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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

10 July 2018

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

As tension rises over England’s progress in the World Cup, the Three Lions have received some encouragement from the annals of art history:


Good news then. Or is it? In the 13th century, the English monarchy paid an annual fee to the powerful Republic of Genoa so that its ships could fly the cross of Saint George – the Genoese flag – in order to ward off pirates. When Genoa fell in the 18th century, the payments stopped, but the English continued to fly the red and white flag.

Now, however, some Genoese are demanding their city be reimbursed for the privilege. ‘We believe the English paid up until 1746, when the Austrians attacked Genoa and the republic faded,’ Marco Bucci, the city’s mayor, announced last week. ‘That means we are owed over 250 years of back payments […] We are scouring the city archives to find the bills’. Fortunately for English football fans, Bucci then admitted his proposal was only ‘half serious.’


The Museum of London has voiced its intention to acquire the Marks & Spencer waistcoat sported by England manager Gareth Southgate. As the museum’s senior curator of fashion and decorative arts, Beatrice Behlen, told PA Sport: ‘This acquisition would be a fantastic addition to our holdings and would come at an exciting time for us while we build the London Collection as we plan the New Museum in West Smithfield’.


Following Beyonce and Jay-Z’s dash round the Louvre in their ‘Apeshit’ video, the museum has started offering a 90-minute guided tour based on their itinerary. As if that weren’t enough, Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister, is dipping a toe into democratic design. The singer and sometime performance artist’s Saint Heron venture has just announced a collaboration with IKEA that will ‘[explore] architectural and design objects with multifunctional use’.


Just a couple of weeks ago, National Portrait Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan was filmed teaching then-culture secretary Matt Hancock how to do the Moonwalk. Just as Hancock has subsequently gone up in the world – to the department of health – so has Cullinan. Last weekend, he revealed that he has been keeping rather grander company…

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.