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UR TURN One of the one world’s oldest board games is back in vogue thanks to it becoming an internet sensation.

The two-player royal game of Ur was first played in ancient Mesopotamia 4,500 years ago. It remained popular until late antiquity, when it stopped being played, possibly evolving into an early form of backgammon.

It was eventually forgotten everywhere except among the Jewish population of the Indian city of Kochi, who continued playing a version of it until the 1950s when they began emigrating to Israel. It was first introduced to a western audience by the English archaeologist Sir Leonard Woolley during his excavations of the Royal Cemetery at Ur between 1922 and 1934.

While on display at the British Museum the game hit the headlines with a YouTube video showing the museum’s ancient Mesopotamian curator, Irving Finkel, playing the game with Sky TV Presenter, Tom Scott, who has 1,384,366 subscribers.

The British Museum has now created a modern replica of the original game, including a set of ancient rules.

Below The game has become an overnight sensation

Left Victoria Beckham next to ElisabethLouise Vigee’s portrait of Lady Spencer Perceval, courtesy of Victoria Beckham, photographer Toby Coulson

Poster girls Fashion designer and former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham was chosen to front Sotheby’s sale of 14 ‘trailblazing’ female artists as part of Masters Week in New York. The Female Triumphant, featured works by women painters from the 16th to 19th centuries, including Artemisia Gentileschi, Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Giulia Lama and Angelika Kauffmann.

Sotheby’s Old Masters specialist, Calvine Harvey, said: “Over the past five years, curators around the art world have been addressing the gender imbalance in their collections,

Did you know? In 2018, Sotheby’s sold 1,100 works by male Old Masters and only 14 works by their female counterparts.

actively investing in female artists who have historically been overlooked in scholarship and undervalued in the market relative to their male counterparts.”

Victoria Beckham, who hosted an exhibition of works by Fede Galizia, ElisabethLouise Vigée Le Brun and Marie-Victoire Lemoine in her Dover Street store in 2018, said: “I am honoured to play a part in this important moment in Old Masters sales. The work of these women is breathtaking.”

Fede Galizia (15781630) A Glass Compote

One minute with 18-year-old Jack Austerberry who has joined Halls as its youngest ever watch specialist

Which names should we look out for? In the last 10 years, the vintage watch market has gone crazy, with the prices from the ‘big three’ (Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron and Constantin) increasing exponentially – in the same way vintage Rolexes have.

What should you look for in a vintage watch? Quality which, in my mind, is all about a watch’s ability to stand the test of time. This is one reason

I tend to avoid purchasing quartz watches, as the movements are circuit boards, which (in my opinion) lack the soul and potential longevity of a mechanical piece.

How important is condition? I view discrepancies in a timepiece as ‘characteristics’ because, in many cases, collectors see flaws as marks of individuality.

What may appear to one as discolouration could just as easily appear to another as an even patina. Don’t let scratches on the case or crystal deter you from buying a watch. Most scratches can be polished out using Brasso or a polishing wheel or dremel tool.

Above Welsh country furniture is part of the exhibition

Welsh assembly St Fagans National Museum of History on the outskirts of Cardiff has reopened after a £30m facelift showcasing a wealth of Welsh vernacular furniture. The revamp included a new restaurant, as well as three new galleries charting Wales’ social history and archaeology collections.

Gweithdy, a purpose-built gallery celebrates the skills of generations of makers, while Llys Llywelyn reflects life at a medieval prince’s court.

Amgueddfa Cymru, National Museum Wales’s six-year project, received funding from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Welsh Government and many others. It is the most ambitious redevelopment project in its history.


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