Patron Saints

The Spanish Steps; the Trevi fountain; the old Cinecittà studios on the outskirts of Rome; 12 galleries of the Uffizi; Tintoretto frescoes…

Vallée de Joux

Cows and clockwork

In a cosy attic above Junod, Lausanne’s oldest watch shop, there’s a museum which charts the story of Switzerland’s obsessive…

Clockwise from top: Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Tribute to Felix Baumgartner, £6,500; Romain Gauthier 950 Platinum Ruthenium dial, £45,650: Girard Perregaux 1966, £18,850, both available at William & Son

The Wish List

Clockwise from top: Zenith El Primero Stratos Flyback Striking 10th Tribute to Felix Baumgartner, £6,500; Romain Gauthier 950 Platinum Ruthenium…

Winner Arnold Schwarzenegger with Tom Parker Bowles and Mehmet Kurt

Smoke ring

The nominees for Spectator Cigar Smoker of the Year 2014 were: Ricky Gervais, Ralph Fiennes, Laurence Fishburne, Boris Becker, Jeremy…

One of the five Jaguar C-X75s ever built.

Batteries Included

Boris, like Churchill, is a fountain of big ideas, some good, some not so good, some plain bonkers. Banning diesel…

Jane Again

It took all of two minutes of deep thought — well, of thought — to answer the question put to…

Crash Course

The question came to me the other week when I read about a youngish graduate in London living in a…

The Wish List

1. Vintage sapphire ring with diamonds in platinum, £POA, Boodles; 2. Sarah Ho collection rose gold ring with a cabochon…

Lovely Squares

There’s a surreal sight at the western entrance to the gardens of St James’s Square these days. An isolated set…

Riot act

Where better for Spectator Life to meet Max Irons, star of The Riot Club, Lone Scherfig’s film loosely based on…

Max Irons as the likeable Miles

Buller Bull

Spoiler alert: the first five minutes of The Riot Club are so dreadful that you’ll wish you hadn’t gone. It…

Madeline Weinrib’s New York loft

Pattern Recognition

I am lucky enough to work at House & Garden, where photographs of houses much more sophisticated than my own…

Gohar Dashti, ‘Today’s Life And War #5’, 2008

Between two worlds

For anyone in the art world, one of the places to be this month is Istanbul, which is fast becoming…

Don’t reach for the stars

‘Meeting Kylie at her intimate gig,’ runs the Mastercard ad. ‘Priceless.’ Wrong: vaguely unfulfilling. And that’s at best. At worst…

Left: Lod floor mosaic, late 3rd century. Centre: plaster bust of Alexander Pope by Louis-François Roubiliac, c. 1760. Right: Jewish embroideries c. 1700

Full house

At the heart of a turreted manor in Buckinghamshire, the young man sits alone, concentrating on building his house of cards.…

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Belle Fleur

Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s first glimpse of her character in the British film Belle came on a postcard. It was of a…

The Rooftop Film Club on top of the Bussey Building in Peckham

Moving pictures

For a little while in the middle of the last decade, I was proud to be able to call myself…

Peaches Geldof

Peaches and me

One of the first things I told her was that I knew very little of her back story, and Peaches…

Trouble Building

On the first-floor landing of my new house stood Martin the structural engineer, giving an inch-wide crack the sort of…

Perfectly Suited

The last time I had seen Peter Mandelson had been at a dinner given by Evgeny Lebedev. This was at…

Out & About

1. Fera, Mayfair Fera, designed by Guy Oliver, is Claridge’s star vehicle for Michelin-starred Simon Rogan. The name means ‘wild’…

The Wish List

Clockwise from left: Luminor Submersible 1950 3 Days Automatic Titanio, £6,800, Panerai; Grande Seconde SW Acier, £11,600, Jaquet Droz; Annual…

Dancing on the edge

Mikhail Baryshnikov is annoyed with himself. When we meet, it’s at the world premiere of his play The Old Woman,…

Hot Scots

Rose Leslie Though the housemaid she played in Downton Abbey left to become a secretary during the first series, Rose…

‘Sometimes I think I must have done a deal with the devil’

In Page Eight, the sophisticated 2011 spy drama written by David Hare, the MI5 agent Johnny Worricker — played by…