Philip Hoare

Philip Hoare is a journalist and author of non-fiction books. He has been fascinated by cetaceans from an early age and his book Leviathan (2008) won the 2009 Samuel Johnson Prize.

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Culture to comfort us: When did we become so culturally conservative?

We are taking refuge in the past, whether it's 'Call the Midwife' and 'Downton' on TV, Coward and Rattigan at the theatre, or neo-Romantics in the galleries. Where's the sensation? By Philip Hoare
Jenny Agutter, Jessica Raine and Judy Parfitt in 'Call the Midwife'

The shock of the old: When did we become so culturally conservative?

We are taking refuge in the past, whether it's 'Call the Midwife' and 'Downton' on TV, Coward and Rattigan at the theatre, or neo-Romantics in the galleries. Where's the sensation, asks Philip Hoare?

Obituary: Gaston Berlemont

IN A catalogue essay for his 1987 exhibition "A Paradise Lost", the curator David Mellor wrote: "In a cultural economy based on the preferred drugs, alcohol and benzedrine, the Soho pub became the nexus, the specially invested social sphere." Forty years previously, Denton Welch had recorded this heterogenic magnetism in his wartime journal:

A brief encounter with Noel

Coward's approach connects to a more recent, and outre gay media figure: that of Boy George

Obituary: Lady Glendevon

AS THE only child of William Somerset Maugham, perhaps the century's grumpiest writer, and Syrie, his wife turned society decorator, Liza Glendevon's life was complicated even before its conception. As the First World War was declared and Maugham left England for France (where he would meet and fall in love with the disastrous Gerald Haxton), Syrie, then still married to Henry Wellcome, became pregnant and Maugham accepted responsibility. In the event, Syrie Wellcome miscarried; a second pregnancy quickly followed, and produced their daughter, Elizabeth Mary, by emergency Caesarean, on 5 May 1915.

Obituary: Henrietta Moraes

AS THE model for Francis Bacon's Lying Figure with Hypodermic Syringe (1963), Henrietta Moraes was a voluptuous icon of the Soho subculture of the Fifties, sprawling across an unmade bed posing for photographs taken by John Deakin for Bacon's painting.

Interiors: Out of the woods

After years of neglect, Sir Basil Spence's modernist masterpiece `cottage' in the New Forest is to be returned to its former glory. Philip Hoare pays tribute

Design: Oriel the wizard of Walworth

Surrounded by massive resin heads, Jacobean jewels and a six-foot glass unicorn horn, a south London sculptress has created something rich and strange.

Obituary: Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava

HER somehow 18th-century rococo title, her flamboyant image and penchant for practical jokes and occasional litigation made Maureen, Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava the stuff of more than 70 years' worth of high society gossip columns.

Something mad about the boy

Noel Coward wasn't always a cocktail-swilling, dressing-gowned matinee turn. Here, his biographer Philip Hoare tells of the 16-year-old shoplifter and subversive revealed in a bundle of newly discovered photographs
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