Art: Damned Nonsense

For the first time in ten years, Britain's Royal Academy held a banquet last week to celebrate the opening of its annual summer show, and broadcast the traditionally stately doings over BBC. Amid the clinking of port glasses and the deep, decorous buzz of voices, radio listeners heard the sonorous accents of the toastmaster calling upon His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury and others for appropriate little speeches. At last, R.A. President Sir Alfred Munnings rose to speak, and almost broke up the party.

Red-faced Sir Alfred, 70, had made his reputation as an able painter of fine horseflesh. More recently, he...

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