Detail of Two Hills (2020), Annie Morris’s screenprint for Make a Wish UK

Silver linings – artists share their hopeful moments from 2020

Annie Morris, Sunil Gupta, Edmund de Waal and other artists reflect on what’s made them feel a little more positive this year

28 Dec 2020
All Hands on Deck (detail; 2003), Denzil Forrester.

Club classics – on the dance floor with Denzil Forrester

The painter discusses dancehalls, club music and drawing in the dark

26 Dec 2020

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 National Assembly Building (Parliament) in Ljubljana.

Concerns rise about cultural freedom in Slovenia

The recent dismissal of two respected museum directors widens the gulf between the ministry of culture and the contemporary arts sector

23 Dec 2020
Ian Jenkins (1953–2020) in the garden at the British School at Athens. Reproduced with the permission of the British School at Athens

‘The Parthenon was but the tip of the iceberg’ – remembering Ian Jenkins (1953–2020)

Brilliant and charismatic, the British Museum curator was dedicated to sharing his passion for ancient Greece

22 Dec 2020
Detail of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial (1897), Augustus Saint-Gaudens, showing Black soldiers of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment.

Federal agency – how Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpted the American Civil War

With his monuments to Union statesmen and soldiers, the artist acknowledged the unfinished business of the past

20 Dec 2020

Keeping time – the Tunisian clock monuments that tell of a bygone regime

A decade after the uprisings that led to the downfall of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the clocks he loved remain

18 Dec 2020
Untitled (Finlayson Point) (early 1930s), Emily Carr.

Acquisitions of the Month: November 2020

Canadian landscapes by Emily Carr and a major fresco by Tiepolo are among this month’s highlights

15 Dec 2020
Irina Antonova. Courtesy the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow

‘The curatorial coups she pulled off are legendary’ – on Irina Antonova (1922–2020)

Whether breaching the Iron Curtain or riding pillion in her eighties, ‘Madame Antonova’ – director of the Pushkin Museum for 52 years – was a force to be reckoned with

14 Dec 2020
Detail of Ikere Palace door and lintel (c. 1910–14), Olowe of Ise, Yoruba peoples, Nigeria. British Museum, London

Naming rights – anonymity and attribution in African art

Historical African artists are rarely named in museums – but we must retrieve what information we can

5 Dec 2020
Buildings at the main entrance to the Toshogu Shrine, Nikko (photo: 2016).

A pilgrimage to the shrines of the shoguns

The sacred mountainside site of Nikko comprises both Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines – many of which have been restored to their 17th-century splendour

30 Nov 2020
From left to right: The Marquise Arconati-Visconti, photographed by the Atelier Nadar in 1900. Bibliothèque nationale de France / ‘Self-Portrait’ (detail) (c. 1880), Nélie Jacquemart. Musée Jacquemart-Andre, Paris / ‘Portrait of Marcello (The Duchess of Castiglione-Colonna) (detail) (1870), Gustave Courbet. Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims

Rooms of their own – the female collectors who reshaped French society

The collecting of women has often been regarded as mere shopping, but the efforts of both princesses and professional artists are now receiving their rightful dues

29 Nov 2020
Pages 54 (‘Stavesacre’) and 25 (‘Foxglove’) in Jacques le Moyne de Morgues’ florilegium at the V&A (painted c. 1575)

Budding prospects – a botanist’s guide to Elizabethan England

Jacques Le Moyne’s intricate depictions of flowers and herbs were a pioneering contribution to the field of botanical illustration

27 Nov 2020
Douglas Gordon preparing Cullen skink

Visual feasts – a collection of recipes by video artists

A new cookbook may inspire you to make Cullen skink with Douglas Gordon or Ming Wong’s congee with canned fish

23 Nov 2020
The Lunar Roving Vehicle and James B. Irwin on the surface of the Moon on 31 July 1971 during the Apollo 15 mission (photograph: David R. Scott)

Who is responsible for heritage in outer space?

A new international agreement raises questions about what counts as cultural property in space, how it should be protected and who should do the protecting

23 Nov 2020
La Chaîne Simpson (1896), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Art Institute of Chicago

Chain reaction – the art of bicycle racing

The invention of the modern bicycle in 1885 led to a whirl of enthusiasm for racing these new machines – and artists were swept up in the craze

21 Nov 2020

Keeping it in the family – the neglect of Tunisia’s 19th-century heritage

An auction in Paris of a prominent Tunisian family’s heirlooms was stopped earlier this year, but the country’s heritage still needs better protection

17 Nov 2020
Landscape near Arnhem (1900–01), Piet Mondrian.

Acquisitions of the Month: October 2020

A group of Dutch drawings and a collection of pre-cinematic devices are among this month’s highlights

16 Nov 2020
View of the gatehouse and west front of Oxburgh Hall, Norfolk.

Rats’ nests and recusant history at Oxburgh Hall

Restoration work at the Norfolk house has uncovered fascinating evidence of its past as a Catholic stronghold – in part preserved by nesting rodents

13 Nov 2020
View of the extension on the back of the former Museum and Art Gallery and Central Library.

‘It is hard not to smile on first stepping inside the Box’ – at Plymouth’s new museum

It might not work from the outside, but inside Plymouth’s new civic museum curators have taken a fresh approach to Plymouth’s wide-ranging collections

11 Nov 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
Photograph taken by Floyd Faxon in c. January 1951 of the living room, with views into the dining room through the north and south archways, of 7065 Hillside Avenue.

Domesticated Duchamp – how photography framed a great modern collection

Photographs show that Walter and Louise Arensberg’s art-filled house in the Hollywood Hills was constantly in flux

(c. 1600–10; detail), Isaac Oliver. Ham House, Surrey.

A mystery in miniature – Isaac Oliver, the Virginia colonists and The Tempest

The subject of a well-known miniature by Isaac Oliver has long been a mystery, but could the painting’s motto offer a clue to its sitter’s identity?

24 Oct 2020
Eye miniature of Victoria, Princess Royal, probably commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1857.

Token gestures – the jewellery of long-distance love

From eye miniatures to lockets of hair, historical love tokens brought people together even when they were apart

22 Oct 2020