Sophie Barling is a freelance writer.

The Venetian family that brought glass-making into the modern age

The founders of the firm Nason Moretti revolutionised the making of glass without compromising on its quality

24 Oct 2023

The Musée des Arts Décoratifs gets more modern

Under its new director Christine Macel, the historic museum full of masterpieces of French design is entering a brand new era

29 Aug 2023

How Barbie’s Dreamhouse turned into a design nightmare

Before the gal who has everything got into pink, her ideal home was a shrine to midcentury modern living

4 Aug 2023
Interiors of Casa Balla in Rome

Inside a very forward-looking home in Rome

At Casa Balla, Futurism was definitely a family affair for Giacomo Balla and his daughters Lucia and Elice

3 Jul 2023
ceramic depiction of Gilbert & George

The modern potter who was devoted to Delft

When Simon Pettet moved into Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields he began to channel the 18th century in the 1980s

27 Apr 2023

On its 300th birthday, the Belvedere reflects on a remarkably complicated past

Built as a residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, the Vienna museum with a tangled history is now a home for Old Masters and modern art

27 Feb 2023

The Venetian artists who vied with the ancients

Working in an Italian city with no Roman past allowed painters and sculptors to put their own spin on classical antiquity

1 Jan 2023
Roscoff (Finisterre): M. Masson and his team of fisherman prepare to go out to see

The Frenchman who wanted to photograph the world

In the early 20th century, Albert Kahn dispatched photographers to more than 50 countries – and the magical results can be found in the Paris museum that bears his name

24 Oct 2022

Grand designs – how Gio Ponti transformed Palazzo Bo

The University of Padua may be 800 years old, but this ancient institution is also home to masterpieces of 20th-century design

30 May 2022
Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent and Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington star in ‘The Duke’, directed by Roger Michell.

The man who made off with a Goya – ‘The Duke’, reviewed

Roger Michell’s last film tells the unlikely story of how the Duke of Wellington’s portrait was stolen from the National Gallery – and found in a train station four years later

11 Feb 2022
Stag plaque, 8th–6th century BC, Eleke Sazy burial complex, Kazakhstan.

Showing their metal – the glorious gold of the ancient Saka people

Burials uncovered in East Kazakhstan have revealed the nomadic Saka to be as skilled in gold-working as they were in horsemanship and war

4 Jan 2022
The Ascendents XIV (detail; 2021), Wangari Mathenge.

Frieze week highlights: Sickert’s portraits and Hampstead Garden Suburb in the 1970s

The painter’s brooding portraits and Wangari Mathenge’s colourful interiors are among the shows to see this year

7 Oct 2021
Andrew Lloyd Webber photographed in the Pre-Raphaelite Room at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, London, in August 2021.

Supporting cast – Andrew Lloyd Webber does up Drury Lane with a few of his favourite things

The musical impresario has found a role for his collection of beloved Pre-Raphaelites at the newly restored Theatre Royal Drury Lane

12 Sep 2021
High scorer: Sir Geoff Hurst on top of a pod on the London Eye wearing a replica 1966 World Cup final kit on Friday 9 July, two days before the Euro 2020 final.

Tourist for a day – the London Eye may be ancient now, but it’s well worth a spin

The giant ferris wheel may now be part of the furniture – but the view from on high is still revolutionary

2 Aug 2021
Carving (c. 1690), Grinling Gibbons.

In praise of Grinling Gibbons, the wizard of woodcarving

The sculptor took Restoration England by storm with his virtuosic woodwork

24 Jul 2021

The poetry of Polaroids, chez François Halard

Locked down in Arles, the celebrated interiors photographer François Halard made a series of dreamlike Polaroids that emerge as an enigmatic self-portrait

8 Mar 2021
The tomb of Richard and Isabel Burton at the church of St Mary Magdalen, Mortlake, built 1891.

The Victorian adventurers who pitched their tent for eternity

Richard and Isabel Burton are buried in a quiet churchyard in south London – but their remarkable tomb is a fitting monument to these insatiable travellers

1 Mar 2021
Maggi Hambling, photographed with her pug, Peggy, in November 2020.

‘The thing is to be brave’ – Maggi Hambling toughs it out

From that scandalous scallop to her Mary Wollstonecraft monument, Maggi Hambling is no stranger to controversy

23 Jan 2021

Buttered toast and bridge evenings – Summoned by Bells revisited

John Betjeman’s nostalgic verse memoir was well served by its illustrators

24 Dec 2020
The Refreshment Pavilion at Kew Gardens after it was burned down by suffragettes in February 1913.

Storm in a teacup – at Kew’s pavilion restaurant

The gardens’ latest restaurant occupies the site of their first refreshment pavilion – which has a surprisingly turbulent history

3 Nov 2020
Wallpaper design, ‘Trellis’ (detail; designed 1862, first produced 1864), William Morris. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Priming up the walls – on colour and confinement

Some choose their wallpaper, some have paint schemes thrust upon them… a decorative dérive through the history of colour and interiors

1 Apr 2020
View of The Last Supper (1464–68) by Dieric Bouts (c. 1415–75) in St Peter's Church, Leuven. Photo: Ⓒ Rudi Van Beek; courtesy M Leuven

‘It’s an artistic overview of one of the most productive moments in the city of Leuven’

Curator Peter Carpreau talks about the masterpieces of Flemish art housed in the recently restored St Peter’s Church in Leuven

28 Feb 2020
Adèle Haenel and Noémie Merlant in Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire.

Burning desires – Céline Sciamma’s ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’, reviewed

The French director’s film about an 18th-century painter and her muse is a visual feast

26 Feb 2020
La Chemise (detail; 1905), Kees van Dongen. Galerie Jean-François Cazeau (€1.8m)

What not to miss at BRAFA this year

From Fauvist paintings to fragments of the Berlin Wall – highlights of the 2020 edition of the fair

24 Jan 2020