Circus Matinee (1938), Laura Knight.

It’s time Laura Knight was rescued from the ranks of the middlebrow

The British artist rejected modernism, but in life as in art she was hardly conservative

4 Aug 2021
W. W. Fowler, The Coleoptera of the British Islands, Vol. 5, 1891. China Blue is visible on the bottom left.

This colour chart of nature is completely mad – and utterly beguiling

An Enlightenment project to classify all the colours in the natural world is an extraordinary feat of ingenuity

3 Aug 2021
Statue of the nymph Amalthea and the goat that fed Jupiter, commissioned from Pierre Julien in 1787, inside the Queen’s Dairy at Rambouillet.

Grotto fabulous – Marie Antoinette’s decorative dairy was no rustic retreat

The dairy at Rambouillet was a masterpiece of neoclassical design

31 Jul 2021
Circular Colonnaded Atrium (c. 1730), attributed to Giuseppe Galli Bibiena. Promised gift of Jules Fisher to the Morgan Library & Museum, New York

The Italian dynasty that kept all of Europe thoroughly entertained

For more than a century, the Bibiena family created spectacular sets that delighted and deceived audiences

29 Jul 2021
Woman working in an office in the United States, c. 1921.

Keys to success: how typewriters transformed the world of work

Typewriters may be museum pieces now, but they created office jobs for women and by doing so changed the 20th century

28 Jul 2021
Niki de Saint-Phalle taking aim at her Feu à Volonté at Galerie J in Paris, in 1961.

At the Fondazione Prada, painting refuses to play dead

Peter Fischli has curated a show about the demise of painting – but his take is that it’s still very much alive

27 Jul 2021
The Hon. Mrs Mary Graham (detail; 1775–77), Thomas Gainsborough.

Capital gains: how Gainsborough took London by storm

When the painter finally moved to the capital, he was quick to make the most of the opportunities on offer

22 Jul 2021
‘See London By Bus’ (1963) for London Transport and ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ (1963) for the Central Office of Information.

The man who designed modern Britain

Tom Eckersley’s posters are rightfully regarded as masterpieces – partly because he worked with clients who were also first-rate

16 Jul 2021
An Autumn Landscape with a View of Het Steen in the Early Morning

The late, great landscapes of Rubens, reunited at last

A pair of monumental landscapes painted in his later years offer an unusually personal glimpse of the artist himself

16 Jul 2021
Photograph of Eileen Agar wearing her Ceremonial Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse

For Eileen Agar, the natural world was a playground of artistic possibilities

The British artist looked to nature to provide material for her surreal creations

13 Jul 2021
Still from ‘Traité de bave et d’éternité’ (On Venom and Eternity; 1951), featuring Isidore Isou.

The second coming of Isidore Isou

The founder of Lettrism wasn’t the only avant-garde artist with a god complex, but he may have been the most messianic

12 Jul 2021
Qajar #19 (1998), Shadi Ghadirian.

Cultural evolution – ‘Epic Iran’ at the Victoria and Albert Museum, reviewed

A whirlwind journey through 5,000 years of Iranian civilisation charts change and continuity in a culture that has absorbed all manner of influences

8 Jul 2021
Detail of plaque (c. 16th–17th century), Benin City.

Returns policy – The Brutish Museums by Dan Hicks, reviewed

Is it enough for Western museums to say how they came by their colonial-era artefacts – or should they just give them back?

6 Jul 2021
Lapin à Vent de Tourtour (1968–94), François-Xavier Lalanne

At Versailles, Marie Antoinette’s private retreat plays host to a madcap menagerie

François-Xavier and Claude Lalanne’s fantastical creations are making mischief at the Trianon estate this summer

2 Jul 2021
Ben Nicholson photographed by Humphrey Spender (c. 1935).

Mugs, jugs and modern art – Ben Nicholson at Pallant House, reviewed

The painter had a keen eye for crockery – and the best pieces from his collection got to star in his art

30 Jun 2021
The ‘barn dining room’.

How to cook like a minimalist architect

Recipes from the table of John Pawson are as pared-back as his architecture – which is all a little too perfect

24 Jun 2021
Held deer: a detail from a tapestry woven in Brussels in 1550–60. Wawel Royal Castle, Kraków.

How Kraków’s royal tapestries returned to their rightful home

These great tapestries have a turbulent history that has seen them held by Russia and in Canada – but now they’re back in the rooms where they first hung

21 Jun 2021
Clive Bell (detail; c. 1924), Roger Fry. National Portrait Gallery, London

Bloomsbury’s gooseberry? ‘Clive Bell and the Making of Modernism’, reviewed

Clive Bell is now best known as Vanessa’s husband – but a new biography replenishes his role in promoting modernism in Britain

16 Jun 2021
Peacock weather vane (c. 1860–75), unidentified artist. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

What do US museums mean when they talk about folk art?

Collectors, curators and artists have been debating the category of American folk art since the early 20th century – as a display at the MFA Boston makes clear

15 Jun 2021
Picasso working on Guernica in his Grands-Augustins studio, Paris (detail; 1937), Dora Maar. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid.

Picasso’s Guernica, as you’ve never seen it before

The ‘Rethinking Guernica’ website allows us to scrutinise Picasso’s anti-war masterpiece in greater detail than ever

11 Jun 2021
The Specials photographed in 1980.

2 Tone was never just about the music – as this show in Coventry makes clear

2 Tone began as a ska-inspired record label, but swiftly became a look and a political stance – and a defining moment in British cultural history

9 Jun 2021

The clay’s the thing – Ceramic: Art and Civilisation, reviewed

Paul Greenhalgh’s ambitious survey takes us from the ancient Greeks to Picasso and beyond

9 Jun 2021
Still from CREATION dance by Deborah Kelly; installation view at The National 2021: New Australian Art’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia.

Australian art that doesn’t beat about the bush – The National 2021, reviewed

A survey of new Australian art presents a planet in crisis – but it’s more uplifting than it sounds

4 Jun 2021
Late Afternoon (2020), Etel Adnan.

For Etel Adnan, a show in Turkey is a symbolic homecoming

A retrospective at the Pera Museum in Istanbul demonstrates the vast geographic sweep of the Lebanese-American artist’s work and biography – including her Ottoman roots

3 Jun 2021