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Mechanical magic

Now here’s a thing – an extraordinary thing. The so-called Peacock Clock is an unbelievably elaborate 18th century automaton that once belonged to Empress Catherine the Great (who seems, by the way, to have acquired more than her fair share of covetable tchotchkes), and is housed in


Dali’s Dream of Venus

In 1939, eccentric master of surrealism Salvador Dalí was invited to create a pavilion for the New York World Fair. And the results were gloriously bonkers. Dissauded from utilising the “exploding giraffes” he’d originally planned as a set-piece, Dalí had to settle instead for a concrete grotto housing a madcap surrealist


Historical hotties

You know how most old portrait photographs – and I’m talking really old ones – look like they’re totally lost in time? As if the subjects belonged to another era entirely (which, of course, they did), but that the faces, too, seem remote and inaccessible? Well some


Curiosity cabinet: hidden wonders

Prepare to be both thrilled and awed. And not just once, but many times. This extraordinary piece of furniture is a cabinet of its own curiosities, packed with so many hidden details – drawers that spring open at the touch of a button; a painting easel that