certainly was, which was why I turned up (with my pinnie) at the Camberwell workshop of silversmiths Howard Fenn and Steve Wager. ‘We have a spare place at a silver spoon-making workshop. Would you be

Rock on

In December 1956, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Carl Perkins met at the recording studios of Sun Records in Memphis, Tennessee. And Million Dollar Quartet, at the Noël Coward Theatre (booking until 1 October), charts this memorable get-together with 90 minutes of rock’n’roll played and sung by a not-exactly lookalike group of

All in the mind | 6 November 2010

‘All of us have had the experience of confusion or bafflement when we repetitively forget something, do something that (consciously) we absolutely did not want to do or lose something important to us.’ Indeed. ‘Freud took these episodes seriously and showed how these apparently innocent events provide windows into our unconscious minds.’ Ah. ‘All of

Mixing with prostitutes

Kienholz: The Hoerengracht Sunley Room, National Gallery, until 21 February 2010 The first time I saw Ed Kienholz’s work was at his 1996 retrospective at the Whitney Museum in New York. I was completely overwhelmed — there was something so powerful and so disturbing about his huge stage-set-size installations which covered subjects such as brothels,

Liz Suggests

A few years ago I was given the Rough Guide to Shakespeare by Andrew Dickson. If you, like me, need to be reminded of the plot of some of Shakespeare’s plays it is an invaluable guide, giving a synopsis, a history of adaptations, further reading material and a list of filmed versions. And this summer