Rose to the occasion
Five years ago, the jewellery designer Jack du Rose took delivery of a human skull at his studio. He had been asked by a goldsmith friend to work out how it might be recreated in platinum and diamonds. So he set to work, sellotaping tiny diamond-sized circles of paper to the skull, estimating how many were needed (8601, as it turned out) and how to cast the shape in precious metal. The finished object, of course, became For the Love of God, Damien Hirst's record-breaking work of artwork with the £50m price tag.
"I was commissioned through a third party, it wasn't a collaboration.I had no idea it was for Damien until a friend rang me up and told me it was on the front page of the Sunday papers", says du Rose, 30, who has worked with the jeweller Stephen Webster. "I just assumed it was for some oligarch to use as a bookend."
Now, du Rose is staging his first solo exhibition, which opens next week at Sam Taylor-Wood's studio in Clerkenwell, east London. Danger features eight one-off pieces of jewellery inspired by exotic animals – diamond-encrusted lion cuffs, emerald poison frog brooches and fluorescent-ruby jellyfish rings. Du Rose considers them art as much as jewellery and as such, each piece will be sold – prices start at £220,000 – with its own bell jar and ebony display case, which locks with a gold and diamond scorpion-shaped key. As for du Rose's brush with Hirst, it ended as mysteriously as it began. "I don't know where the original skull is now. It's still out there somewhere", he says.
A little prince shines
Nicholas Lloyd Webber, who has previously been rather coy about his musical ambitions is finally stepping into the limelight. Next month, he unveils his first full-length musical, The Little Prince, a collaboration with James D Reid, at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast. Andrew Lloyd Webber's son, 32, has been building his theatrical experience over the last year, writing scores for the Oxford Shakespeare Company where his wife Charlotte Windmill is producer. He has previously used the sobriquets Archangel, Aurotone or Nick LW for television and advertising work but The Little Prince bears his name below the title. I had a sneak listen to the score this week and spotted some showstoppers including a Cabaret-style solo for the Snake, a Latin number for the Rose and a toe-tapping homage to the Prince's asteroid home. Saint-Exupéry's diminutive hero will be played by Niamh Perry, best known as a runner-up on I'd Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd Webber's talent-show search for an actress to play Nancy in the West End revival of Oliver!
New artists follow Hockney's LED
David Hockney has famously swapped his sketchpad for an iPad – and where the eminent painter leads, others follow. Tracey Emin, Mat Collishaw and Isaac Julien are among the high-profile artists who have signed up to s[edition], a new digital platform which will make their famous works available as limited editions for display on iPads, mobile phones, computer and television screens. Tech-minded art-lovers can buy works such as Mat Collishaw's Burning Flower or Emin's neon I Promise to Love You for as little as £5. Prices go up to £500. The initiative is the brainchild of Harry Blain, gallerist and one-time director of Haunch of Venison (which he notoriously linked up with Christie's), and Robert Norton, the former CEO of Saatchi Online and now head of e-commerce at AOL Europe. Says Emin: "If you were to buy a neon, well most people couldn't, so this way they could actually have a neon in their living room, at a party for example on their screen, and it is reasonably inexpensive". Plus, when you're bored with it, you can just flip over to X Factor.
No joke for Kane
He won the Edinburgh Comedy Award last year, at his third nomination, but it seems that Russell Kane still has an axe to grind. The stand-up has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster for his first novel, The Humorist, about a comedy critic, "blessed with an extraordinary gift – to understand humour at its deepest level", but who is incapable of laughing or smiling. The novel, published in April, has at its heart a certain Benjamin White, but who might be the inspiration for this gloomy anti-hero? The list of curmudgeonly critics is long but one likely muse is The Guardian's Brian Logan. Logan has previously criticised Kane's shows for their "inertia" and for being "insubstantial". Kane, meanwhile, took a swipe at Logan last year, quoting one of the critic's negative reviews ("vertiginous verbiage") from the podium as he claimed his Comedy Award. Play nicely, boys!