Country Life February 28 2018

In our fabulous fine art issue we look at the rise of the conversation piece, interview the RA president, reveal 10 telegrams that changed history, plus schools that nurture talent and famously bad reports. Find out more here:

FAVOURITE PAINTING: The director of Tate Britain, Alex Farquharson, picks a stormy, epic Turner

TALKING POINTS: What gives the conversation piece its enduring appeal? Matthew Dennison explores this most intimate form of portraiture

PRESIDENTIAL COLOURS: Christopher Le Brun, artist and President of the Royal Academy talks to Mary Miers

EMBODYING THE ENLIGHTENMENT: John Martin Robinson explores the cultural influence of Charles Townley

SCHOOLS: James Bettley reveal the artistic treasures of the Royal Masonic School, Lucy Higginson funds the schools that lead the way in subjects from hockey to drama and Kate Green visits Beaudesert Park in its centenary year, plus Jonathan Self on reports and Oscar Norton on parents’ evenings


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I AM WREN, HEAR ME ROAR: The dilutive bird has a powerful song, finds Ian Morton

INTERIORS: A dramatic painting sets the tone for an artist’s drawing room by Gavin Houghton, plus London Design Week

WARS, WEDDINGS & BOILED EGGS: Rob Crossan recounts the stories behind the most legendary, curious and useless telegrams ever sent

LUXURY: Hetty Chidwick discovers Julian Lloyd-Webber’s life essentials and visits Chase Distillery

GARDENS: Steven Desmond explores the remarkable grounds of Villa San Michele, built on Roman ruins

COOKING: Melanie Johnson makes Swiss-chard rolls

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