7 episodes

Taking a closer look at some of the most fascinating stuff inside our museums. From bits of buried treasure to iconic portraits to outlandish furniture, what do these things say about us? Each episode, we hear from a range of people who share their expertise and passion, revealing the incredible stories behind the objects we collect, curate and cherish.


Art and Stuff is published by Art Fund, the UK’s national charity for art, which raises money for museums and galleries through the National Art Pass – a neat little card that gets you free or reduced-price entry to hundreds of great cultural venues and exhibitions around the country. The podcast is produced by Whistledown.

Art and Stuff Art Fund

    • Visual Arts
    • 4.4 • 20 Ratings

Taking a closer look at some of the most fascinating stuff inside our museums. From bits of buried treasure to iconic portraits to outlandish furniture, what do these things say about us? Each episode, we hear from a range of people who share their expertise and passion, revealing the incredible stories behind the objects we collect, curate and cherish.


Art and Stuff is published by Art Fund, the UK’s national charity for art, which raises money for museums and galleries through the National Art Pass – a neat little card that gets you free or reduced-price entry to hundreds of great cultural venues and exhibitions around the country. The podcast is produced by Whistledown.

    Sarah Stone's watercolour birds

    Sarah Stone's watercolour birds

    In this episode Ben Miller uncovers an incredible collection of more than 170 watercolour illustrations of exotic birds, kept at the Natural History Museum in London. Painted by the nature artist Sarah Stone in the late 18th century, these rich studies gave the public a first look at many unknown bird species from around the world. Ben hears more about the album’s origins from curator Paul Martyn Cooper, while bird expert David Lindo and nature writer Stephen Moss discuss the symbolic importance of birds to our culture. Finally, artist Kate MccGwire gives an insight into Stone’s likely working methods and also explains how birds have come to be a central part of her own artistic practice.


    You can see one of the album's exquisite illustrations by visiting https://www.artfund.org/artandstuff
     
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    • 22 min
    The Great Bed of Ware

    The Great Bed of Ware

    In this episode Ben explores the history of one of the grandest objects of furniture in the land, the Great Bed of Ware, part of the collection at the V&A in London. Made in the 16th century, it has been host to thousands of somnolent occupants over the years. Ben hears more about its fascinating story from curator Nick Humphrey and writer Jonathan Ruffle, while sleep experts Sasha Handley and Colin Espie share some interesting nuggets on the science of sleep and the curious nature of our bedtime habits.
     
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    • 23 min
    The Spanish Armada off the Coast of England

    The Spanish Armada off the Coast of England

    Ben Miller explores the fascinating history behind the miniature painting ‘The Spanish Armada off the Coast of England’, part of the collection at the Ulster Museum in Belfast. Painted by an unknown artist, this vivid depiction of the defeat of the Spaniards by the British navy in 1588 is an extremely rare example of such a picture from the decades immediately following the event. Ben gets the lowdown from curators Anne Stewart and Winifred Glover, hears what a critical moment this was for Elizabeth I from author Philip Collins, and gets the Spanish perspective from journalist Eva Millan.


    You can see an image of the painting at https://www.artfund.org/artandstuff
     
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    • 24 min
    The Wynnstay Organ

    The Wynnstay Organ

    Join Ben Miller as he explores the colourful history of the Wynnstay Organ, part of the collection at National Museum Wales in Cardiff. Made in the 18th century and designed by Robert Adam, the organ was commissioned by Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn, ‘the Welsh Maecenas’. Amongst others, Ben gets to hear from broadcaster Reverend Richard Coles, Welsh language musician Gwyneth Glyn, and Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson, whose 2018 performance piece ‘The Sky in a Room’ featured the organ prominently.


    You can see an image of the Wynnstay Organ at https://www.artfund.org/artandstuff
     
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    • 23 min
    World of Cats

    World of Cats

    In episode two Ben Miller uncovers the story behind a unique collage from the Islington Museum in London. 'World of Cats' by Kenneth Halliwell was made in the mid-Sixties while Halliwell was living with his partner, the renowned playwright Joe Orton. Arrange up on a folding screen, it’s a great example of the many subversive collages the pair created around this time, but its playful humour cannot but be seen in the context of the horrific end to their relationship.


    You can see the World of Cats screen by visiting https://www.artfund.org/artandstuff
     
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    • 17 min
    The lost portrait of Charles Dickens

    The lost portrait of Charles Dickens

    In the first episode presenter Ben Miller learns more about the mysterious rediscovery of a ‘lost’ portrait of Charles Dickens. Painted by Margret Gillies, the portrait has at last found a home in the Charles Dickens Museum in London, but its journey wouldn’t be out of place in one of its subject’s novels. Lucinda Hawksley, Dickens’ great-great-great-granddaughter, sheds more light on her famous relation, plus Ben also gets to hear from writer Monica Ali and Big Issue founder John Bird, who both took inspiration from Dickens’ writing and social reform agenda.


    You can see the lost portrait of Charles Dickens by visiting https://www.artfund.org/artandstuff
     
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    • 19 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

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