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The Rake’s progress: last week in gossip

20 September 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.

#Askacurator day on Twitter is normally a rather genteel affair, but last week, the online Q&A event very nearly tipped into anarchy. Perhaps foreseeing the standoff to come, a Twitter user mischievously demanded to know the likely outcome of a fight between staff at London’s neighbouring Natural History and Science Museums…

The natural historians landed the first blow, but the scientists soon hit back…

And so the slanging match continued, provoking dozens of responses and even some rival claims from other institutions…


In other news, boredpanda.com (a website that bills itself as ‘the only magazine for pandas’) has compiled a list of cases in which art gallery visitors have encountered their doppelgangers hanging on the walls. Uncanny resemblances or just wishful thinking? Judge for yourself


Your correspondent raises a glass to the National Archives in Kew, where a selection of mugshots of Edwardian drunkards is to go on show on 27 October. The images come from a volume compiled by the police after the passing of a 1902 law that allowed for the circulation of images of habitual boozers, so as to forewarn pub and club owners. The Rake wonders what refreshments will be on offer…


Perhaps surprisingly, 217 of the 339 drunkards pictured in the ‘Index of Habitual Drunkards’ are women. No such gender balance in a new promotional drive for Nikon, however. As reported by Hyperallergic, the camera manufacturer enlisted 32 professional photographers to try out its new model – all of whom were men. Asked to explain, Nikon issued a statement claiming that all of the female photographers it had invited to participate were ‘unable to attend’.


In an interview with The Times, Antony Peattie, partner of the late Howard Hodgkin, revealed that the great painter had developed an unlikely passion in his final years – the US cable TV series Suits. Best known in this country for starring a pre-Prince Harry Meghan Markle, the procedural drama had Hodgkin and Peattie glued to the box. ‘We would watch two or three or four episodes’, Peattie says. ‘And, of course, we knew about Meghan Markle first’.

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