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Cold front A £1m grant has been awarded to the National Museums Scotland to examine Scotland’s role in the Cold War.

Starting next month, the three-year project, Materialising the Cold War, will culminate in a major exhibition on the country’s role in the rivaly between the West and the Soviet Union. In addition to weapons technology, the project will examine peace and protest material, civil defence collections, as well as exploring the material legacies of the relationship between society, technology and the military.

Above One of the pamphlets issued by the Home Office, May 1980 © National Museums Scotland

Karate King A book annotated by Elvis Presley and given to his karate teacher and bodyguard, Ed Parker, has gone on sale at Peter Harrington Rare Books for £19,500. The singer started the martial art in the army with his interest becoming all consuming on his return to America.

The same dealer has an original poster for Winston Churchill’s 1959 campaign to retain his Woodford constituency seat for sale at £1,000.

Worth a book The English language bulletin from the Rijksmuseum, featuring the latest art history research, is now available online for free.

The Amsterdam museum is home to 800 years of Dutch history, with its journal now open access. For details go to

Below The library of the Rijksmuseum now offers greater access for students of fine art

Churchill’s fame at the time was such that no more was needed than his blue silhouette and trademark cigar.

The wartime PM won the seat with 71.24 per cent of the vote. It was the final election he contested, nearly six decades after his first election as MP for Oldham in 1900. Left The electioneering poster needed nothing more than the candidate’s silhouette

Right The book is annotated by Elvis Presley

Slowly does it Nearly 30 years after they were stolen from Kingston Lacy in Dorset, four historic bronze tortoises have been recovered and returned home, thanks to an entry spotted in an auction catalogue. The bronzes, which went missing in 1992, were commissioned in 1853 by the 19th-century collector William John Bankes (1786–1855) who even sent his own tortoise to Paris to act as the sculptor’s model. They were returned after Tim Knox, former head curator at the National Trust, saw them listed for sale.

About Kingston Lacy curator Elena Greer with one of the tortoises, courtesy of National Trust Images, James Dobson

30 seconds with... Marc Knighton, Norfolk-based Keys Auctioneers new head of pictures How did you start in the business? My great aunt and her husband were dealers in Edinburgh at a shop called Fife’s Antiques. I was always fascinated by their collection, which included paintings, furniture and scientific instruments.

I found myself drawn to pictures and specific artists within their collection, such as the Scottish landscape, portrait and marine painter, Robert McGregor (1847– 1922), and the Worcester-born Scottish artist, James Stuart Park (1862-1933) who studied at Glasgow School of Arts.

What has been your most exciting find? A wonderful portrait by the British artist, John Opie (1761-1807), that had been considered a lost work for some time. It is a charming oil on canvas of a young girl, seated, in a landscape, holding roses.

Favourite artist (we have heard of)? Gilbert Prousch (born September 17, 1943, in San Martin de Tor, Italy) and George Passmore (born January 8, 1942, in Plymouth) better known as Gilbert & George. Their art confronts many of the fundamental issues of human existence.

Favourite artist (we haven’t heard of)? Hasan Abdalla (b. 1955). Forced to flee his home in Damascus, Syria in 2011, he now lives and paints in London.

He is inspired by the artists he met in the city of Al Hasakah in the north-eastern Kurdish region of Syria and his evocative abstract expressionist works often reflect the joy and sorrow of Syrian country life. I enjoy following his progress as his creative journey continues.

What do you collect? Prints by the printmaker and painter, Stanley Anderson (1884-1966). His detailed engravings of traditional British crafts over a 20-year period are exceptional.

What would be your best ‘Norfolk’ find? A lost painting or sketchbook from any of the Norfolk school, perhaps Sir John Alfred Arnesby Brown (1866-1955) best known for his impressionistic pastoral landscapes, often featuring cattle.

Or, better yet, something by Edward Seago (1910-1974), one of England’s greatest landscape painters and pioneer of the British Impressionist movement

Keys Auctioneer’s next picture sale is September 17.


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