Life and Style

First of all, a caveat: the clothes we see in 16th-century portraits aren't fashion. At least, not to our eyes. They're court costume – emphasis on the costume. It's difficult to reconcile the lavishly slashed, brocaded and jewel-bedecked gowns of lustrous Renaissance portraiture with our jeans-and-T-shirt culture, or even with the grander creations on the international catwalks.

Letters: Seasteads - islands of hubris and exploitation

These letters were published in the 30th December edition of the Independent

David Bowie in Louis Vuitton's new advert

Video: David Bowie stars in Louis Vuitton's new advert

Legendary singer David Bowie fronts Louis Vuitton's new advert with supermodel Arizona Muse for the L'invitation au Voyage campaign series

The London Metal Exchange's system of quoting prices has remained unchanged for over 100 years

London Metal Exchange is an anachronistic world long since left behind by modern markets

The London Metal Exchange – which sets the rules for the global aluminium trade – is one of the few modern markets to retain “open outcry” trading, in which brokers shout and gesticulate to make their buy and sell orders.

Dame Helen Mirren even played the Queen in action film Red 2 (albeit Elizabeth I not II)

Dame Helen Mirren struggles to 'wriggle out' of Queen's mantle even in action film Red 2

Playing the Queen may have won Dame Helen Mirren an Oscar and an Olivier award, but she revealed she is struggling to “wriggle out” of the regal mantle. Only a rewrite at her request meant the acclaimed actress did not have to imitate Elizabeth II in her latest film, a big budget American action movie.

Michael Gove brings back 12 times tables in new curriculum

Children will be taught fractions from the age of five and will once again have to learn the 12 times tables under a controversial new national curriculum to be announced today by the Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Plebs

Plebs: A funny thing happened on the way to the Colosseum

Plebs is set in Ancient Rome, but the sitcom tells timeless truths about life at the bottom of the pile, says its writer Tom Basden

Plebs

Plebs: A funny thing happened on the way to the Colosseum

Plebs is set in Ancient Rome, but the sitcom tells timeless truths about life at the bottom of the pile, says its writer Tom Basden

The Saturday Quiz

1. The often-quoted opening line of The Go-Between – LP Hartley's 1953 novel – is what?

John Prescott was one of many who took to twitter to voice their reaction to the Leveson report

John Prescott misses out on title of High Steward of Hull... to arch rival Peter Mandelson

Former Deputy Prime Minister irate at missing out on title

The naked truth: Nadav Kander, Bodies. 6 Women, 1 Man, Flowers Gallery, London

Nadav Kander was inspired by ideas of Elizabethan purity to create these stunning photographic portraits of six nude females and one male. 

Anne-Marie Duff to appear in Shameless finale

Acclaimed actress Anne-Marie Duff is to make a return to Channel 4's Shameless for the show's last episode.

Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell

IoS Sounds of 2013: Classical

Old stories ignite new passions as Oliver Knussen conducts Angelika Kirchschlager in The Rape of Lucretia, and Barbara Hannigan, James Gilchrist and Jasper de Waal join Amsterdam Sinfonietta for Les Illuminations and Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings.

First night: Dr Dee, English National Opera, London

Albarn's divisive tale of an Elizabethan mathematician just doesn't add up

Queen visits Roman Catholic church during Enniskillen visit

Protestant and Catholics from a Northern Ireland town devastated by an IRA bombing showed their unity today by joining forces to host a Diamond Jubilee visit by the Queen.

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Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

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