Sunday, 5 July 2015

Jean-Étienne Liotard

Over this summer the Scottish National Gallery is showing the work of Jean-Etienne Liotard, one of the finest artists of the eighteenth century (CLICK). Shown is his portrait of Princess Louisa Anne (1754) on loan from the Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015. The princess was only five years old when Liotard painted her portrait in pastel on vellum. Stunning. The exhibition is a collaboration with the Royal Academy of Arts in London and will open here on 24 October at an inflated price.

Castle Howard Sale

Nine masterpieces from the collection of Castle Howard lead Sotheby’s London auction of Old Master & British Paintings and Treasures on 8 July. The works are now on public exhibition at Sotheby’s New Bond Street galleries. Shown is Dutch master Ferdinand Bol's Portrait of a Boy (1652) estimated at £2 - £3 million. If you visit Sotheby’s website, you'll find an excellent video of Castle Howard narrated by Jeremy Irons: CLICK.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Happy Birthday

The House of Illustration is celebrating its first birthday and to prove it here's founding trustee Sir Quentin Blake holding a birthday cake designed by Great British Bake Off 2013 winner Francis Quinn. CLICK to see What's On at the House of Illustration.

Heathrow Expansion!

This shot of a British Airways jet flying over houses in London isn't a trick photo. It's the reality of living under Heathrow's fight path. Yet the Airports Commission has backed a third runway at Heathrow! Two are bad enough. You can hear the jets in Kew Gardens, at Wimbledon and on the other side of London in Redbridge. How much did it cost Government to set up the Airports Commission? And why choose people who would succumb to Heathrow's blandishments? CLICK for BBC Magazine's What's it like to live near an airport?

Student Art

On 7 July the Royal Society of British Artists presents a National Student Art Exhibition in the Main Gallery of the Mall Galleries in central London. The artists range in age from 11 to 18 years old. This is a chance to see tomorrow's artists today, Shown is George King's Self Portrait. The big question is: How old is he? Admission to this exhibition of juvenilia is free (CLICK).

Friday, 3 July 2015

Heather Watson

Congratulations to Britain's Ladies No 1 Heather Watson for taking a set off World No 1 and top seed Serena Williams at Wimbledon today. The final score was 6-2 4-6 7-5 to Williams (CLICK). This was the most exciting match I've seen since Virginia Wade won Wimbledon in 1977.

Judith Kerr Retro

If you're looking for somewhere to take the cherubs to over the summer, you could do worse than the Jewish Museum London. The museum is currently showing Tiger, Mog and Pink Rabbit: A Judith Kerr Retrospective, which runs until 14 October and should interest adults as well as children. Shown is Cherubs Having tea with The Tiger. Admission for under fives is free, adults £7.50, silver surfers £6.50, children (5-16 years) £3.50, family ticket (2 adults, 4 children) £18.00 (CLICK).

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Ben Uri at 100

Today the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum celebrated its centenary by opening an exhibition in the East Wing of Somerset House: Out of Chaos; Ben Uri: 100 Years in London. Britain's oldest Jewish cultural organisation began life as an art society in Whitechapel in 1915. It now holds a collection of more than 1300 artworks by British and European artists of Jewish descent. Shown is Mark Gertler's Rabbi and Rabbitzin (1914). As you might expect, this collection based on religion is a very mixed bag, but admission is free (CLICK).

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Beach Ready 2

Back in April I posted news of the furore of complaints over Protein World's advert "Are you beach body ready?" on London Tube stations (CLICK). After pondering the 378 complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has decided the advert was neither offensive nor irresponsible. Women whose bodies aren't beach ready and probably never will be are furious (CLICK). Hard cheese, ladies.

Portraits of an Icon

Tomorrow the National Portrait Gallery in London opens Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon. The exhibition traces her life from childhood, through Hollywood's Golden Age, to her work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. There are many photos from family archives that haven't been publicly exhibited before. Her younger son, Luca Dotti, took the BBC's Arts Editor Will Gompertz on a tour of his personal favourites (CLICK). Admission without donation costs £9 for adults or £7.50 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Kites from Kabul

On 4 July the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green opens Kites from Kabul, which looks a lot more interesting than all the girlie stuff the adult V&A is currently exhibiting. Turquoise Mountain, a British charity in Kabul, presents a display of kites made by artists and children in Kabul, inspired by Afghan and Islamic designs. Photos and video show kite flying. Admission is free (CLICK).

Diary of a Seducer

Tonight Imagine on BBC One presents Jeff Koons: Diary of a Seducer at 22:40 hours. With Koons retrospectives infesting the Whitney Museum in New York and the Pompidou in Paris, Alan Yentob ponders the pulling power of the King of Bling. Wear sunglasses and earplugs for this programme to cut out the glare and the waffle. Shown are Koons, Yentob and a shiny bunny (CLICK).

Gainsborough Find

This previously unknown chalk-and-gouache presentation drawing by Thomas Gainsborough for his painting Gypsy Encampment, Sunset (c.1778–80) was discovered by Bainbridges of Ruislip (Middlesex). The auction house spent a year authenticating the drawing, which has impeccable provenance from artist through to the present owner. It comes up for sale in Bainbridges auction on 2 July, estimated at £20,000 – £30,000 (CLICK). Gainsborough's oil painting is currently on display in Tate Britain. CLICK to view it online.