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Taking Time, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury

French artists of the ancien régime were rarely given to intimate, everyday studies – which is why Chardin's boys at leisure are so enticingly mysterious

I had eyes for one thing only (and it wasn't the clothes)

In a world dominated by anoraks, bobble hats, enamel badges and vacuum flasks, railways and fashion are not obvious partners. Most of us boys gave up finding trains sexy when we discovered girls. And most girls – of any age – have never found trains sexy at all.