Seeing in the Round

Felix Nadar

I liked seeing this set of twelve self-portraits by the French photographer Felix Nadar, at the Degas exhibition at the RA. Nadar was a man of many parts – he’d been a cartoonist, a novelist and a champion of hot air balloons before he took up photography. In 1865, he […]

What Lies Beneath

Old Vic Tunnels

The tunnels underneath Waterloo station are one hundred and sixty years old. High, vaulted spaces, smelling strongly of damp and shaken periodically by the passage of trains overhead, they make a brilliant setting for the exhibition curated by Stuart Semple, in support of mental health charity Mind. The exhibition is […]

Life and Letters

Maggie Benson

Both my first novel, The Painted Bridge, and the one I’m working on now,┬áMagic for the Living, are set in the 1800s. This means, among other things, much research. I was amazed to find when I embarked on the reading for the first book that so many out-of-copyright texts are […]

Where We Were


I suppose many people today are remembering where they were when they heard about the first plane hitting the twin towers. I was in the office I shared just off Oxford Street with three other journalists. One, a New Yorker living in London, was in a state of extreme shock. […]