May Bank Holiday Little Venice Cavalcade



A great way to spend the three days of the May Bank Holiday weekend is by wandering along the waterways of Little Venice as the Inland Waterways Association organises their annual gathering of canal boats. Starting on Saturday from 10 am around 130 boats will be moored along the stretch of the Grand Union Canal known as Little Venice between Blomfield Road, Warwick Avenue and Warwick Crescent for the Canalway Cavalcade.

Organised events include the opening ceremony at 2pm on the Saturday followed by a themed pageant of decorated boats. On Sunday, there is a Teddy Bear’s Picnic at 3pm while in the evening, starting at 8pm, music accompanies a procession of illuminated boats.

Many of the waterborne homes will be dressed up for the pageant, and visitors can expect plenty of very British fun including morris dancers and a real ale tent. There will also be lots of stalls selling a diverse selection of items, live music, children’s activities including face painting and puppets, and stalls selling food and refreshments. The restaurants by Paddington basin will also be open.


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Russia and the Arts: The Age of Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky at London’s National Portrait Gallery

Anton Chekov by Iosif Braz 1898

Anton Chekov by Iosif Braz 1898

The most important exhibition of Russian portraits to take place at a British museum has opened at London’s National Portrait Gallery as part of an unprecedented cultural exchange with Moscow’s State Tretyakov Gallery which will simultaneously display a selection of portraits of famous Britons.

Twenty six portraits of key figures from a golden age of the arts in Russia 1867-1914 include 22 which have never been seen before in this country.

The exhibition focuses on portraits of outstanding writers, actors, musicians, and patrons who helped create the vibrant cultural scene. Of concern was the need to develop Russian traditions in art, music and literature rather than imitate Western European practice, and during that period, Russian writers acquired unparalleled respect.

Portraits include the novelists Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Tolstoy together with composers Petr Tchaikovsky, Anton Rubinstein, and Rimsky-Korsakov. Excerpts of their music can be heard in the background. Patrons nurtured the talented, and amassed Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, opening dialogues between French modernism and Russian art.

A series of lectures is being held in conjunction with the exhibition, which runs until 26 June, 2016.

Ivan Morozov by Valentin Serov 1910

Ivan Morozov by Valentin Serov 1910

National Portrait Gallery, St. Martin’s Place, London WC2H OHE
Tickets without donation Full price £5/ Concessions £4 (Free for Members and Patrons)
Open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday: 10.00 – 18.00 (Gallery closure commences at 17.50) Late Opening: Thursday, Friday: to 21.00
General information: 0207 306 0055

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Botticelli Reimagined




Venus by Sandro Botticelli

A major exhibition of Botticelli Reimagined opens at the V&A on March 5.

The exhibition explores the way artists and designers from the pre-Raphaelites to the present day have used Botticelli’s artistry, and responded to his legacy. More than any other Old Master he inspired and continues to inspire modern and contemporary art. His work has influenced the arts, business and manufacturing.

Spanning six centuries, the exhibition is split into three parts, starting with the present day, and then tracing the artist’s rediscovery in the nineteenth century by the pre-Raphaelites, ending with a display of paintings and drawings executed by either himself or his workshop. Interestingly, only two of his works are signed, and few documented. However his pupils and assistants propagated a recognisable ‘corporate brand’.

Works by well-known artists who were influenced by him are also on show and include Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Andy Warhol; clothes by Dolce & Gabbana, and a film clip from Dr. No showing Ursula Andress emerging from the sea clasping a conch shell. Sadly his most famous paintings the Birth of Venus and Primavera are too fragile to move but can still be seen at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Running until 3 July 2016 events include a conference and workshop which are being held during April and May. Sponsored by Societe Generale.

Admission £15 Tel. 0800 9126961


La Ghirlandata by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

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A Play to Make You think – The Mother extended to March 12

The Mother at The Tricycle Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. C31B3974

Gina McKee is brilliant as The Mother in Florian Zeller’s play at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn. Translated from the original by Christopher Hampton, the Mother follows on from the successful production of The Father, also written by Zeller. The run has been extended to March 12 although a West End transfer has yet to be announced.

Most of us fear the onset of dementia, the loss of faculties either in ourselves or in those close to us. Zeller enjoys unsettling his audience. By repeating the same scenes, which are revealed to have slight variations between them, he aims to undermine our assumption that we fully comprehend what is happening before our eyes.

There is an element of dreams, the sense of games being played, the vague feeling of unease, the sudden gear-change to atmospheres of menace, the idea that one can no longer trust the evidence of one’s eyes or the words of our supposed loved ones.

Brilliantly acted by the entire cast of four, at the end of the play I was not entirely sure what was real and what had been imagined. Unsettling, it leaves open lots of questions for debate.

Tricycle Theatre Box Office 020 7328 1000

The Mother at The Tricycle Theatre. Photo by Mark Douet. C31B3898


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100 years of Vogue Magazine opens at National Portrait Gallery

Alexander McQueen by Tim Walker 2009

Alexander McQueen by Tim Walker 2009

Vogue 100: A Century of Style

Vogue is something of an institution, representing everything that is glamour and style. The magazine is one that many of us, I included, like to look at even if we would never be able to buy, afford or even want to wear the clothes that are modelled within it. 100 years of British Vogue opens at the National Portrait Gallery by London’s Trafalgar Square tomorrow, 11 February. Over 280 prints from the Conde Nast archives are on display and showcase some of the world’s greatest twentieth century fashion photographers. The photographic prints, mounted to look like full size paintings, include many of the world’s most beautiful or iconic people.

Send in the Gowns Linda Evangelista by Demarchelier 1991

Send in the Gowns
Linda Evangelista
by Demarchelier 1991

Vogue was born during the chaos of the First World War when transatlantic shipments of American Vogue were made impossible, and the exhibition is a journey through these 100 years showcasing a panoramic view of a century of style.

Rarely seen photographs include those of the Beatles and Jude Law. Other highlights include a set of prints from Kate Moss’s controversial underwear shoot, a series of Second World War photographs by Vogue’s official war correspondent, and vintage prints by the first professional fashion photographer Baron de Meyer. An original copy of Vogue, from every year of its existence, is also on display.

A series of events under the banner of Late Shift, as after hours, is being held throughout the exhibition which includes a series of talks and Friday night films. Weekend workshops, half-term activities, and workshops geared to young people 14 to 21 have also been organised.

The exhibition opens from 10.00 to 18.00. Late opening Thursday and Friday to 21.00. runs to 22 May 2016 T. 0303 123 7344
Tickets £17.00/Concessions £15.50 (add £2.00 for a donation)

The exhibition moves to Manchester Art Gallery from 24 June to 30 October, 2016.

Gold Kate - Kate Moss by Nick Knight

Gold Kate – Kate Moss
by Nick Knight

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Free Theatre Exhibition at London’s V&A


The original mask worn by Michael Crawford
in the Phantom of the Opera

A free exhibition Curtain Up opens tomorrow 9 February at the Victoria & Albert Museum celebrating 40 years of the Olivier Theatre Awards. Encompassing the world’s leading theatrical centres of both London’s West End and New York’s Broadway, the Awards which recognise excellence in the professional theatre take place on April 3, 2016.

Hidden away on the third floor of the museum by the Learning Centre Curtain Up includes film clips, posters, photographs, costumes, stage set models, film and much more. Interviews with stars who have won Awards can be listened to on earphones, and buttons can be pushed to explore ways lighting can be used.

One of the aims of the exhibition is to encourage young people to consider the theatre as a profession, and demonstrates the many facets that go into putting on a play. Involved in the process are, amongst others, set designers, lighting electricians, computer specialists, costumiers, and make-up artists as well as the actors, producers and directors.

The exhibition incorporates part of an already existing exhibition of posters and costumes, and demonstrates how the theatre has changed. The use of technology is demonstrated with clips from The Curious incident of the Dog in the Night time. Many of the items on display have been provided by the celebrities who wore them including the original mask worn by Michael Crawford in the Phantom of the Opera.

The display runs until 31 August when it moves to America opening at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Centre on 19th October, and running until June 2017.

Alongside the exhibition SOLT (Society of London Theatre) is running an event and education programme with activities taking place at the V&A and throughout the West End.

V&A open 10.00 – 17.45 and until 22.00 on Fridays. T. 020 7942 2000


Dame Helen Mirren’s costume for Elizabeth II
in the Audience

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Latest Must See Exhibition – Painting the Modern Garden Monet to Matisse

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), Nymphéas (Waterlilies), 1914-1915, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund, © artist or other rights holder, 59.16

Claude Monet (French, 1840-1926), Nymphéas (Waterlilies), 1914-1915, oil on canvas, Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund, © artist or other rights holder, 59.16

2016 Must see Exhibition – Painting the Modern garden: Monet to Matisse

For anyone who loves any aspect of a garden and Impressionist paintings Painting the Modern garden: Monet to Matisse, which opens at the Royal Academy on 30 January is a must-see. The exhibition explores the theme of the garden. Starting with the earliest works of Monet and Renoir, paintings also include Impressionist visions of light and atmosphere, Symbolist evocations of imagined realities, and avant-garde experimentation including sanctuaries of healing.
A quarter of the 120 exhibits are by Monet but there are also paintings by another 50 world famous artists among them Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Munch, and Matisse.
Covering the early 1860s through to the 1920s, the theme of the exhibition deals with the artists’ fascination with the ever-changing horticultural world, which inspired innovation. From the latter part of the nineteenth century, artists began to treat their gardens as outdoor studios, with the paintings showing a wide variety of gardens.
Throughout his life Monet cultivated gardens with several inspired by the Mediterranean. Looking at the colours in these paintings reminded me of my recent visit to Tenerife. The garden at Giverny in France, however was Monet’s greatest creation in both the garden and the paintings that were inspired by it. The final room brings together his triptych of Water Lilies (Agapanthus) for the first time in Europe, the paintings having been sold individually.
As part of the ‘Exhibition on Screen’ series, a film examining the role of the garden in art history will be in cinemas from April 12. Viewers will be able to see some of the gardens together with the artwork they inspired. Interviews with modern artists reveal how the relationship between the artist and the natural world continues to flourish.
Events are being held throughout the exhibition including free lunchtime talks. (Seats need to be reserved.)

The exhibition runs from 30 January – 20 April, 2016 10am – 6pm Fridays to 10pm
£17.60. Children under 16 free. T. 020 7300 8090
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD.

Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911 Oil on canvas, 150 x 225.5 cm On loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY Photo (c) Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York

Joaquin Sorolla, Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911

Oil on canvas, 150 x 225.5 cm

On loan from the Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY

Photo (c) Courtesy of The Hispanic Society of America, New York

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