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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

2 May 2017

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

Sadiq Khan’s decision to axe public funding guarantees for the Garden Bridge was received with jubilation in some quarters. Others, however, have been rather less receptive to the scrapping of Boris Johnson’s pet project. Speaking to The Times, Garden Bridge cheerleader and Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley bemoaned the move as ‘absolutely shattering, devastating’. ‘There was so much negativity about this £60m of public money,’ she said. ‘All we heard was £60m, £60m, £60m. But […] it’ll work out at about 32p a person in the UK’. Sounds like a rather creative calculation, given that the population of the UK is just over 65 million. Numbers never were the Garden Bridge gang’s strong point, were they?


The missing fourth hoof of Marengo, the horse that supposedly carried Napoleon into battle at Waterloo, has been discovered in a plastic bag at the back of a drawer in a Somerset farmhouse. It will now travel to London’s National Army Museum, where the rest of the steed’s skeleton has recently been put on display. Given recent debate about whether the horse ever existed, Rakewell hopes the new discovery is more than a load of old pony.


Congratulations to Cornelia Parker, who has been named as the official artist of the 2017 general election. Parker, who was named Apollo’s artist of the year in 2016, is a great choice as far as the Rake is concerned. Indeed, she is capable of finding nuance in the unlikeliest of situations: ‘I always take loads of photographs and now, everything I look at seems political’, she told CNN. ‘Even my full English breakfast suddenly gets Brexit connotations’.


V&A director Tristram Hunt is also seeing Brexit in unlikely places. Whatever could the former MP for Stoke be implying with this tweet?


Reports that Tate staff have been asked to contribute to the purchase of a boat as a leaving gift for Nicholas Serota have been somewhat exaggerated. One newspaper reported that staff were ‘incensed’ over the appeal, and several social media posters suggested that the Tate was appealing for employees to fund a ‘yacht’. However, as the Art Newspaper clarifies, it seems the Tate was in fact soliciting donations towards the purchase of a ‘small dinghy’ – which blows some of the more inflated claims out of the water.

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

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