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Documenta is an international contemporary art exhibition which takes place every five years in the attractive town of Kassel in Germany, and is one of the most important art events in the world.
For its 14th edition in 2017, the exhibition is twinned with Greece.

My wife, Marina, will be exhibiting in Athens at the same time as documenta. I have always loved Marina’s work, to the extent of wanting to buy every piece, and of regretting seeing them going off to various museum collections.

She was recently commissioned to do a portrait of the greatest Greek poet, Constantine Kavafy, who died before WW2.
How could he be represented?
Marina drew her inspiration from the artist’s poems, and created a series of paintings. It is this ensemble of Kavafy-inspired work that will be central to her exhibition in Athens.

Her work, the success it has brought, and the increasing numbers of admirers have made her an unwilling star in Greece. And so I like to say that in our country, I am merely her prince consort, a position that I fnd eminently reposeful.

Royalty

THE BIGGEST SAPPHIRE IN THE WORLD

It is one of the biggest cut sapphires in the world, weighing over 300 carats. It was bought at the end of the19th century by the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia, a passionate jewelry collector. It was passed on to her daughter-in-law, the Grand Duchess Cyril. After the 1917 Revolution, needing money, she sold…

Royalty

THE PIANIST AND THE TWO SISTERS

It was during, or at the end of the World War. A young Austrian pianist arrived on a Greek island. He was handsome, and alone. He was talented. The two sisters belonged to the island’s aristocracy. Among their numerous properties, they prefered one they had called “happiness”. It was situated on top of a hill…

Royalty

YANNI’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER

Yanni is the head of the largest family on the island of Spetses. He is also one of the most renowned butterfly experts in the Balkans. He is a contemporary of mine, and a friend. His family has an interesting history. In the early 19th century, his ancestors were shipowners. But at the time, there…

Adventure

ANTIKYTHERA

Having woken at one o’clock in the morning, we speed off in a Jeep to Diakofti. The ferry from Athens arrives shortly afterwards. We step on board and meet Fivos’ father, Aris Tsaravopoulos, the archaeologist, and my old friend Adonis, an erudite amateur archaeologist. We settle down in a vast, almost deserted lounge area and…

Royalty

ENGLAND FAMILY PORTRAITS PART II

Princess Mary of Cambridge: known as “Fat Mary” within the family. She was the mother of Queen Mary. Queen Alexandra of England on the day of her coronation with page-boys carrying her train. Queen Alexandra of England taking a photograph with her Kodak of my father, Christopher, with Marie Bonaparte, the Grand Duke Dimitri with…

Adventure

THE WICKED LADY FERRERS

Andrew Perry was furious. On one December morning in 1970, Perry, the owner of the only stable in the region that rented its horses out to holiday-goers, discovered that somebody had broken into his stable during the night, saddled his black horse and went riding with it, exhausting it to such an extent that when…

Adventure

THE STONE OF DESTINY

There is an object that goes by the name of the ‘stone of destiny’. It is a rather large, dark grey stone that has been carved into a block and has no ornamentation or inscription on it. It had been custom to use this stone during the coronation ceremonies of the old Kings of Scotland…

Royalty

ENGLAND FAMILY PORTRAITS PART ONE

    Alexandra of Denmark, Princess of Wales, future Queen of England. Queen Alexandra of England with her daughter, Princess Victoria. Behind her is her great friend Hélène of Orléans, the Duchess of Aosta.   Several of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren. Around the eldest, Princess Alice, the future Grand Duchess of Hesse.   Opening of paliament…

Adventure

THE MAN WHO WANTED TO BLOW UP THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT

My number one hero is a man called Guy Fawkes. He was an Englishman who, at the start of the 17th century, quite simply wanted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, along with all the members and the king, present for the opening session. Alas, he failed, because the plot was revealed…

Mysteries

The Burial of Anne Boleyn

No historic monument in Britain is more visited than the Tower of London. Millions of tourists flock there to see the Crown Jewels, the Yeomen, or « Beefeaters », in their unique renaissance uniforms, and the famous ravens who, as legend would have it, have witnessed so many historical events throughout the centuries.Before becoming a museum, the…

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