Tag Archives: Wolfe

Not crying Wolfe: that rare thing, art that should be saved for the nation

General Wolfe

Most of us retain, shelved away somewhere in our innermost being, a lexicon of clichéd phrases absolutely guaranteed, no matter why or in what context they are uttered, to produce instant, categorical, irreversible disagreement. Mine probably opens automatically at the phrase ‘a work of art that must be saved for the nation’ — and if it doesn’t, that’s only because the relevant pages are gummed together with spent vitriol. Yet one of maturity’s sparse but genuine pleasures is, surely, the act of giving in to a line of argument against which one has struggled for decades — of contemplating the sort of scheme one’s consistently opposed, in public and in private, for as long as one can remember, before responding, mildly, after a bit of thought, ‘well, yes, that sounds like a pretty good idea — why ever not?’

All this occurred to me last week, as I was passing the morning at the National Army Museum. The National Army Museum is one of London’s last uncompromised bastions of curatorial focus and sanity. Dignified, scholarly, welcoming but distinctly unflashy … Continue reading

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