Southwark Fair, 1734. William Hogarth. The sign on the clock tower reads 'The Siege of Troy is Here'. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Entering the ivory tower to investigate the ‘class’ in ‘Classics’.

Petrified: tomb of Robert Cecil in St Etheldreda’s Church, Hatfield. John Norman/Alamy.

The European sculptors behind England’s church memorials.

Landscape, 1889. Auguste Renoir. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Utopian ideas from an era that looked to the future with optimism.

Bather in the Woods (detail), Camille Pissarro, 1895. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A history of the clean body is also a history of societal expectation, technological innovation, class, privacy and spare time.

Henry III with representations of Westminster Abbey and  two church bells, from the ‘Chronicle of England’, by Peter de Langtoft, c.1307-27 © British Library Board/Bridgeman Images.

The complex reign of Henry III, the fourth longest in English history.

Adah Isaacs Menken’s performances  in Mazeppa, 19th century © Bridgeman Images.

Exploring Paris, city of horses.

View of the Apostolic Palace, from St Peter's Square, Rome. All but five papal conclaves since 1455 have been held here. Photo, Giacomo Brogi, c. 1860-c. 1890. Rijksmuseum.

The cultural politics of papal Rome.

Karl Marx Monument, Chemnitz. Wiki Commons.

Tracing Karl Marx’s Jewish ancestry.

A drunkard stands before his poor family and swears by the Holy Bible. Wood-engraving by J. Johnston, c. 1864, after G. Cruikshank. Wellcome Collection.

A richly textured portrait of the living standards of women and children in Victorian Britain.

Niccolò Machiavelli (detail), by Antonio Maria Crespi Castoldi, 17th century © SZ Photo/Scherl/Bridgeman Images.

Discovering Machiavelli’s talent for losing.