Episodes
In this episode Ben uncovers the curious history behind a defining work of 20th-century Surrealism, Salvador Dali’s Lobster Telephone, part of the collection of National Galleries Scotland. Ben hears from curator Patrick Elliott, who reveals more about the genesis of the work and the man who commissioned it, Edward James; academic Dr Sarah Jackson, whose ‘Crossed Lines’ project examines the representation of the phone in modern literature; and finally, Jamie Ruers of the Freud Museum in...
Published 02/18/21
Published 02/18/21
In this episode Ben uncovers the story behind Tam Joseph’s powerful and provocative painting, Spirit of the Carnival, which offers a commentary on the ever-increasing police presence at London’s annual Notting Hill Carnival during the 70s and 80s. Ben hears from guests including Carol Thompson, curator at Wolverhampton Art Gallery; musician and chairman of the Association of Calypsonians UK, Vincent John; filmmaker and journalist Wyn Baptiste, whose father was the director of the carnival in...
Published 02/11/21
In this episode Ben discovers more about one of the most recognisable puppets ever to grace the screen: Aloysius Parker from Thunderbirds. Crafted by master puppeteer John Blundall, this version of Parker was never used in the show itself but was made in 2002 from his original design, and is part of the collection at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. Ben hears from guests including Jo-Ann Curtis, curator of history at the museum; filmmaker and writer Stephen La Rivière; broadcaster and...
Published 02/04/21
In this episode, Ben explores the story of one of the most significant discoveries of rare Viking-age objects ever found in Britain. The Galloway Hoard lay undisturbed for a thousand years before being unearthed by a metal detectorist in 2014. Ben learns more about this exceptional find from experts Martin Goldberg and Clare Downham, hears about the unique landscape in which the hoard was discovered from broadcaster and Galloway native Kirsty Wark, and gets an insight into the skilled...
Published 01/28/21
In this episode Ben Miller uncovers an incredible collection of more than 170 watercolour illustrations of exotic birds, kept at the Natural History Museum in London. Painted by the nature artist Sarah Stone in the late 18th century, these rich studies gave the public a first look at many unknown bird species from around the world. Ben hears more about the album’s origins from curator Paul Martyn Cooper, while bird expert David Lindo and nature writer Stephen Moss discuss the symbolic...
Published 01/21/21
In this episode Ben explores the history of one of the grandest objects of furniture in the land, the Great Bed of Ware, part of the collection at the V&A in London. Made in the 16th century, it has been host to thousands of somnolent occupants over the years. Ben hears more about its fascinating story from curator Nick Humphrey and writer Jonathan Ruffle, while sleep experts Sasha Handley and Colin Espie share some interesting nuggets on the science of sleep and the curious nature of our...
Published 01/14/21
Ben Miller explores the fascinating history behind the miniature painting ‘The Spanish Armada off the Coast of England’, part of the collection at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Painted by an unknown artist, this vivid depiction of the defeat of the Spaniards by the British navy in 1588 is an extremely rare example of such a picture from the decades immediately following the event. Ben gets the lowdown from curators Anne Stewart and Winifred Glover, hears what a critical moment this was for...
Published 12/24/20
Join Ben Miller as he explores the colourful history of the Wynnstay Organ, part of the collection at National Museum Wales in Cardiff. Made in the 18th century and designed by Robert Adam, the organ was commissioned by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, ‘the Welsh Maecenas’. Amongst others, Ben gets to hear from broadcaster Reverend Richard Coles, Welsh language musician Gwyneth Glyn, and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, whose 2018 performance piece ‘The Sky in a Room’ featured the organ...
Published 12/17/20
In episode two Ben Miller uncovers the story behind a unique collage from the Islington Museum in London. 'World of Cats' by Kenneth Halliwell was made in the mid-Sixties while Halliwell was living with his partner, the renowned playwright Joe Orton. Arrange up on a folding screen, it’s a great example of the many subversive collages the pair created around this time, but its playful humour cannot but be seen in the context of the horrific end to their relationship. You can see the World of...
Published 12/10/20
In the first episode presenter Ben Miller learns more about the mysterious rediscovery of a ‘lost’ portrait of Charles Dickens. Painted by Margret Gillies, the portrait has at last found a home in the Charles Dickens Museum in London, but its journey wouldn’t be out of place in one of its subject’s novels. Lucinda Hawksley, Dickens’ great-great-great-granddaughter, sheds more light on her famous relation, plus Ben also gets to hear from writer Monica Ali and Big Issue founder John Bird, who...
Published 12/10/20
Coming soon! A new podcast from Art Fund in which Eddie Izzard takes a closer look at some of the most fascinating stuff inside our museums. From bits of buried treasure to iconic portraits to outlandish furniture, what do these things say about us? Each episode, Eddie hears from a range of people who share their expertise and passion, revealing the incredible stories behind the objects we collect, curate and cherish.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Published 11/10/20