Diary

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The Independent Online
No art here please, this is the Tate

PICASSO is certainly an evocative artist, but it was not his work that caused the wailing voices and gnashing of teeth at the opening of the exhibition of his art at the Tate in London on Tuesday - it was a 29-year-old Royal College of Art student, Sophy Tilson, daughter of the distinguished artist Joe, who caused a furore when she got out her pad and started to draw.

'I was immediately surrounded by four security guards who told me I had to stop drawing,' she tells me. 'I was amazed. I have drawn at the Tate all my life. I was not about to stop then . . . so I told them I would not budge until they fetched Nick Serota.'

Serota, the gallery's director, could not be found, but in his place one rather flushed Ruth Rattenbury hurried to the spot. 'We argued,' says Ms Tilson, 'for an hour. There was a massive crowd consisting of friends of the Tate; several of the women were crying because of my predicament. Her arguments were completely fatuous . . . she said that the Tate had never allowed drawing in special exhibitions.'

Ms Tilson's cause has been taken up by her father, who has written 'calmly' to Mr Serota. 'They should adopt a policy like the Royal Academy, who invite artists in after hours to draw,' he says. Meanwhile the Tate appears confused over precisely what its policy is. 'It's to do with crowding,' says one officer. 'It's to do with copyright,' says another. Later: 'Actually, we don't proscribe drawing at all.'

SIR Edward Heath has an idea for John Campbell's unauthorised biography. Dismissing the work as 'nonsense' he suggests, I'm told, that it would be best used as a doorstop.

Eton beaten THE battle between Eton and a group of diehard former pupils over the creation of a memorial to the memory of alumni killed in the world wars (chronicled here over the past year) has been resolved - save for one important detail - in favour of the old boys.

The town council has given planning permission for a statue to be put up in Eton High Street, a decision that has spurred Faith Winter, who sculpted Bomber Harris, into making her first model for the sculpture (see picture), 30 months after she was originally approached. The school (which traditionally has only one statue, its founder, King Henry VI), is still trying to block the scheme. The plot designated for the statue is owned by the school, it says. The old boys are not so sure. For the moment, however, the alumni seem marginally ahead of the game.

IT MAY have been more than 100 years ago that the Yorkshire moors inspired Emily Bronte to bash out Wuthering Heights, but more recent proof of the landscape's power may be found in a letter in this week's Times Literary Supplement. Signed by no fewer than 62 dignitaries of the literary world (they include Alan Ayckbourn, Ted Hughes, Tom Stoppard and, curiously, Cliff Richard), the letter seeks to raise an outcry over the ever-increasing number of wind turbines popping up in the Haworth district. More on this, I'm sure, as developments unfold.

Pricey promises ONE of the more unusual money- raising ideas of the year - the Samaritans plan an 'auction of promises' at Christie's in June, where fierce bidding is expected for the privilege of escorting Baroness Thatcher on a tour round the House of Lords. The former PM's tour is one of dozens of prizes going under the hammer. My favourite: tea at the Ritz with Dame Edna Everage.

A DAY LIKE THIS

18 February 1814 Byron writes in his journal: 'Got up - read the Morning Post, containing the battle of Bonaparte and a paragraph on me, as long as my pedigree, and vituperative as usual. Napoleon] This week will decide his fate. All seems against him; but I believe and hope he will win - at least, beat back the invaders. What right have we to prescribe sovereigns to France] Oh for a Republic] Hobhouse abounds in continental anecdotes of this extraordinary man; all in favour of his intellect and courage, but against his bonhomie. No wonder - how should he, who knows mankind well, do other than despise and abhor them? The greater the equality, the more impartially evil is distributed, and becomes lighter by the division among so many - therefore, a Republic] More notes from Mme de Stael unanswered - and so they shall remain. I admire her abilities, but really her society is overwhelming - an avalanche that buries one in glittering nonsense - all snow and sophistry.'

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