David Hockney at the Royal Academy

David Hockney 3 (c) David Parry

David Hockney at the Royal Academy of Arts (c) David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts

Whether you like him or not David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the twentieth century. An exhibition of 82 portraits and one still life (fruit) is currently on show in the Sackler Wing of the Royal Academy, running initially alongside the summer exhibition. The portraits are of his friends rather than people one might instantly recognise although some are well known figures in the world of art. I personally like seeing portraits of people I can relate to or at least recognise.

Hockney is prolific in his work, painting over 90 canvasses in the summer of 2013 with the majority of these on show. The exhibition runs until 2 October, 2016.

key 55 - Barry Humphries

David Hockney
Barry Humphries, 26th, 27th, 28th March 2015
Acrylic on canvas
121.9 x 91.4 cm
(c) David Hockney
Photo credit: Richard Schmidt


The Sackler Wing,

Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD.

T. 020 7300 8090


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Luxury Hotel in Umbria

Park Hotel Al Cappuccini

camera del chiostro superior (1)rItaly’s hotel star rating is very confusing. This, I was reliably informed, is largely due to the Italian tax system where-by the benefits of being five star carries with it a hefty tax. The Hotel Park Al Cappuccini must be the chicest hotel in Umbria and yet it only has a four star rating. It is undoubtedly classier than the five star hotels I visited. Also confusing is that despite its size and the fact that it has ninety-two bedrooms, it is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

When I arrived there was a meeting of Lamborghini cars. Lined up in the car park of the hotel, each car was of a different colour so perhaps it was a corporate event. Whatever I was only able to see bedrooms in the new extension which, while very nice, didn’t look as stylish as the photographs of those in the main part of the hotel, a restored 17th century monastery.

At night with one of several Lamborghini

At night with one of several Lamborghini cars

The hotel minutes from the town of Gubbio, is situated within a park, and oozes chicness. Spacious lounges, large open fireplaces, and precious tapestries and paintings adorn the walls alongside contemporary works of art.

IMG_0580The health centre and spa is a big complex using the holistic principles of nature with a water park that includes countercurrent swimming, and hydro-massage areas as well a children’s pool. Guests also have the use of a high tech gym, tennis court, mini-soccer pitch and mountain bikes.

Park Hotel Al Cappuccini,

Gubbio, Umbria


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Bloomsbury Group Exhibition in Bath

Vanessa Bell by Duncan Grant

Vanessa Bell by Duncan Grant

The exhibition A Room of Their Own: Lost Bloomsbury Interiors, a collection of items from the Bloomsbury Group, is on at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath until September 4.

The exhibition celebrates Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) and Duncan Grants’ passionate approach to arts and crafts, as they regarded the various disciplines of equal status to painting. The artists not only produced paintings and fine art but also designed and decorated ceramics, furniture, fabric and rugs. Their artistic venture began in 1913 with the formation of the Omega Workshops, and between the First and Second World Wars people queued up to have their homes decorated in the Bloomsbury style. Sadly a lot of the work was destroyed by accident or through bombing during the Second World War. The only major decorative scheme to survive, and a ‘must-see’ for anyone interested in the Bloomsbury Group, is the home of Bell and Grant at Charleston in East Sussex (open April to November).

During the exhibition talks and lunchtime tours are being held on Thursdays to 11 August between 12.30 and 1pm which are free to ticket holders.

Painted Gramophone by Dora Carrington

Painted Gramophone by Dora Carrington

Painted Corner Cupboard by Duncan Grant

Painted Corner Cupboard by Duncan Grant

Victoria Art Gallery by Pulteney Bridge,
Bath BA2 4AT.
T 01225 477233

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Fashioning a Reign at Buckingham Palace

State Rooms

State Rooms

The Queen is off on her Summer holidays to Balmoral in Scotland and the public are able, from today until 2 October, to tread the royal carpets, and enjoy the beauty of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace. You can read a full review at: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2016/07/23/buckingham-palace/

Coronation Dress

Coronation Dress

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Slide opens with Speeds up to 15 miles an hour


A slide has been incorporated into the Arcelor Mittal Orbit the continually looping tower at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Orbit, the sculpture designed by Sir Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond, is located within the 560 acres of parkland at Stratford in London.

Measuring 178 metres the slide is the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide. Created by Carsten Holler in conjunction with Kapoor, participants will twist and turn 12 times in their descent which includes a tight corkscrew section. In the 40 second trip, riders are expected to reach speeds of up to 15 miles an hour.

To ride the slide visitors need to buy a £5.00 slide ticket in addition to the £17 adult ticket (concessions available).

Accessed by two high speed lifts, the Orbit has viewing galleries which have views as far away as 20 miles across London. Screens allow visitors to learn about key sights across the Capital. Two quirky mirrors flip and twist the horizon. Visitors are encouraged to walk down the 455 steps which spiral around the central column. Fortunately, the Orbit also has wheelchair access.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is spread across 560 acres of parkland which includes waterways, and sporting venues. A vibrant arts and events programme adds interest to a visit. Access, if coming by train or tube, is via the Stratford Shopping Mall which has lots of open air cafes.



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Tate Modern extension Opens



The newly expanded Tate Modern, the gallery of modern and contemporary art, opened on 17 June with free live performances, new commissions, and a host of special events. Three weeks of live art will animate the displays. The Switch House is the new extension of the Tate Modern on the site of the old Bankside Power Station, and increases the size of the Museum by 60% offering a   variety of new experiences. The collection is now more diverse and includes photography, performance, and film as well as more work by women artists.

The free collection displays 800 works by over 300 artists from more than 50 countries. The new displays tell a broader story of modern and contemporary art over the last 100 years. They range from the subterranean concrete Tanks, the first permanent museum space dedicated to live art, to new spaces for learning, and a panoramic public viewing terrace on level 10. The Tanks will host new performance commissions every day from 17 June to 3 July 2016 highlighting the place of live art in the 21st century museum.

Digital technology is now fully integrated with interactive spaces, a new app, a timeline of Modern Art, touch screen and a digital drawing bar as well a series of weekly short films. From September, Tate Exchange, an ambitious ‘open experiment’ is taking place over nine months. 50 organisations will be participating in Tate Modern’s creative process running events and projects on site, using art as a way of addressing wider issues in the world around us.

In the Boiler House, four displays offer different approaches to modern art, each spanning 1900 to the present day. They explore art history, demonstrating vibrant and internationally interconnected art scenes and the shared concerns of artists across history and geography.

In the Switch House the four displays explore how art became active, starting in the 1960s when artists began forging a dynamic new relationship with audiences.



Sunday – Thursday 10.00 – 18.00    Friday and Saturday  10.00 – 22.00

Bankside, London SE1 9TG

http://www.tate.org.uk/modern  T. 020 7887 8888

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Gulet sailing in Bodrum


Turkey is suffering dreadfully from the migrant issue but it’s good news for holiday- makers. Hotels at every level have had to lower their prices considerably to attract visitors.

Read a full account of my trip to Bodrum from Saturday June 4 on http://www.justabouttravel.net/2016/06/04/bodrum/

I would never have imagined that I would enjoy gulet sailing. Being a natural red-head with fair skin, keeping out of the sun is a must. I was delighted, on my first experience of gulet sailing in Bodrum, to find that the yachts have areas that are covered by canopies. This meant that I could lounge around on comfortable seating, even stretch out, and enjoy the weather while at the same time, be sheltered from the strong rays of the sun.


Barbaros Yachting has a range of yachts from the small, intimate to the larger ,grander ones. I joined a day cruise on the 33m Afroditi. Although I wasn’t sleeping on board, I was able to look at a couple of the cabins, of which there were seven. They were surprising well fitted, with enough space for a double bed, and quite luxurious with en-suite shower rooms. The back area where I made myself comfortable, and where we ate lunch at a long table covered with a tablecloth, had several loungers.

The handmade gulets, which are wooden, are built locally in the traditional manner. We sailed past the boatyard as we left Bodrum. The bonus of being on a comparatively small vessel is that it was able to moor in secluded coves and, of course, with the weather in the late 20s° it was wonderful to be able to swim and snorkel. Although we didn’t have the opportunity to take advantage of all that was on offer, some gulets also have windsurfing, canoe, and water sports equipment on board.

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