Category Reviews

Who’s mapping who? Magnificent Maps at the British Library

Maps stir up surprisingly strong emotions. That was my first thought, observing the suppressed, slightly obsessive air of excitement among the visitors to the British Library’s sumptous Magnificent Maps exhibition. There’s the thrill of excitement when you grasp a familiar shape or recognise a place name that means something to you. I found myself glued […]

Seeing landscape anew with Paul Nash at Dulwich

Part of an artist’s job is to help the rest of us see our surroundings anew. Walking home from Paul Nash: The Elements with my head full of Nash’s visions, Dulwich seemed a rather unsettling place. The sky, previously just a tedious grey, loured menacingly down, the colour of gunmetal. Trees thrust their bare, twisted […]

100-object treasure hunt at the British Museum

I’ve been very much enjoying the Radio 4/British Museum series A History of the World in 100 Objects, narrated by BM director Neil McGregor. These little gems provide a 15-minute meditation on specific objects from the museum, looking at their place in human history and what they can tell us about our ancestors. I’m lucky […]

A visit to the theatre of pain

What’s the most important advance in surgery of the last 200 years? Until Saturday, I’d probably have said ‘anaesthetics’. Like most people, it’s the thought of pre-anaesthetic operations that disturbs me most. Now I know that any sensible patient awaiting removal of their gangrenous leg, or painful kidney stones, would have waved away the laudenum […]

Drawing attention at Dulwich Picture Gallery

There’s something alchemic about drawing, the art of conjuring a mood, a person, a whole landscape from a few strokes of pencil, chalk or pen and ink. More than almost any other medium, drawing seems to cut through the centuries, communicating (as the guide to the exhibition points out) with crystal clarity. There is so […]