Today is the bicentennary of the National Gallery in London. As my former workplace, and a constant in my professional life for more than a decade, this resonates for me. The Gallery’s collection of old master and early modern Western painting in the world, perhaps the finest if measured by overall quality — it is truly a rarefied selection. It is also one of the UK’s great public institutions, founded by and for the people, it has remained open daily throughout most of its existence (with the exception of the Covid-19 lockdown periods) and provided free access to the public for most of that time.

To paraphrase one of its former director, Kenneth Clark, it has been, and remains, one of the civilising forces of the Western imagination.”

I believe this light show is happening more or less as I write this from my home in Copenhagen, Denmark, to where I’ve happily — but also a little mournfully — returned on a permanent basis.