Category: Arts:Visual Arts

Tiffany Jenkins talks to key figures about the big ideas rocking the cultural world, charting the trends and dissecting the controversies.

July 10, 2019

Vera Worth’s Schiaparelli

Vera Worth was a good looking shop girl from Bristol, who followed fashion with a passion. In the 1930s, after marrying John, she scrimped and saved to buy a glamorous gown fit for a film star, and wore it to an important company dinner dance. The knockout dress and its jacket were designed by flamboyant designer to the stars, Elsa Schiaparelli. Photographs of Vera in the dress (available on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @behindthemuseum) show her looking fabulous, beaming; onlookers are smiling with pleasure and in amazement. 

After passing her precious garment to her granddaughter, Amanda, who showed it a good time, the ensemble was put up for auction. Vera's Schiaparelli sold at Kerry Taylor’s auction house at the end of 2018. It was bought by the philanthropist Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne where it is now on show, delighting audiences for decades to come. 

Tiffany goes behind the scenes to discover the story of Vera Worth, and her Schiaparelli dress and jacket; the backstory of a museum object on a pedestal. She  visits Kerry Taylor auctions, Vera's granddaughter, Amanda Ellis, and speaks via Skype to Katie Somerville, Senior Curator, Fashion and Textiles, at the National Gallery of Victoria. 



Maison Schiaparelli 

Kerry Taylor auctions

Katie Somerville and the NGV 

Visit us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @behindthemuseum to see pictures of Vera and her Schiaparelli dress. 

June 7, 2019

The Last Colonial Museum

The Africa Museum in Brussels reopened at the end of 2018 after a 5 year renovation. Tiffany and Fiammetta Rocco, culture correspondent at The Economist,  tour the museum with its Director-General, Guido Gryseels, and assess its attempts to come to terms with a horrific past. 

The Africa Museum (officially called the Royal Museum for Central Africa) grew out of the Brussels International Exposition of 1897. The Colonial Pavilion, located at King Leopold II of Belgium’s estate, formed the basis of the museum. It was intended to celebrate his achievements in what was then the Congo Free State, which he ran as his private estate. In 1909, when Leopold died, the museum was transferred to the Belgian state, and opened a year later as the Museum of Belgian Congo. 

Tiffany, Fiammetta and Guido talk about the museum’s attempt to tell the story of Belgian rule in the Congo, which was unparalleled in its cruelty and mass killing. Under the reign of terror instituted by Leopold, as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, according to Adam Hochschild) lost their lives.

 ► GUESTS   

Fiammetta Rocco’s article on the Africa Museum The Struggle to Tell the Story of Colonialism  Follow her on Twitter @FiammettaRocco

Guido Gryseel’s biography 

The website for Africa Museum  Twitter: @africamuseumbe YouTube: channel 


Take a look at Freddy Tsimba’s website and see more of his artwork: 

Here, Aimé Mpane talks about his installation Congo: Shadow of the Shadow (2005), on loan to the LACMA from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art. The piece uses the play of light and shadow, to explore the re-shaping of power during the colonial period in Congo


Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa is the book on the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908, as well as the large-scale atrocities committed during that period.



Signature tune: Nick Vander, "Galaxy I" from the album Black Kopal 

1.  "Congo Spirit" (Underscore version) - By Abbas Premjee
Licensed from
2. “Mupepe” from the album Adventures in Afropea

Performed by Zap Mama
Written by Marie Daulne
(p) 1991 Crammed Discs
3. Tim Hart

Track 38 - January's Dream Number Five
Album: Royalty-Free Music Large Collection - (100+ Tracks)
4. Tim Hart
Track 89 - Velvet Carpet Clouding
Album: Royalty-Free Music Large Collection - (100+ Tracks)
5. “Mupepe”
Performed by Zap Mama
Written by Marie Daulne
(p) 1991 Crammed Discs



Behind the Scenes at the Museum is on Twitter & Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum 


Behind the Scenes at the Museum is written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore.

April 25, 2019

Sackler sponsorship: should art be on the side of the angels?

Tiffany is joined by the art critic and TV documentary maker, Waldemar Januszczak, the writer Michael Savage (Grumpy Art Historian), and the ex-museum director, Tom Freudenheim (Old Fart Thoughts On Museums) to discuss whether arts sponsorship should be ethical. 

They reflect on the significance of the decision taken in March 2019 by the National Portrait Gallery and the Sackler Trust not to proceeded with a £1m donation, questioning to what extent we are seeing a tipping point in arts funding. They assess to what extent the politicisation of museums is a new phenomena, or if it has been part of the cultural world for decades, and argue over whether it's a positive or negative development, before reflecting on where vital money for the art world will come from, including... museum charging. 


Waldemar Januszczak,  is an art critic and and television documentary maker. He tweets at @JANUSZCZAK.  You can read his Sunday Times article compelling the dropping of Sackler sponsorship here: The ugly truth about art: why Nan Goldin is taking on the Sacklers 

Michael Savage blogs here, as Grumpy Art Historian.  He tweets at @GrumpyArt

Tom Freudenheim can be found writing in the Wall Street Journal and here on OFTOM   He has a twitter account, but doesn't really tweet  @TomFreudenheim



Find out more about Pain (Prescription Addition Intervention Now) organised by Nan Goldin to address the opioid crisis, here. 

Read Adrian Ellis, director of AEA Consulting, in the Art Newspaper, on increased public scrutiny of museum boards in a social media age, which nicely sets this issue in a broader context. 



Signature tune:  

Nick Vander

Black Kopal - Galaxy I

The rest: 

Tim Hart - Royalty-Free Music Large Collection (100+ Tracks) - Track 24 Ecstatic Waltz

Tim Hart - Royalty-Free Music Large Collection (100+ Tracks) - Track 40 Keys



Behind the Scenes at the Museum is on Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum & Twitter: @BehindtheMuseum


Behind the Scenes at the Museum is written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore. 



April 9, 2019

Everything you didn’t know about the Renaissance Nude, with Jill Burke

Tiffany Jenkins talks to Jill Burke, a prize-winning researcher in Italian Renaissance art history, senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, and associate editor of Renaissance Studies, about the Renaissance Nude. 

They discuss the hidden influences and impact of the Renaissance nude upon the social and political reality of Italy – why did representations of the nude proliferate in this period? What kind of society produced them? What did they mean? What was the difference between the male and female nude – and who was doing the looking?


Jill’s fabulous book, ‘The Italian Renaissance Nude’, which, incredibly, is the first scholarly monograph to focus on the inception of the Italian Renaissance Nude is available from Yale University Press. 

Jill blogs here:

Find out more about the RA’s exhibition the Renaissance Nude here:


Signature tune: 

Nick Vander - Galaxy I - Black kopal - 20190123 1206

The rest: 

Artist: Liam Thomas Title: No Time Listen on YouTube:

Music provided by HearWeGo - (Royalty free)


The image used for the episode is Saint Sebastian by Agnolo Bronzino 1533 & is on loan to the RA from the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. 

 Further images discussed in this episode are available on Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum 

Twitter: @BehindtheMuseum


Behind the Scenes at the Museum is written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore. 




March 22, 2019

The Maqdala Treasures and the Sarr-Savoy Report on Repatriation


The Maqdala Treasures and the Sarr-Savoy Report on Repatriation

Tiffany talks to the director of the V&A in London, Tristram Hunt, about who owns culture, and what to do with looted objects. They take a close look at a stunning gold crown, seized by the British Army during the 1868 Abyssinian Expedition (modern day Ethiopia), and discuss President Macron’s commissioned Sarr-Savoy report on returning African artefacts acquired in the colonial era.  



INSTAGRAM - @BehindtheMuseum  TWITTER - @BehindtheMuseum


Find out more about the Maqdala treasures, on the V&A blog:

Find out about AFROMET - The Association for the Return of The Maqdala Ethiopian Treasures:

Read the Sarr-Savoy Report ‘The Restitution of African Cultural Heritage, Toward a New Relational Ethics’:


Signature tune:  

Nick Vander

Black Kopal - Galaxy I

The rest: 

Lobo Loco -

Just a Moment (ID 944), Psychedelic Blues 1 (ID 997), Sleeping Dragons 

(ID 1018)

Creative Commons License (by-nc-nd)

Tim Hart

Royalty - Free Music Large Collection (100+ Tracks) - 

Track 25 - The Eleventh Sun

Track 91 - Walking with the Night

Track 81 - The Bridge


Behind the Scenes at the Museum is presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore.

Twitter: @BehindtheMuseum 

Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum