Arts and Entertainment

From 18th-century caricaturists to Desperate Dan, the art of talking in picture-form has a long and (mostly) distinguished history

Sketchbook: So touching in its majesty

The London that moved Wordsworth to put pen to paper on Westminster Bridge was captured in this splendid panorama. Hidden in a New York attic for years, it has now been returned to its home town.

Monitor; All the News of the World: Earl Of Wessex

British reaction to Edward Windsor's comments in America on the British attitude towards success

Cure found for the madness of royalty

THE MADNESS which afflicted King George III and probably helped weaken the European monarchy could be treatable with food supplements, according to new research.

WORDS: Bottom

ONE OF THE minor pleasures to be had from the Guardian is its "Corrections and Clarifications" feature. This has nothing to do with the malicious enjoyment of others' misfortunes (or not much anyway) that the Germans call Schadenfreude. We all make mistakes. Nor is it about the Guardian's reputation for misprints, which are no more frequent now than any other paper's. The pleasure comes from the delicious quirkiness of the errors admitted to.

UK's hidden art forced out of closet

UP TO 10,000 people who have avoided paying tax on inherited works of art are to receive letters from the Inland Revenue saying they must put the works on show to the public once a year, every year.

Leading Article: End this insulting culture of secrecy

THE REVELATION that Nazi-trained homing-pigeons on spying missions were the target of the British Army Pigeon Special Service Section (membership: two peregrine falcons) during the last war is just one of many stories that have come to light thanks to a slightly more open attitude to the release of old government files. It is a fascinating tale. But it is one, along with the stories about Mata Hari's spying and Harold Wilson's putative plan to make us the 51st state of the USA, that it might have been nice to know about before now.

Excuse me, ma'am, they're our pictures

The Royal Collection is not the Queen's art; it belongs to the state, which means you and me

Books: Life before porphyria

George III: A Personal History by Christopher Hibbert Viking pounds 20

Leading Article: End the secrecy and open the files

IN RECENT days, the Public Records Office has been offering up some of its more newsworthy secrets. Officially, under the "30-year rule", all government records older than 30 years should be made public; in practice, records have often been kept far beyond that date. These have included Britain's Cold War preparations for a Soviet occupation of the Shetlands, the existence of a suspected Japanese spy ring in Britain during the Second World War, and Secret Service plans to kill Hitler. All have now been declassified under accelerated release programmes.

Historical Notes: Royal riddles and mysterious maladies

IN 1759, the year before George III began his long reign, thousands of people in the West Country were afflicted with a mysterious ailment whose symptoms included severe abdominal pain and mental confusion. The cause of the epidemic was finally traced by a young physician, George Baker, to the contamination of the local cider by lead from the apple presses. A dangerous consequence of lead poisoning, also known as plumbism, is the disruption of the body's ability to make the red pigment (haem) in blood. In this way, lead poisoning can cause a form of porphyria. The symptoms of this can be severe and may include muscular weakness, skin rashes and the production of dark red, purple or even blackish urine in addition to terrible abdominal pain and temporary mental disorientation.

Royals still carry 'mad' George gene

THE SICKNESS which is thought to have afflicted George III, giving him the appearance of temporary madness, has shown its symptoms again in the Queen's own generation, according to a new book which studies the genetic history of the Royal Family.

The Weasel: My eye was taken by the interior of a nuclear reactor (`Please keep off the core')

"We were spinning out of control in space at 3-4,000 mph," yelled the American astronaut. Despite the excitement of his yarn, yelled against a hubbub of milling schoolchildren, his audience steadily dwindled. Even the thrill of exploring the infinite cosmos cannot overcome the far-from- limitless attention span of the modern child. The voice of the spaceman - in fact, an actor in a spacesuit - was reduced to a husky bellow by the effort. "If anything goes wrong," he croaked, "you dehydrate within seconds..." I felt in need of a drink myself while visiting the Science Museum during the Christmas rush, when attendance more than doubles to 4,000 a day.

Architecture: The Millennium comes to Somerset House

Chris Smith, the culture secretary, yesterday handed over the lease for Somerset House to the charity charged with restoring the former London records office for births, deaths and marriages to its 18th-century glory.

Diana 1961-1997: A brief history of press intrusion

Royals, politicians, actresses - hacks have preyed on them since the 1700s, writes Stella Tillyard

INTERNET: Royal web site proves popular

The official royal website has been visited 12.5 million times in its first two months on the Internet, Buckingham Palace disclosed yesterday. The 165-page site, launched by the Queen on 6 March, was accessed 1 million times in the first 24 hours.
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