Manet sketch could fetch pounds 3m: Sotheby's to auction outline of a masterpiece inspired by nightlife of the Folies-Bergere

SOTHEBY'S has scored a coup in securing the sale of an important Manet painting that relates to one of his most famous masterpieces, the Bar at the Folies-Bergere in the Courtauld Institute Galleries, London, writes Dalya Alberge.

Diary: Alive and well and not amused

HE THOUGHT he had done his homework, but one error has emerged in Michael Hastings's play Unfinished Business, an account of the right-wing antics of an aristocratic British family during the Second World War, now showing at the Barbican, London. He has discovered that one of the characters he refers to, albeit ambiguously, is alive, and not amused by what he has to say about her.

Tories mete out rough justice: Party chiefs stand by 'back to basics' after PPS resigns over flirtation with researcher

TORY party managers stood firmly by John Major's 'back to basics' policy last night after Hartley Booth, MP for Finchley, had become the first casualty of a new regime under which politicians whose personal lives cause embarrassment will be expected to leave the Government forthwith.

Scandal sweeps another Tory out of office

THE CONSERVATIVE who inherited Margaret Thatcher's Finchley constituency resigned as a ministerial aide last night after becoming the latest member of the Government to become embroiled in a tide of scandal.

EXHIBITIONS / Great little masterclass: The history of the petits maitres of French painting has long been overlooked in this country. But three exhibitions in London offer a chance to catch up

THERE'S a lot of French painting in London at the moment, and much pleasure to be found in it. I suppose that pride of place must be given to the pictures from the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Lille, now lent to the National Gallery, which I wrote about last month. But this was rather a severe selection, full of civic and republican virtues. Now, in welcome contrast, we see the relaxed and hedonistic side of French art, in the form of Boudin at the Courtauld Institute Galleries, Braque's prints at the Tate and a lovely mixed show of paintings and drawings at JPL Fine Art in Davies Street.

Obituary: Professor Alex Kellie

Alex Edwards Kellie, biochemist: born 4 January 1911, Professor of Biochemistry, London University 1972-76 (Emeritus); married 1943 Dorothy Romans (two daughters); died 14 March 1993.

Life's a beach: Boudin was, well, a bit on the dull side, but his paintings were wild and beautiful. Dalya Alberge on the not-very-interesting life and brilliant work of a man possessed

He didn't have the manic depression of Van Gogh, the thuggish tendencies of Caravaggio or the murderous madness of Richard Dadd. Not only was Eugene Boudin (1824-1898) free of the tortured or violent passions that we expect in our great masters, but nothing remotely memorable ever really happened to him.

Appeals: Witt library, Courtauld Institute

(Photograph omitted)

Experts hail discovery of rare frescos

THE MOST important medieval frescos to be discovered in Britain for 20 years have been found by art historians and conservation experts in Chester.

ART / The appliance of science: Dalya Alberge dons her lab coat and explores a technological approach to the dating game

THERE IS an X-ray of someone's rib-cage on the laboratory wall, lit by a huge light-box. In adjacent rooms are scanning machines, microscopes and other bits of medical equipment that might be used for treating the case. But this patient is not human. Take a closer look and you can make out the skeletal details of a badly flaking Old Master. It is in poor condition and awaiting the attention of staff at the Courtauld Institute's laboratory for the technical examination of paintings.
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