Snapshot: ‘Three Dancers’ (1958) by Michael Ayrton

In 1888 Vincent Van Gogh cut off his ear and Horatio Bottomley founded the Financial Times. On the FT’s 125th anniversary, we can celebrate what has endured – and what has changed for the better. In 1946 a new managing director was appointed: Lord Drogheda, a man who understood that there are other gods than Mammon. He was passionate about music; arts reviews started to appear squished between items about the postwar housing crisis. On his watch, too, the office walls began to be hung with work by British artists of the time, and we have him to thank for the lyrical William Roberts above the photocopier, the William Scott lithograph above the production desk, a questionable Edward Burra opposite the Money section, a perky John Minton, a stern Keith Vaughan and more. By the standards of today’s corporate collections the FT’s is very modest indeed, but this – Michael Ayrton’s “Three Dancers”, probably painted c1958 – cannot fail to improve the mood on a grey Monday.

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