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Don't drop your tights, Lord Irvine

Dressed like a glittering beadle, he can blame his true ludicrousness on something else

Return of the masterpiece that survived fire, flood and woodworm

A DECORATIVE woodcarving widely considered to be the finest work of art of its type has returned to Britain after an absence of more than 300 years.

Monday books: And so to bed? Not a Pepys

JEM (AND SAM): A REVENGER'S TALE BY FERDINAND MOUNT, CHATTO & WINDUS, pounds 14.99 THE JOURNAL OF MRS PEPYS: PORTRAIT OF A MARRIAGE BY SARAH GEORGE, REVIEW, pounds 12.99

Design News: In bed with Charles II

n THE ONLY annoying thing about falling for a picture or an object in an art gallery is having to wait till the exhibition is over before you can buy it and take it home. The organisers of "Southern Craftmakers" understand such impatience: should you wish to purchase one of the 140 items on show you can whisk it away at the end of whatever stage the tour is on, and a similar piece will take its place.

Fashion: Everyday people

Street style in the Nineties is less about shock, more about blending in - the difference is in the tiniest details, chronicled here by photographer Henry Bond

Outtakes: Furry symbols of wealth and power, feathered accessories and four-legged friends

Animals in portraits are highly symbolic and form part of the artist's commentary on his subject, argues the chief curator of the National Portrait Gallery. Judge for yourself what the artists were saying in these paintings. Top: Anna Pavlova with Jack, by Lafayette, 1927. Above: Sir Edwin Landseer by John Ballantyne, 1865. Above right: Ellen Terry with terriers. Right: Charles II and puppy, 1630. Far right: Max Wall Maggi Hambling, 1981.

Book review: A hero in search of Trafalgar

PRINCE RUPERT: Admiral and General-at-Sea by Frank Kitson, Constable pounds 20

Education: Passed/Failed - Beryl Bainbridge

The novelist Beryl Bainbridge, 63, wrote Every Man For Himself, based on the Titanic story, which was Whitbread Novel of the Year and runner-up for the Booker Prize. She is featured on The South Bank Show on Sunday. Her novel Master Georgie is published in April.

Theatre reviews

NEVER LAND

Comfort of strangers

Again and again this week people - almost always women - have told me the same story. It is about how they felt themselves compelled to go down to Kensington Palace. Some laid flowers, one or two signed the book of condolence. They knelt down for a moment, or just stood there and had their moment of silence, talked a little with strangers doing the same thing - and then went home to their children, their pets and their husbands.

Letter: Royal rifts

Your leading article "Crisis for the church? Why?" (10 August) says "no Supreme Governor of the Church of England has been divorced, never mind remarried". Charles II was urged to divorce his wife, Catherine of Braganza, when she failed to produce an heir, and to marry again. Among those supporting this course of action was the Bishop of Chester. George I was already divorced when he acceded to the throne in 1714. Although he did not remarry, like Charles II did, he enjoyed several liaisons. George IV attempted to divorce his wife, Caroline of Brunswick, from whom he had been separated for over 20 years. He was unsuccessful, but she obliged him by dying a few months after his coronation.

Book review / Stinks, squalor and splendour

Restoration London by Liza Picard, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, pounds 20

Racing: Andreyev heading towards Jersey

Andreyev will attempt to give Richards Hannon and Hughes their second Jersey Stakes win at Royal Ascot in three years after taking the Listed King Charles II Stakes at Newmarket yesterday.

words: Political

AS pre-election tempers get hotter and insults fly faster, we can expect to hear more and more politicians using one of the most insulting words they know. Political. A loyal backbencher threw it at the Opposition last week in defence of Douglas Hogg, who was in a bit of trouble over the state of our abattoirs. To attack Mr Hogg at this juncture was "blatant political opportunism", he cried. Mere opportunism, one felt, was one thing, but that sort ... To what further depths could an Opposition sink?

Johnny Foreigner

Condom was Charles II's physician and was knighted by the Merry Monarch for his services. True or false? False, sadly, although it sounds convincing. In fact, no one really knows the origin of the word condom. What we do know is that they have been in use since at least 1,350BC when Egyptian tribesmen used them not as contraceptive devices but as protection from disease, injury and insect bites. The strawberry-flavoured, anatomically shaped, lubricated, spermicidally charged condom had to wait another 3,340 years.
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor