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Tied up at the Design Museum with Jon Snow

9 November 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.

The broadcaster and journalist Jon Snow is a high-profile supporter of museums and the arts, having served as a trustee of both the Tate and the National Gallery, as well as holding an honorary fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects. But culturally engaged though he is, it may come as a surprise to hear that a major London museum has devoted an entire display to the Channel 4 News anchor – or rather, to his neck.

Indeed, a new show at the Design Museum features many of the snazzy, brightly coloured ties that have become Snow’s trademark – most of them dreamt up by textile designer Victoria Richards and woven to order by Vanners, one of the last tie-makers in Britain.

In a blog for the Channel 4 website, Snow reveals that Design Museum founder Terence Conran may have had a hand in bringing the project to fruition. ‘He was monitoring my ties nightly’, Snow writes, ‘and even, as he was later to reveal, marvelling in them and their place in the transmission of news.’

Not everyone is quite so keen to indulge Snow’s self-avowed ‘obsession’ with ties. Some years ago, at a charity event in London, Rakewell chanced upon Snow chatting to the architect and landscape artist Charles Jencks. Your correspondent complimented the former on his chosen neckwear that day – if memory serves, a vibrant green and orange number – and asked what drove him to sport such loud colours. Snow opened his mouth to answer, but before he could get a word in, Jencks interjected: ‘Oh God. Please don’t get him started…’

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