Honor Clerk


Rory McEwen: man of many talents — and among the greatest of all flower painters

25 July 2015 9:00 am

It seems odd that a singer, musician, television performer and sculptor who typified the 1960s as vividly as Rory McEwen…

A John Craske painting from the Sylvia Townsend Warner Collection

The self-taught maritime artist who transcends ‘naïve’ cliché

4 April 2015 9:00 am

In the manner of Richard Holmes’s Footsteps, Julia Blackburn’s story of John Craske is as much autobiography as biography, as…

Filippino Lippi’s fresco of St Peter being freed from prison by an angel

Unlocking Florence’s answer to the Sistine chapel

10 January 2015 9:00 am

In 1439 Abraham of Souzdal, a Russian bishop visiting Florence, was in the audience in Santa Maria del Carmine for…

Triumph of Apollo and Sign of Gemini, ca 1470, by Francesco del Cossa Photo: Getty

Ali Smith's How to be Both: warm, funny, subtle, intelligent – and baffling

30 August 2014 9:00 am

Pity the poor art historian writing a survey of painters from Giotto to, say, Poussin. In order to produce a…

Detail of St Christopher, 15th century, Church of St Botolph, Slapton, Northants

Wonders written on the wall

19 April 2014 9:00 am

‘Take away, utterly extinct and destroy all shrines … pictures, paintings and all other monuments of feigned miracles, pilgrimages, idolatry…

'Marcia painting her self-portrait’; detail from Boccaccio’s On Famous Women (1402)

The selfie from Akhenaten to Tracey Emin

22 March 2014 9:00 am

If ever there was a time to write a book about self-portraits, this must be it.  ‘Past interest in the…

Top row, left to right: Bannockburn 1314, Montrose defeated at Philiphaugh near Selkirk 1645, the Jacobite Rising of 1745, 
Bottom row: The Royal and Ancient Golf Club founded in St Andrews 1754, Scots in India, Robert Burns’s ‘Tam O’Shanter’, 1791

Weaving Scotland's history

14 December 2013 9:00 am

A couple of years ago, while tracking down paintings for the Public Catalogue Foundation in the far north of Scotland,…

The Florentine banking aristocracy worship the Christ-child in Botticelli’s ‘Adoration of the Magi’. 
On either side the scene is stacked with Medici sons, grandsons and associates

How to avoid bankers in your nativity scene

19 October 2013 9:00 am

With an eye to the blasphemy underlying some of the loveliest Renaissance painting, Honor Clerk will be choosing her Christmas cards more carefully this year

A dried specimen of the red alga Claudea elegans from the collec­tions of the Natural History Museum in London

Seaweeds, by Ole G. Mouritsen - review

13 July 2013 9:00 am

On 14 April each year, nori fishermen gather on a hillside overlooking Ariake Bay on Kyushu in southern Japan to…


The picture of health

14 April 2012 10:15 am

It must have been hard to settle on a title for this book; but then this is not the book…


Ransacking the world

21 May 2011 12:00 am

Something in the air is arousing an interest in collectors and collections — both private and public — of which the success of The Hare with Amber Eyes and The Children’s Book are perhaps the most visible recent examples.

Walking wounded

19 February 2011 12:00 am

Paul Torday’s phenomenal success with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was always going to be a hard act to follow.

The devil’s in the detail

10 June 2009 12:00 am

The Angel’s Game, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Morality tale with a difference

1 October 2008 12:00 am

A Most Wanted Man, by John le Carré

The circle of a lonely psychiatrist

28 May 2008 12:00 am

Honor Clerk on Siri Hustvedt’s latest novel

A new way of seeing

18 March 2008 12:00 am

Honor Clerk reviews Sara Maitland's latest book


The school of hard knocks

1 August 2007 2:22 pm

Honor Clerk: Life Class, by Pat Baker

An ever-present absence

1 March 2007 9:24 am

It is a curious phenomenon of the modern novel that so many writers entrust their narrative voice to a character…

A martyr without a cause

18 January 2007 7:58 am

‘Yes, you may well sigh and beat your head on the table,’ the narrator-protagonist of Love Songs and Lies addresses…

A picture that tells a story

8 February 2003 12:00 am

Can it be said that anyone is sane, that anyone is healthy – or does all life consist of degrees…