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How did we decide what Christ looked like?

Frank Kermode: How Jesus Got His Face, 27 April 2000

The Image of Christ 
edited by Gabriele Finaldi.
National Gallery, 224 pp., £14.95, February 2000, 1 85709 292 9
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... in the form of a film show, CD-Roms and audiotapes. A BBC book accompanies the series, and Neil MacGregor, the indefatigable director of the Gallery, not only does the TV presentations but is making a hectic lecture tour (Glasgow, Liverpool, Cardiff, Belfast: admission free). We are talking about as professionally orchestrated an art offensive as ...

‘Equality exists in Valhalla’

Richard J. Evans: German Histories, 4 December 2014

Germany: Memories of a Nation 
by Neil MacGregor.
Allen Lane, 598 pp., £30, November 2014, 978 0 241 00833 1
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Germany: Memories of a Nation 
British Museum, until 25 January 2015Show More
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... at the bottom, giving it a frayed and bedraggled appearance. As the British Museum’s director, Neil MacGregor, says in the book published to accompany the exhibition and a parallel series of broadcasts on Radio 4, German history in this vision is so tattered and damaged that it has to be subjected to repeated reworkings. If the eagle represents the ...

At the Villa Medici

Peter Campbell: 17th-Century Religous Paintings, 30 November 2000

... pictures which can be seen at the Villa Medici in Rome until 28 January, Olivier Bonfait and Neil MacGregor challenge us to take theology as seriously as aesthetics. They also prove that it requires more than a sensitive eye and a generous imagination to understand a picture. The thesis of the exhibition and its catalogue (Edizioni de Luca, 283 ...

Martinis with the Bellinis

Mary Beard, 31 July 1997

The Roy Strong Diaries 1967-87 
Weidenfeld, 461 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 297 81841 4Show More
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... British Museum would have to invent their own way of getting there. Among the present directors, Neil Cossons (Science Museum) has never worked outside a museum, coming up via the Ironbridge Gorge and the National Maritime Museums; Alan Borg (V&A) moved from university posts in art history, to the Tower of London, the Sainsbury Centre and the Imperial War ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... new director of the British Museum, that the person ideally suited to front the Remain campaign is Neil MacGregor, much loved, with a TV and radio profile and a charismatic speaker. It won’t happen, of course, and in this morning’s Guardian the name of the Duke of Edinburgh is put forward to spearhead the campaign. It’s only in the middle of the ...


W.G. Runciman: Exit Blair, 24 May 2007

... science on one side and rock bands on the other. He did subsequently accept an invitation from Neil MacGregor to speak at the British Museum, which was the last occasion on which I observed him close to (it was the day Saddam Hussein had been captured, which may explain why he was looking so cheerful). But having heard what he thought it appropriate ...


Malcolm Bull, 23 March 1995

Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665 
by Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat.
Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 560 pp., frs 350, September 1994, 2 7118 3027 6
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Nicolas Poussin 
by Anthony Blunt.
Pallas Athene, 690 pp., £24.95, January 1995, 1 873429 64 9
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Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665 
by Richard Verdi, with an essay by Pierre Rosenberg.
Zwemmer, 336 pp., £39.50, January 1995, 0 302 00647 8
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Roma 1630: Il trionfo del pennello 
edited by Olivier Bonfait.
Electa, 260 pp., July 1994, 88 435 5047 0
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Poussin before Rome 1594-1624 
by Jacques Thuillier.
Feigen, 119 pp., £40, January 1995, 1 873232 03 9
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The Expression of the Passions 
by Jennifer Montagu.
Yale, 256 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 300 05891 8
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L’Ecole du silence 
by Marc Fumaroli.
Flammarion, 512 pp., frs 295, May 1994, 2 08 012618 0
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To Destroy Painting 
by Louis Marin, translated by Mette Hjort.
Chicago, 196 pp., £31.95, April 1995, 0 226 50535 9
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... question of Poussin’s place in French art, but the selectors, Pierre Rosenberg of the Louvre and Neil MacGregor of the National Gallery, opted to avoid controversy, and simply to include the ‘most beautiful’ works. Important paintings that didn’t make the grade were omitted, even when (as in the case of the Richelieu Bacchanals) preparatory ...
Sleaze: Politicians, Private Interests and Public Reaction 
edited by F.F. Ridley and Alan Doig.
Oxford, 222 pp., £10.99, April 1996, 0 19 922273 8
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Changing Trains: The Autobiography of Steven Norris 
Hutchinson, 273 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 09 180212 1Show More
The Quango Debate 
edited by F.F. Ridley and David Wilson.
Oxford, 188 pp., £10.99, September 1995, 9780199222384
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... The abject surrender of Neil Hamilton, the ‘envelope man’ who changed the law so that he could sue the Guardian for libel, deprived the nation of an exhilarating and informative court case. When the Guardian alleged that Hamilton, Tory MP for Tatton, had taken money from Mohammed AI Fayed, chairman of Harrods to lobby Parliament against a Department of Trade inquiry which eventually denounced Fayed as a liar, the cocky MP announced that he was at last going to get even with the liberal press ...

On Radio 4

Peter Campbell: ‘A History of the World in 100 Objects’, 18 November 2010

... pictures to reduce texts to captions. Buddha from Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century AD Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects is a sequence of 100 short essays about things in the British Museum and what can be learned from them. The essays began as notably successful radio broadcasts and have gone on to become an illustrated ...

He knew he was right

John Lloyd, 10 March 1994

Scargill: The Unauthorised Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
HarperCollins, 296 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 300 05365 7
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... which made picketing illegal, preparing the police and changing the guard at the NCB. Sir Ian MacGregor was the other reason this strike was unlike any other. The choice of MacGregor as chairman of the NCB was made by Nigel Lawson, Peter Walker’s predecessor. MacGregor was as ...


Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... opening of The First Emperor: China’s Terracotta Army. There are speeches in the Great Court – Neil MacGregor as always the best, no one that I’ve ever heard ‘turning’ a speech as well as he does and giving it a flick at the finish. There’s also what is billed in the programme as a ‘Special Guest’. This turns out to be Gordon Brown, who ...

Claiming victory

John Lloyd, 21 November 1985

The Miners’ Strike 
by Geoffrey Goodman.
Pluto, 213 pp., £4.50, September 1985, 0 7453 0073 1
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Strike: Thatcher, Scargill and the Miners 
by Peter Wilsher, Donald Macintyre and Michael Jones.
Deutsch, 284 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 233 97825 9
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... Siddall [the previous chairman of the National Coal Board], it was discreetly pointed out to MacGregor [the present chairman], had managed to achieve the same sort of result without any bothersome early warnings ... but although there was undoubtedly some dissent along these lines, it was pretty muted. ‘There was a spirit of MacGregorism abroad, and ...

The Miners’ Strike

Michael Stewart, 6 September 1984

... patently absurd, it is impossible to understand the attitude of some of those involved – such as Neil Kinnock – without appreciating that a weaker version of the argument does have a certain intuitive appeal. The case for going on subsidising uneconomic pits rests on two propositions. First, production of North Sea oil will peak next year or very soon ...


Tam Dalyell: Yesterday’s News, 18 September 1986

... greatest follies. Nor do I refer only to the Conservative Party. I voted out of conviction for Neil Kinnock and believe that he will make a considerable prime minister: but it has dawned on a number of the more perceptive members of the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy that by devising a Byzantine system of election, involving the whole rigmarole of the ...

The Sound of Thunder

Tom Nairn: The Miners’ Strike, 8 October 2009

Marching to the Fault Line: The 1984 Miners’ Strike and the Death of Industrial Britain 
by Francis Beckett and David Hencke.
Constable, 303 pp., £18.99, February 2009, 978 1 84901 025 2
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Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike and the Aftermath 
edited by Granville Williams.
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, 176 pp., £9.99, March 2009, 978 1 898240 05 1
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... eventually set up a separate union, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. The Scottish-American Ian MacGregor, appointed head of the National Coal Board, was clear that ‘the key to the whole strike was Nottinghamshire and its 31,000 miners. If we could keep this vast and prosperous coalfield going, then I was convinced, however long it took, we could ...

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