I'm about halfway through The Portland Vase and it's REALLY good! I only had a few days to read it - my book club meets tomorrow night - and I was worried I might not finish, but I'm probably going to finish it tonight.
Basically, it's the story of all the people who came into contact with the vase - it's now in the British Museum - from collectors to connoisseurs, including popes, artists, poets, aristocracy and eccentrics (which could really describe most of the people in the book!). The author has a really nice, conversational style. It's academic, but not dry at all.