The first Christmas card, commissioned by Henry Cole and designed by John Calcott Horsley, published in 1843. Christie’s, London (estimate £5,000–£8,000)

The merry mania of Christmas cards

The first commercially produced Christmas card was published in 1843 – and you can have one for £5,000 or more (stamps not included)

4 Dec 2020
Lyra Belacqua in the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford.

Dark material – the Pitt Rivers Museum in fiction

A cameo in the BBC’s His Dark Materials adaptation leads Rakewell to reflect on other fictional appearances of the museum over the years

27 Nov 2020

Build your own Colosseum!

A 9,000-piece Lego model of the Colosseum has Rakewell pondering other models of the great amphitheatre – made out of cork, clay and cheese

20 Nov 2020

Monumental mutts and presidential pets

It has been a good week for outsize dogs in Turkmenistan and a huge week for good dogs in Delaware

15 Nov 2020

Tall tails – the miracle of Rotterdam

Rakewell reports on a remarkable fluke outside the Dutch city

6 Nov 2020

Pup idols – pet memorials through history

News that pet owners have more faith in doggy heaven than ever before leads Rakewell on a trip down memorial lane

30 Oct 2020
Classic Mr. Potato Heads displayed at a 50th birthday party for the popular childrens toy at Hasbros showroom in New York City on 5 February, 2002.

Potato appeal – the humble spuds that have become works of art

From post Impressionist painting to 20th-century toys, the humble potato has caught the imagination of many an artist – and infant cubist

23 Oct 2020
Still from ‘Love Life’.

Gallery girls on the small screen – a brief history

Why is it that single women living in Manhattan nearly always find themselves working in an art gallery – on TV, at least?

16 Oct 2020

Melodic moments at the National Gallery

The gallery is paying homage to the famous wartime concerts organised by Myra Hess with a series of performances – with no audiences, alas

9 Oct 2020

From pelle melle to the London Marathon – sports days in St James’s Park

As runners in the London Marathon prepare to make 19 loops of St James’s Park, Rakewell delves into the sporting provenance of the park

2 Oct 2020
Beagle House Interactive Dog House, MVRDV.

A palace for your pooch

It’s the mutt-see show of the year (if you’re a dog) – an architectural playground just for you (again, if you’re a dog) at Japan House London

25 Sep 2020

Own your own Oval Office

If you’ve ever wanted to play president, now you can – if you have a few dollars spare to buy a replica of the Oval Office at Bonhams in October

18 Sep 2020

Picking up the tabby – the T.S. Eliot estate helps out the Brontë Parsonage Museum

The T.S. Eliot estate has donated £20,000 to help keep the Brontë Parsonage Museum open. Rakewell wonders what the Brontë sisters would have made of ‘Cats’

11 Sep 2020

Marina Abramovic stars in an opera about Maria Callas – but doesn’t sing

Rakewell is disappointed not to hear the performance artist’s pipes in her new project at the Bavarian State Opera

6 Sep 2020

Woe logo – the Osaka Expo goes googly-eyed

For the 2025 World Expo, the host city of Osaka has plumped for a bafflingly blobby logo

27 Aug 2020
‘Lowry Shirt’ by Blake Mill

How to dress like an L.S. Lowry painting

A Manchester-based menswear designer has launched a shirt inspired by Lowry – and decorated with his ‘matchstick’ figures

21 Aug 2020

Swallows and Amazons for ever!

Rakewell is lured back to childhood by the promise of Swallows and Amazons memorabilia and mischief at Windermere Jetty Museum

14 Aug 2020

Art the drive-in – the museum turned motorcade in Rotterdam

The Boijmans Museum in Rotterdam has launched a drive-thru exhibition – and it’s not the only culture you can see by car this summer, says Rakewell

7 Aug 2020
Pablo Picasso at his home and studio in Mougins, south of France, on October 13, 1971. Photo: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images

Dressing for a pandemic, Picasso-style

The future of fashion may not be the most pressing concern but it’s hard not to fear the worst

31 Jul 2020

Goya for gastronomes – and Donald Trump

The Trumps have a soft spot for Goya Foods, it seems – which sets Rakewell wondering whether the brand could make more of its painterly associations

24 Jul 2020
A crop circle in a cornfield near Raisting in southern Germany, in July 2014. Photo by Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Field work – is it time Mike Leigh made a film about crop circles?

Film fans can only hope that the director will turn his interest in these mysterious patterns to practical effect

17 Jul 2020

Pray silence for… the return of roller coasters

Rakewell celebrates the return of roller coasters – with no screaming allowed – by looking back at some of the earliest white knuckle rides

10 Jul 2020
Illustration from c. 1628.

Pinting by numbers – a paean to the pub

While Apollo’s roving correspondent is more than ready to go to the pub, he can’t help wondering if it will all end in Hogarthian tears

3 Jul 2020

Obstructing views of Tower Bridge

A development that would have impinged on Tower Bridge has landed Robert Jenrick in hot water – so Rakewell digs up some classic views of the landmark

26 Jun 2020