The Apollo Awards always cover a wide swathe of cultural—and geographical—territory and this year was no exception. Last night (21 November) against a backdrop of classic Modern British portraits in Bonhams’ Bond Street HQ, and with the Apollo editor Thomas Marks a very able MC, the award recipients ranged from the widely acclaimed Raphael: the Drawings at the Ashmolean in Oxford, which scooped the exhibition of the year, to the free art-identifying app Smartify as this year’s best digital innovation.

With endearing self deprecation, the Ashmolean director Alexander Sturgis—who accepted the award on behalf of his curatorial staff who were all away at a Raphael conference in Vienna—confessed to some embarrassment as he paid tribute to the “strength of conviction” of the exhibition’s curator Catherine Whistler, for holding firm against his suggestions to include either paintings or reproductions of paintings, which with hindsight he now realised“almost ruined the exhibition”. Read more