art and culture

This week… balloons, bobbins and The Blitz


  • Heritage Open Days: The Highlights
    It has been a busy week. The annual festival, whereby heritage locations open their doors to the public for free, is an autumnal treat. Having said that, it’s not all about ancient buildings. Last year, with traditions as the theme, I popped into a family-run coffee roaster and this year I enjoyed talking to an artisan cheesemaker (while indulging a little cheese tasting, of course). …
  • This week… books and Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    In an attempt to focus on the positive and ‘forget about the worries and the strife’ of the world-at-large (apologies for paraphrasing Baloo, but you get the idea), I find there’s a lot to be grateful for. Okay, so there’s a lot of rubbish going on too but, hey, I’m trying here. The bright summer days are metamorphosing into autumnal mellowness. The light is softening …
  • Discover a secret garden this summer
    This week I’ve been enjoying many horticultural delights courtesy of the National Garden Scheme (NGS). The annual summer event provides the opportunity to mosey around private and public gardens in aid of charity. The scheme is so quintessentially English, reminiscent of the beloved village fete an atmosphere fostered by the delicious homemade cakes available. Spoilt for choice at one garden, I indulged in a generous …
  • Review: Out Of The Blue at The Arc
    In the beginning there was Terence Conran, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell, Mary Quant, to name but a few of the innovative mid-century designers, and Tricia Guild. The Designers Guild began in 1970 with Guild opening in a small section of a shop in Chelsea’s King’s Road in 1974. It quickly became synonymous with cutting-edge design, the brand a byword for stylish living. The Guild’s fabrics …
  • Review: moody blooms by Tricia Guild and photography by James Merrell
    Tricia Guild’s new book, moody blooms: designing with nature, is part gardening book, part art catalogue and part interior design manual. The pages explode with colour and present an exploration of the varying forms and energies of different plants as an integral element of a beautifully designed interior. Guild’s designs are influenced by the cyclical life of a twig, leaf or flower from tentative bud …
  • Italian Fashion Brand: Max Mara Art Prize For Women
    The biannual Max Mara Art Prize for Women makes me wish I was talented artistically. Not only does the winner get to spend time in Reggio Emilia, Catania and Rome, researching classical mythology, but also explore textile craftsmanship, permaculture and the myriad historic sites and institutions. Having minored in Classical Studies at University, six months spent in this way sounds to me like the quintessential …
  • A visit to an Extraordinary Doll’s House
    Motifs in Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s three-act play, A Doll’s House (premiered 1879), include appearances, the power of money, and women’s place in a patriarchal society. A work of its time, there is a clear divide between those who lived upstairs and the servants living below. Actual doll’s houses, those little microcosms of everyday life, dating back to the 16th century and reflecting similar societal …
  • Review. Extraordinary Everyday: The Art & Design of Eric Ravilious and Turn and Return by Dierdre Wood
    Maybe it’s the non-stop disturbing news from around the world, or the long dark winter and the recent wild storms (including Storm Eunice which carried a Red Alert warning) but I just haven’t been feeling the love. The year has felt slow in getting started. This week I visited a new exhibition at The Arc in the historic city of Winchester, to explore the work …
  • Review. Paul Joyce: A Life Behind The Lens
    What did Paul Joyce, filmmaker, writer, photographer and painter, make of Jane Fonda? Why did Joyce and David Hockney fall out? And which of his photographs did Sophia Loren choose as a personal gift? Paul Joyce (credits include director and producer of four series of Dr Who, 1981) spent his childhood in Winchester so it seems entirely fitting that a city gallery is hosting an …
  • Review. Frans Hals: The Male Portrait at the Wallace Museum
    A stunning new display of over 12 works by Frans Hals, one of the greatest masters of the Dutch Golden Age, offers a unique perspective on 17th century masculinity and sense of style. In a breakaway from the male gaze upon the female form, Hals fixes his painterly eye upon his male contemporaries. The portraits are displayed against a dark background, with subtle gallery lighting …


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