From top left: Lucian Freud, Rudolf Bing, Stefan Zweig, Walter Gropius, Rudolf Laban, Max Born, Kurt Schwitters, Friedrich Hayek, Fritz Busch, Frank Auerbach, Emeric Pressburger, Oskar Kokoschka

German refugees transformed British cultural life - but at a price

German-speaking refugees dragged British culture into the 20th century. But that didn’t go down well in Stepney or Stevenage, says William Cook

Rybolovlev with the Picassos

Hurrah! Demi Moore is Pugs club’s new Mistress of Chamber

If cheating is the cancer of sport, losing has to be its halitosis. I stunk out the joint in Amsterdam…

John Peel in the studio (photo: Getty)

Why we should embrace being average

Maybe what we love about radio is the way that most of its programming allows us the luxury of staying…

With rain threatening, Jane Bennet departs for Netherfield — with her mother’s approval. Illustration by Hugh Thomson for Pride and Prejudice (1894)

Rain, shine and the human imagination — from Adam and Eve to David Hockney

‘Pray don’t talk to me about the weather, Mr Worthing,’ pleads Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest. ‘Whenever people…

Sympathy for the devils: Reggie and Ronnie Kray in northeast London, 1964

I was Reggie Kray's penpal

Harry Mount once idolised the Kray twins. He’s since seen the error of his ways

Francis Bacon in Paris in 1984

Bacon on the side: the great painter’s drinking partner tells all

When Michael Peppiatt met Francis Bacon in 1963 to interview him for a student magazine, the artist was already well-established,…

Ravilious in Essex: ‘Two Women in the Garden’, watercolour, 1932

The only art is Essex

When I went to visit Edward Bawden he vigorously denied that there were any modern painters in Essex. That may…


A remote island community is disrupted by the arrival of a troubled teenager

Benjamin Wood’s first novel, The Bellwether Revivals, was published in 2012, picked up good reviews, was shortlisted for the Costa…

A young family plan their time in Margate, 1955

Margate's return to Dreamland

How Margate got its groove back

A Frank Gehry building at Paddy McKillen’s architectural theme park in Provence

Bored of collecting art? Try architecture

The finest art has become so pricy that smart multi-millionaires are moving on to architecture

Catherine Lampert, 1986

Frank Auerbach: frightened of heights, dogs, driving, swimming — but finding courage through painting

With a career of more than 60 years so far, Frank Auerbach is undoubtedly one of the big beasts of…


My part in a masterpiece of political correctness

Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, James Delingpole: all winners of major art prizes. I was awarded mine last week by Anglia…

Forces of nature: Maggi Hambling with ‘Amy Winehouse’, a painting exhibited at her Walls of Water show last year
Møns Klint as painted by Claudia Massie

‘Was the baby naughty?’: Gory frescoes, spectacular cliffs and herring with a toddler in Denmark

The sky over the island of Møn, which is at the bottom right of Denmark, was cobalt and the whitewashed…

Matisse trumps Picasso Photo: Getty

Andrew Marr’s diary: Why this is such a tooth-grindingly awful election

So far, what an infuriating election campaign. We have the most extraordinary array of digital, paper and broadcasting media at…

Let there be light: Saint Peter’s at dawn

Rise early to see the Vatican at its best

The sun has only just risen in Rome and we are standing bleary-eyed in a short queue outside the Vatican.…

Manet would recognise it: the Jardin des Tuileries

Seeing Paris through Impressionist eyes

The spectre of the Charlie Hebdo killings still hangs over Paris. Outside the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, opposite the…

‘Ash tree in Winter, 2010–13

Patrick George: painting some of his best work at 91

‘If I see something I like I wish to tell someone else; this… is why I paint.’ Patrick George is…

Dallas’s art deco Fair Park

Dallas, city of culture

Dallas has reinvented itself as a major arts destination, says Hugh Graham

Jacques-Louis David, emboldened by Madame Vigée Le Brun, included a smiling display of teeth in his portrait of Madame de Sériziat (1795)

How the smile came to Paris (briefly)

In 1787 critics of the Paris Salon were scandalised by a painting exhibited by Mme Vigée Le Brun. The subject…

Martha Graham and Bertram Ross in Graham’s most famous work ‘Appalachian Spring’ (1944), with a prize-winning score by Aaron Copeland

To call this offering a book is an abuse of language

I picked up this book with real enthusiasm. Who cannot be entranced by those 20 years after the second world…

Frieze Art Fair - VIP Preview

Frieze Art Fair: where great refinement meets harrowing vulgarity

If you wanted to find a middle-aged man in a bright orange suit, matching tie and sneakers, Frieze is a…

'Supermarkets' (1976), by Sigmar Polke. Picture: The Estate of Sigmar Polke

Tate Modern’s latest show feels like it’s from another planet

‘Some day we shall no longer need pictures: we shall just be happy.’ — Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, 1966…

Poor, poor Effie: Dakota Fanning

Effie Gray can effie off

Effie Gray, which has been written by Emma Thompson and recounts the doomed marriage of Victorian art critic John Ruskin…

‘Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railway’, 1844, by J.M.W. Turner

Tate Britain’s Turner show reveals an old master - though the Spectator didn’t think so at the time

Juvenilia is the work produced during an artist’s youth. It would seem logical to think, therefore, that an artist’s output…