Arts and Entertainment The V&A says it has discovered a previously unknown oil sketch by John Constable tucked beneath the lining of another work

Restorers uncovered the artwork while renovating a major painting

Museum charges to be scrapped

Brown's pounds 80m lifeline to arts Commitment to access for all And will he marry Sarah?

Property: Museums for mantelpieces

Rosalind Russell reveals a legal way to take gallery and museum exhibits home with you

Crack found in Three Graces

A HAIRLINE crack has been discovered on The Three Graces, the world's most expensive sculpture, while it was on an overseas loan to a Madrid benefactor, museum officials confirmed today.

Oak door separates experts

A WOODEN door thought to have been the entrance to a 17th-century literary club frequented by Shakespeare, Jonson, Donne, Beaumont and Fletcher, may end up in American hands, writes Vanessa Thorpe.

Letter: Pooh in the dome?

As Pooh's biographer, I am naturally interested in Gwyneth Dunwoody's plea for his return to England (report, 6 February).

Design: Dinah lights the way at the V&A

How do you take three centuries of British decorative arts out of their dusty cabinets and bring them alive? Easy, says Dinah Casson. Nonie Niesewand learns how.

Pantomime: We wear three times as much make-up as most women, but we're nothing like a dame

A lifetime spent in women's clothing has meant stardom for these two men. Sally Morgan visits them off-stage, and finds that behind every good dame is a highly professional comic actor.

Arts & Media: Extra funding saves British Museum from introducing entrance fees

The Government will give the British Museum financial help to prevent it introducing admission charges. David Lister, Arts News Editor, reveals that the first stage in the campaign to safeguard free admission is on the point of victory.

Museums fall out in crisis over charging

The united front by national museums over free admissions has been broken. The director of the Victoria and Albert Museum tells our arts news editor, David Lister, that he will not tolerate financial help being given to some museums and not others.

Museums told to go commercial

The Labour Government wants national museums and galleries to take lessons from Harvey Nichols, the Knightsbridge store immortalised in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. David Lister hears the arts minister, Mark Fisher, tell astonished museum directors to become more commercial.

Pakistan stands proud at V&A

Annalisa Barbieri on a show which puts its crafts on a par with those of India

Obituary: Anna Plowden

Anna Plowden was one of the foremost object conservators of her generation and made significant contributions to the techniques and practice of conservation. Her interest was not contained to her own business, but also extended into membership of the Board of Trustees of the Victoria and Albert Museum and of various advisory bodies in the field of conservation.

Dedicated follower of fashion

Fashion doesn't just filter down from haute couture, it bubbles up from new-age travellers, grunge and the like, says Amy de la Haye, curator of 20th-century dress at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Hester Lacey visits the archives

arts notebook

One of the many memorable aspects of the EMI Centenary concert at Birmingham's Symphony Hall was Nigel Kennedy's warm-up chat to the audience before he and Simon Rattle gave a brilliant reading of Elgar's violin concerto. Kennedy, adopting the chirpy cockney accent that has come as a complete shock to his mother, said he wanted to test the acoustics but there weren't enough bald heads in the audience. In music-hall style he then looked a bit harder and found some, then talked about the concerto, and played and described a couple of bonus pieces of Bach he was throwing in.

First woman director for Royal Society

The Royal Society of Arts has appointed the first woman director in its 243-year history. Penny Egan, currently the RSA's programme development director, will take over next January, following the retirement of the current acting director, James Sanderson.
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

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Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
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The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

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A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

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Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

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As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

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For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

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The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
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We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

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The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...