The Mail on Sunday - Event : 2019-05-05

BOOKS : 25 : 25


books Nick curtis theatre What Blest Genius Andrew McConnell Stott WW Norton £16.99 ★★★★★ SOaNe’S MaNOr GOeS FULL CIrCLe Soane himself walk out of the neoclassic­al pile and go for a wander around Walpole Park (originally Pitzhanger’s gardens). As if that weren’t enough, an adjacent building – where the kitchen block once stood – is now an art gallery. Its first exhibition features a set of mirror sculptures by Anish Kapoor (until August 18), sure to appeal to adults and children alike. All in all, then, a visit to Ealing comes highly recommende­d. There’s a rediscover­ed gem in its midst. Much ado about Shakespear­e education – with the aim of ‘bringing Scotland to the world, and the world to Scotland’. Its galleries cover the sweep of human civilisati­on, with areas of special focus on Scotland. Exhibits range from a James Watt steam engine to Dolly the sheep (cloned at the University of Edinburgh and now preserved via taxidermy). At no point do things get bogged down in modern politics. The Scotland represente­d here is one of centuries-long importance on the global stage – far bigger than current concerns about Brexit and independen­ce. One suspects there’ll be many more than 2.2million visitors to the museum in 2019 – and very few will leave disappoint­ed. Alastair Smart • 25

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