Laura Freeman

Laura Freeman

What does your wedding reading say about you?

Arts journalism, like crime, doesn’t pay. So I’ve been thinking of getting a side hustle. ‘You know about books and stuff,’ say friends who are getting married. ‘What should we have for our readings?’ If I can advise friends, why not strangers? By the laws of wedding economics — pick a number and add some

The China model: why is the West imitating Beijing?

26 min listen

In this week’s podcast, we talk to the author of our cover story, eminent author, historian and broadcaster Niall Ferguson, who advances the theory that the West and China are in the throes of a new cold war which the Unites States is on course to lose, should the Biden administration continue to following Beijing’s

Why should art have ever been considered a male preserve?

‘I’m a lady,’ insists the improbable damozel in David Walliams’s Little Britain sketch. I’m a lady, I kept thinking, reading these two books. More: I’m a lady art historian. Oughtn’t I to like books by other lady art historians about lady artists and ladies in art. Why don’t I? Why so out of sync with

Carlo Rovelli, David Abulafia and Laura Freeman

26 min listen

On this episode, writer and physicist Carlo Rovelli, ponder time and space in a world were the meaning of both has shifted. (01:00) Then, David Abulafia talks about the need for conservatives at universities. (07:29) Finally, Laura Freeman gets us ready for easter with the stories and the art depicting St Veronica. (15:27)

The first-century saint who went viral

Earlier this year, Saint Veronica went viral. A tweet observing that every painting of the saint made her look like a merchandise seller at the Crucifixion was liked more than 35,000 times and retweeted more than 6,700 times. Not bad for a first-century saint. I disagree slightly. Veronica doesn’t strike me so much as a

The tech supremacy: Silicon Valley can no longer conceal its power

36 min listen

Joe Biden won the US election, but is Big Tech really in power? (00:45) Churches are allowed to open during lockdown, but should they? (13:20) And can comfort eating and cosy socks replace human connections? (25:50) With historian Niall Ferguson; New York Times editorial board member Greg Bensinger; Father Jonathan Beswick; The Very Reverend Peter

Laura Freeman

The stifling cult of self-care

Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s dark. It’s January. It’s Lockdown III. There’s only one thing for it: stay home, snuggle up, save lives. Cocoon yourself in cashmere, treat yourself to silk pyjamas, invest in a lambswool throw. Lay the fire, warm the cocoa, watch Love Actually for the 30th time. Practise self-care. Be sure to

Is this the end for Trumpism?

28 min listen

What are the latest developments in the US presidential election? (01:15) – Lara is joined by the Spectator’s economics correspondent Kate Andrews and the Spectator US’s editor Freddy Gray, who is currently in Pennsylvania. What is it like to care for a disabled child during a time of lockdown? (09:19) – The journalist Sam Carlisle

Laura Freeman

Will our churches ever reopen?

There used to be a joke, repeated by English tourists in deserted piazzas, that the Italian for church (chiesa) and for closed (chiusa) were almost the same. Whatever the orari on the door, you were always several hours out. And so you would consult your guidebook, admire in miniature the Ghirlandaio, the Lippi, the really

Let men have their boys’ clubs

Taken to the Garrick Club one evening, I was surprised when a mouse ran across the carpet. I squeaked and pulled my legs up. Not a murmur from the other armchairs. My host leaned over. ‘No one minds the mice,’ he explained. ‘It’s the women they don’t want.’ It made me laugh then and it

Sumptuous and saucy: Compton Verney’s Cranach show reviewed

‘Naughty little nudes,’ my history of art teacher used to say of Cranach’s Eves and Venuses. Aren’t they just? Coquettish and compact. Kenneth Clark thought they had ‘chic’. Cranach’s nudes are rarely truly naked. They wear Ascot hats, golden chokers, filmy wisps of gossamer girdle. Take the goddess in the National Gallery’s ‘Cupid Complaining to

What do your lockdown slippers say about you?

Tartan, monogram, moccasin, clog. What do your slippers say about you? Trick us all you like with your office Manolos, your Loake loafers, your Louboutin mules, it’s the shame-making slippers that will tell us the truth. Fleece-lined slob or kittenish slip-on? Millennial Mahabis or ancestral tapestry? Japanese zori or plaited huarache? In George Bernard Shaw’s

The art of the hermit

Late in the afternoon on Valentine’s Day, I walked through an almost empty Uffizi. Coronavirus was then a Wuhan phenomenon. Our temperatures had been taken at the airport, but there were no restrictions on travel and those wearing masks looked eccentric. I congratulated myself on finding Florence so quiet. Off-season, I thought smugly. That’s the