Laura Freeman

‘Little Girl in a Blue Armchair’, 1878, by Mary Cassatt

No one can beat Mary Cassatt at painting mothers and children

5 May 2018 9:00 am

A lady licking an envelope. An intimate thing. It might be only the bill from the coal-man she’s paying, but…

My life in Paris as a Diplomatic Wag

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The French President says he wants to rule as a Jupiter — but he doesn’t look like a Jupiter to…

French Phidias: Auguste Rodin in his workshop in Meudon, c.1910

How Rodin made a Parthenon above Paris

28 April 2018 9:00 am

‘My Acropolis,’ Auguste Rodin called his house at Meudon. Here, the sculptor made a Parthenon above Paris. Surrounded by statues…

The Spanish court’s fondness for dwarfs and dogs is captured by Velázquez

Spend, spend, spend at the court of Philip IV of Spain

7 April 2018 9:00 am

‘Nine hours,’ boasted my friend the curator about his trip to the Prado. Nine! Two hours is my upper limit…

‘Waterloo Bridge, Overcast Weather’ (1899-1903)

Monet painted London not brick-by-brick, but light-by-shade

31 March 2018 9:00 am

The Savoy was too sumptuous, complained Claude Monet, returning to the hotel in 1904. His rooms — one for sleeping,…

Shouldering a hoe, Christ appears to Mary Magdalene in Fra Angelico’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (c.1438–50)

The loveliest episode of Holy Week – Christ rises from the potting shed

31 March 2018 9:00 am

In Nicolas Poussin’s ‘Noli Me Tangere’ (1653) Christ stands with his heel on a spade. He appears, in his rough…

Lifelong friends: P.T. Barnum and General Tom Thumb

Showman, con man, family man: P.T. Barnum’s many faces

16 December 2017 9:00 am

‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’ That was the P.T. Barnum battle cry. It has come to have a ring…

Susie Boyt neatly skewers the self-help trends

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Grief is not being able to eat a small boiled egg. ‘Could you face an egg?’ the widowed Jean asks…

‘Les Modes se suivent et ne se ressemblent pas’, 1926, cover design for Harper’s Bazaar

The time is right for an Erté revival – a new hero for our gender-anxious times

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Erté was destined for the imperial navy. Failing that, the army. His father and uncle had been navy men. There…

Irish chic: the Duchess of Cornwall with Dubarrys

Why does the Duchess of Cambridge wear French wellies when British is best?

11 November 2017 9:00 am

‘Foot – foot – foot – foot – sloggin’ over Africa — / (Boots – boots – boots – boots…

London calling

28 October 2017 9:00 am

Madame Monet was bored. Wouldn’t you have been? Exiled to London in the bad, cold winter of 1870–71. In rented…

‘Pastry Cook of Cagnes’, 1922, by Chaïm Soutine

Cabbages and kings

14 October 2017 9:00 am

The first pastry cook Chaïm Soutine painted came out like a collapsed soufflé. The sitter for ‘The Pastry Cook’ (c.1919)…

I spy

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Where was Degas standing as he sketched his ‘Laundresses’ (c.1882–4)? Did he watch the two women from behind sheets hanging…

Let’s redo lunch

2 September 2017 9:00 am

As a young sub-editor on the Times in 1926, Graham Greene, future author of The Quiet American and Brighton Rock,…

It’s got to be perfect

22 July 2017 9:00 am

When I order a cup of tea in Costa, the barista says: ‘Perfect!’ I ask for tap water in a…

Something nasty in the woodshed

8 July 2017 9:00 am

I’ve diagnosed myself with early onset cottage-itis. It’s not supposed to happen for another decade, but at 29 I dream…

Who next for a blast? Wyndham Lewis in 1917, photographed by George Charles Beresford

There will be blood

1 July 2017 9:00 am

Wyndham Lewis was a painter, poet, publisher and picker of fights. No target was too grand or too trivial: sentimental…

Let there be dark

10 June 2017 9:00 am

Who’s afraid of the dark? Who now fears shadows and bumps in the night? Where do you even find any…

Do the bump: ‘The Visitation’, 1528–30, by Jacopo da Pontormo

Woman to woman

3 June 2017 9:00 am

Bump to bump they stand: Mary and her cousin Elizabeth, both pregnant, both apple-cheeked and glowing as expectant mothers should…

Making waves

27 May 2017 9:00 am

Hokusai wanted to paint everything, says Laura Freeman, and at 70 he was only just beginning

‘Choshi in Soshu province’, woodblock print from A Thousand Pictures of the Sea, c.1833, by Hokusai

Making waves

25 May 2017 1:00 pm

The end, whenever it came, was always going to be too soon for Katsushika Hokusai. There was still so much…

A choice of first novels

22 April 2017 9:00 am

If you go down to the woods today… That is the starting point for Idaho by Emily Ruskovich, who grew…

Proud to be a prude

22 April 2017 9:00 am

What advice would you give to this modern moral question posed by my friend’s younger sister? A boy at school…

A Neapolitan quartet, Naples 1955

From page to stage

4 March 2017 9:00 am

Reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet is a heady experience. You not only see, hear, know her characters — you can…

A Neapolitan quartet, Naples 1955

From page to stage

2 March 2017 3:00 pm

Reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet is a heady experience. You not only see, hear, know her characters — you can…