Walking down the marble steps, a large arm stretches out toward me and I instantly recognise him from his photo. Lawrence Osborne is a tall man, with elegant dress and a deep, warm voice. “Should I wear a jacket for this?” he asks, and we look outside, where Florence is soaking in a hard rain. He has just come from his home in Bangkok, where, in early monsoon season, the rain is worse, he says. We grab a hotel umbrella and head over to the Gabinetto Vieusseux at Palazzo Strozzi.