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May 2015

Vol. 157 | No. 1346

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Editorial

An Egyptian spring?

Behind the dusty pink façade of the Egyptian Museum on Tahrir Square, Cairo, is crammed an astonishing range of Pharaonic artefacts. Visitors are greeted by the Narmer Palette, the great ­talismanic founding document of ancient Egypt, then led through a sprawling display including some of the best-known Old ­Kingdom sculptures, through to the treasures of Tutankhamun, Graeco-Roman period objects including funerary portraits, and the ever-popular display of royal mummies and their outsize ­sarcophagi. For over a century the Museum has been a Mecca for Egyptologists. Yet since its opening in 1903 the display has hardly been updated, only augmented with new discoveries, the building itself left to fall into disrepair as the various halls become ever-more crammed with objects, many simply being converted into storerooms. This is hardly a new situation: as far back as 1926 Julius Meier-Graefe was writing in this Magazine that the Museum in Cairo ‘is the worst kept in the world, and can only be regarded as a mere storeroom for works of art’.

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Reynolds’s portraits

By Duncan Robinson

‘He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the ­elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages. In portrait he went beyond them [. . .]. He possessed the theory as perfectly as the practice of his art. To be such a painter, he was a profound and penetrating philosopher’. These are among the words which Edmund Burke wrote, within hours of Reynolds’s death on 23rd February 1792, in what must have been one of the most spontaneous of all obituaries. Mark ­Hallett’s book,1 which results from more than ten years of careful consideration, exonerates Burke more than two hundred years later from any charge of hasty hyperbole or exaggeration. ­Portraiture in Action is a superbly crafted study of the man who set out to become ‘no ordinary painter’.

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    By Edward Town
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  • Power and plate: Sir Robert Walpole’s silver

    By Tessa Murdoch
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  • Queen Caroline’s Richmond Lodge by William Kent: an architectural model unlocked

    By Julius Bryant
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  • Thomas Gainsborough and the landscape frescos at Schomberg House

    By Mark Bills
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  • Regrets: Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Jasper Johns

    By Margarita Cappock
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  • Reynolds’s portraits

    By Duncan Robinson
  • Peter Ward-Jackson (1915-2014)

    By Simon Jervis
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  • The Infinite Image. Art, Time and the Aesthetic Dimension in Antiquity, Z. Bahrani

    By Dominique Collon
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  • Robert Dudley Earl of Leicester and the World of Elizabethan Art, E. Goldring

    By Tarnya Cooper
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  • British Portrait Miniatures. The Cleveland Museum of Art, C. Korkow with the assistance of J.L. Seydl

    By Stephen Lloyd
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  • George Frederick Bodley and the Later Gothic Revival in Britain and America, M. Hall

    By Andrew Saint
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    By Stephen Wildman
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    By Marc Simpson
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  • Beyond the Battlefield: Women Artists of the Two World Wars, C. Speck

    By Angela Weight
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  • British Art in the Nuclear Age, C. Jolivette, ed.

    By Lee Hallman
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  • Lynn Chadwick, M. Bird

    By Judith Collins
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  • Joan Miró. Drawings: Catalogue Raisonné. Volume IV: 1973–1976, J. Dupin and A. Lelong-Mainaud

    By William Cole
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  • Sargent

    By Kathleen Adler
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  • Pacific barkcloth clothing

    By Richard Wolfe
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  • Mackintosh architecture

    By Owen Hopkins
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  • Spring painting shows

    By Celia White
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  • Charles de La Fosse; Bon Boullogne

    By Jamie Mulherron
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  • Perugino

    By Sylvia Ferino-Pagden
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  • Albrecht Altdorfer and art c.1500

    By Mark Evans
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  • Miró

    By Lesley Thornton-Cronin
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  • Bramante at Milan

    By Jessica Gritti
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  • Honthorst

    By John Gash
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  • Piero di Cosimo

    By Nathaniel Silver
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  • Elaine de Kooning

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