Roy Davids, head of the Manuscripts and Books department at Sotheby’s for many years, built up what must be the most significant privately-owned collection of poets’ manuscripts and memorabilia. This collection is now going under the hammer at Bonhams in London, with roughly half the lots having been sold in April and the rest coming up this month.

In a letter to Standpoint, published in the latest issue of the magazine, Nigel Lawson reveals the Cabinet’s unanimous support for Special Branch protection of Salman Rushdie when, in 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa against the Satanic Verses author and offered a bounty for his death.

These images are selected from a portfolio of grandmaster chess portraits that I have created over the past six years. Most of the grandmasters are friends and colleagues — as well as being an official artist on the chess circuit I organise and present tournaments such as the Staunton Society events, held at that famous 19th-century home of the game, Simpson’s-in-the-Strand. That was where I took the portrait of the English Grandmaster Nigel Short and his father (above right). It seemed for one split second that father and son were symbiotically connected — it is full of paternal pride and joy.

The editor of British Vogue has bravely — and rightly — shamed designers who insist their clothes be modelled by impossibly thin young girls

She is overpaid, overhyped and may soon be over here, as Obama’s ambassador. But does the Empress of New York fashion have any clothes?

“Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend,” said John Singer Sargent. There were nearly 2,200 entries for this year’s BP Portrait Award which equates to a lot of friendships broken. The annual exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery has become a fixture since its inception 33 years ago and throughout the vagaries of taste of the intervening decades it has remained steadfast in championing traditional painted portraiture. A £25,000 first prize and its accompanying £4,000 commission help sharpen eye and hand.

Jenny Saville’s fascination with human flesh started as an art student when she was awarded a scholarship to attend Cincinnati University. Once there she became an habitué of the shopping malls of Ohio because that was “where you saw lots of big women. Big white flesh in shorts and T-shirts”. Big white — or pink — flesh has been her obsession ever since, to the point where she would even attend cosmetic surgery and liposuction procedures and photograph the operations. Artists from Rubens to Lucian Freud have shared her fascination but not her almost monomaniacal interest.

I spent all of last year drawing London-looking, exploring, finding new bits and revisiting, considering, reassessing and re-evaluating familiar places I thought I knew well. Wandering and drawing made me notice and think afresh about the city I’ve lived in for 60 years. Its vivid contrasts of past imperial splendours, and present decline and uncertainty; the disconnect between beautiful Whitehall with its seductive reminders of imperial and colonial power-nostalgia for which still seems to mesmerise our policymakers-and the city’s unseemly extremes of spectacular wealth and unemployment and poverty. Yet amid all these I enjoyed London’s visual and often stimulating muddle, its vivid ethnic mixes, the tolerance and courtesy of most people. 

The Cold War may be over but the paranoid rhetoric is not. It’s time for the US to recognise the Kremlin is crumbling.

According to the great 19th-century draughtsman Jean-Auguste Ingres, “Drawing is the probity of art.” This aphorism has been put to the test recently by the noise surrounding the graphic work of Lucian Freud and Tracey Emin. For Emin, the recently appointed Royal Academy Professor of Drawing and poster designer for the 2012 Olympics, probity — such as it is — resides in a drawing’s expressive qualities and not in its craft. For Freud without craft there was no expression.