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National Gallery

The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900; the Gallery is an exempt charity, a non-departmental public body of the Department for Digital, Culture and Sport. Its collection belongs to the government on behalf of the British public, entry to the main collection is free of charge, it is among the most visited art museums in the world, after the Louvre, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unlike comparable museums in continental Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection, it came into being when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein in 1824. After that initial purchase the Gallery was shaped by its early directors, notably Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, by private donations, which today account for two-thirds of the collection.

The collection is encyclopaedic in scope. It used to be claimed that this was one of the few national galleries that had all its works on permanent exhibition, but this is no longer the case; the present building, the third to house the National Gallery, was designed by William Wilkins from 1832 to 1838. Only the façade onto Trafalgar Square remains unchanged from this time, as the building has been expanded piecemeal throughout its history. Wilkins's building was criticised for the perceived weaknesses of its design and for its lack of space; the Sainsbury Wing, a 1991 extension to the west by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, is a notable example of Postmodernist architecture in Britain. The current Director of the National Gallery is Gabriele Finaldi; the late 18th century saw the nationalisation of royal or princely art collections across mainland Europe. The Bavarian royal collection opened to the public in 1779, that of the Medici in Florence around 1789, the Museum Français at the Louvre was formed out of the former French royal collection in 1793.

Great Britain, did not emulate the continental model, the British Royal Collection remains in the sovereign's possession today. In 1777 the British government had the opportunity to buy an art collection of international stature, when the descendants of Sir Robert Walpole put his collection up for sale; the MP John Wilkes argued for the government to buy this "invaluable treasure" and suggested that it be housed in "a noble gallery... to be built in the spacious garden of the British Museum" Nothing came of Wilkes's appeal and 20 years the collection was bought in its entirety by Catherine the Great. A plan to acquire 150 paintings from the Orléans collection, brought to London for sale in 1798 failed, despite the interest of both the King and the Prime Minister, Pitt the Younger; the twenty-five paintings from that collection now in the Gallery, including "NG1", arrived by a variety of routes. In 1799 the dealer Noel Desenfans offered a ready-made national collection to the British government.

This offer was declined and Bourgeois bequeathed the collection to his old school, Dulwich College, on his death. The collection opened in 1814 in Britain's first purpose-built public gallery, the Dulwich Picture Gallery; the Scottish dealer William Buchanan and the collector Joseph Count Truchsess, both formed art collections expressly as the basis for a future national collection, but their respective offers were declined. Following the Walpole sale many artists, including James Barry and John Flaxman, had made renewed calls for the establishment of a National Gallery, arguing that a British school of painting could only flourish if it had access to the canon of European painting; the British Institution, founded in 1805 by a group of aristocratic connoisseurs, attempted to address this situation. The members lent works to exhibitions that changed annually, while an art school was held in the summer months. However, as the paintings that were lent were mediocre, some artists resented the Institution and saw it as a racket for the gentry to increase the sale prices of their Old Master paintings.

One of the Institution's founding members, Sir George Beaumont, Bt, would play a major role in the National Gallery's foundation by offering a gift of 16 paintings. In 1823 another major art collection came on the market, assembled by the deceased John Julius Angerstein. Angerstein was a Russian-born émigré banker based in London. On 1 July 1823 George Agar Ellis, a Whig politician, proposed to the House of Commons that it purchase the collection; the appeal was given added impetus by Beaumont's offer, which came with two conditions: that the government buy Angerstein's collection, that a suitable building was to be found. The unexpected repayment of a war debt by Austria moved the government to buy Angerstein's collection, for £57,000; the National Gallery opened to the public on 10 May 1824, housed in Angerstein's former townhouse at No. 100 Pall Mall. Angerstein's paintings were joined in 1826 by those from Beaumont's collection, in 1831 by t

Karthik Muralidharan

Karthik Muralidharan is an Indian economist who serves as a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, where he holds the Tata Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Economics. His primary research interests include development economics, public economics, labour economics. Moreover, Muralidharan is co-chair of the education programme of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. After growing up in India, Karthik Muralidharan earned am A. B. in economics from Harvard University in 1998, followed by an M. Phil. in economics from Cambridge University in 1999, a Ph. D. in economics again from Harvard University in 2007. Since his graduation, Muralidharan has worked at the University of California, San Diego, first as an assistant professor, as associate professor. In line with his research activities, Muralidharan is affiliated with a number of economic research institutions, including J-PAL, Innovations for Poverty Action, NBER, BREAD, the Center for Effective Global Action, the ifo Institute for Economic Research, the International Growth Centre.

In terms of professional service, he holds editorships with the Journal of Development Economics, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, India Policy Forum, in addition to refereeing for various academic journals in economics. Karthik Muralidharan's research focuses on education and social protection, the measurement of the quality of public service delivery, programme evaluation, improvements to the effectiveness of public spending. In particular, Muralidharan has contributed to the research of public servant absenteeism in developing countries, with a focus on teachers and health workers, e.g. finding that on average ca. 19% of teachers and 35% of health workers were absent on a given work day in a sample of developing countries, that among those present many weren't working. Focusing on teacher absenteeism in India, further findings include that higher pay isn't correlated with higher presence, presence decreases in age and rank, that absenteeism cannot be explained by teachers being outsiders to the communities in which they are teaching.

In another study on education, Muralidharan found that conditioning teacher pay on their performance for two years was effective in increasing students' performance in math and language tests by 0.27 and 0.17 standard deviations in schools in Andhra Pradesh. He is ranked among the top 6% of economists on IDEAS/RePEc. Webpage of Karthik Muralidharan on the website of the University of California, San Diego

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

Paphiopedilum rothschildianum known as the Gold of Kinabalu orchid or Rothschild's slipper orchid, is a large sized clear-leafed species of orchid. It blooms with large flowers, it is unique in the Corypetalum group by holding its petals horizontally, giving the flower a distinctive appearance. The peak flowering period is from April to May. Paphiopedilum rothschildianum is found in the rainforests around Mount Kinabalu in northern Borneo, at elevations from 500 to 1200 meters above the sea, it grows as a terrestrial in ultramafic soil but is found growing as a lithophyte in leaf-litter on ultramafic cliffs near a river. The flower has a green and red spotted petal, which attracts any parasitic flies that think it is a crowd of the aphids they lay eggs on; as they try to do so, the flies brush against the stigma, releasing any collected pollen, getting some more from the anther. Braem, G. J.. The Genus Paphiopedilum: Natural History and Cultivation. 1. Kissimmee, Florida: Botanical Publishers. Rodrigues, K. F..

"Isolation and characterization of 24 microsatellite loci in Paphiopedilum rothschildianum, an endangered slipper orchid". Conservation Genetics. 10: 127–30. Doi:10.1007/s10592-008-9533-1. Chyuam-Yih, NG. "In vitro multiplication of the rare and endangered slipper orchid, Paphiopedilum rothschildianum". African Journal of Biotechnology. 9. Nash, Ned. "Paphiopedilum Culture for Beginners — 3". American Orchid Society Bulletin. 54. Media related to Rotschild's slipper orchid at Wikimedia Commons Data related to Rotschild's slipper orchid at Wikispecies http://www.orchidspecies.com/paphrothchildianum.htm