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The Idler Festival at Fenton House in Hampstead – 13th to 15th July 2018


Photo – National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

London has many festivals, however the new Idler Festival will be promoting the concept of useless pleasure with a carefully-curated line-up of artists, wits, performers and characters.

The event with take place at Fenton House with discussions, classes, debates and performances  filling all corners of the 17th century mansion in the heart of Hampstead village, as well as its lawns, sunken rose garden and 300-year-old orchard.

Photo – National Trust Images/Arnhel de Serra

Some of the highlights include:

Michael Palin will be in conversation with The Idler editor, Tom Hodgkinson, on the myth of idleness.

Investigative journalists Carole Cadwalladr and Peter Jukes will discuss their remarkable partnership which broke the Cambridge Analytica story and everything that has happened since the scandal hit the headlines.

Hassan Akkad fled the conflict in Syria and filmed his escape and subsequent journey across Europe to the UK for the BBC documentary Exodus: Our Journey to Europe, becoming a BAFTA award winner in the process He will come to the festival to give a first-hand description of escaping from Syria.

Sally Phillips leads a discussion on how utilitarianism took over the world and why it should be stopped.

Could magic mushrooms be used to treat depression and are psychedelics getting respectable again? Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is the Founder and Head of the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, where he leads brain imaging studies into the brain effects of LSD, psilocybin, MDMA and DMT. He’ll invite the festival audience into his current programme of research into magic mushrooms.

Historian Matthew Green will explore the history of the coffeehouses of 18th century London.

Murray Lachlan-Young will perform his narrative poem, The Raddlesham Mumps, the rhyming saga of a very unlucky aristocratic family and how they all came to sticky ends.

Laura Freeman will discuss The Reading Cure, the story of how she was coaxed back to health by the plum puddings, greengages, bread, blackberries and biscuits described in the books of Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf and Robert Graves, among others, after succumbing to anorexia at the age of fourteen.

Ben Moor will present Pronoun Trouble, an extremely silly and surreally brilliant lecture about lectures, which starts out by analysing the great Hunting Trilogy of Looney Tunes cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd in far too much detail, using Warner Bros cartoon stills throughout.

Anarchist professor, David Graeber of the LSE, discusses ‘Bullshit Jobs’, his new broadside against the work ethic.

Harry Mount will take festivalgoers on a tour of Hampstead, the best-preserved Georgian village in London, strolling its winding streets and exploring its architecture: 18th-century cottages, terraced house and villas.

Elsewhere, philosopher Edith Hall will speak on Aristotle and his praise of leisure; Fenton House’s harpsichords will be used for recitals of Chopin and Handel; and Mary Shelley’s biographer, Fiona Sampson, will tell all about the creation of Frankenstein.

The Idler magazine was founded by Tom Hodgkinson 25 years ago and the Idler Festival marks the start of celebrations of its anniversary.

The festival takes place over three days and offers numerous diversions to enjoy in a wonderful setting.

Festival Information

Times: Friday 13th – 6-9pm; Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th – 12 noon-7pm.

Venue: Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead Grove, London NW3 6SP

Travel: Fenton House is a 4-minute walk from Hampstead tube.

For more information , visit the Idler website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

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Music and the City : New Tracks from Musicity London

Do you associate a place with a piece of music ? A new project is taking this concept a stage further by creating new songs and music inspired by the buildings of London.

Musicity London combines music, architecture and technology to build a living archive of the sounds of cities.

Musicity invites musicians to choose a building and then create new songs and compositions inspired by the design, history or their personal connections to that place. The new track is then available for free streaming or download via the new, free Musicity app on any smartphone, but only at that particular location..

Created by BBC broadcaster, DJ and music curator, Nick Luscombe, Musicity is a new kind of travel guide to a city, exploring the ways in which cities influence the culture that emerges from within them and the melodies and stories inspired by our personal experiences of architecture. The plan is to build soundtracks of cities – with compilations of the tracks eventually being released as a physical box set.

From Saturday 2 June 2018, an assortment of London buildings will be given their own new soundtrack, as part of a project which invites musicians and recording artists to compose tracks for buildings in cities around the world. In the latest instalment of the Musicity project, seven artists have created seven new songs or pieces of music especially for seven London buildings. Each composition can be streamed and downloaded free of charge but only by visiting each building with a smartphone. Once there, people can listen to the new music on musicityglobal.com while taking in the architecture and neighbourhood that inspired it. 

The chosen buildings include twenty 18th century almshouses built for the ‘poor decayed men’ of Southwark, the White Cube Bermondsey gallery, the box-shaped tribute to pioneering scientist Michael Faraday that sits at the centre of Elephant and Castle gyratory system and Southwark Cathedral, parts of which date back to the 13th century. Each track is geo-tagged so that they become available to hear when a person – and their smartphone – reaches each building.

Participating artists include The Memory Band, led by producer and bassist Stephen Cracknell and combining digital machinery and acoustic instruments to make ‘traditional music from the future’; Shamus Dark, who performs songs from the ‘American Songbook’ using contemporary arrangements and digital technology; Langham Research Centre, whose sound emerges from classic radiophonic instruments, vintage electronics, tape recorders and sine-tone oscillators; Lossy, aka composer, prouder and multi-instrumentalist Sam Sharp working with talented singers and musicians from the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey; Hatis Noit, hailing from northern Japan, self-taught and inspired by everything from Gagaku (Japanese classical music) and operatic styles, Bulgarian and Gregorian chanting, to avant-garde and pop vocalists; singer-songwriter, actor, dancer and performance artist, Chisara Agor, who is influenced by jazz, folk, storytelling and electronic sounds; and music producer and interior architect, Sooski, who pursues both professions in parallel and with equal passion.

 Artists and their buildings:

The Memory Band – Flat Iron Square, 68 Union Street, SE1 1TD

Shamus Dark – Hopton’s Almshouses, Hopton Street, SE1 9JJ

Langham Research Centre – Tate Switch House (aka Blavatnik Building), Hopton Street, SE1 9TG

Lossy – Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge, SE1 9DA

Hatis Noit – White Cube, Bermondsey Street, SE1 3TQ

Chisara Agor – Faraday Memorial, SE1 6TG 

Sooski – Siobhan Davies Studios, St George’s Road, SE1 6ER 

The introduction of the seven new works means that there is now a total of 14 Musicity songs waiting to be collected at all sorts of buildings across Southwark, one of the oldest parts of the capital and an area in the midst of dramatic architectural transformation. These include Peckham Library, The Shard, Canada Water Bus Station and Borough Market. And the project is not limited to London; so far, 43 tracks have been created across 7 cities, including, Oslo, Tokyo and Singapore.

For more information , visit the Musicity website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Review: RHS London Orchid Show and Plant Fair at the RHS Horticultural Halls – 6th to 7th April 2018

After the recent rain, it was a pleasure on a warm spring day to wander down to the RHS Horticultural Halls for the Royal Horticultural Society’s London Orchid Show and Plant Fair.

The halls were full of wonderful spring plant displays and exotic orchids, however the London shows offer a wide range of entertainment with the best of the horticultural world on display.

With the Chelsea Flower Show only a few weeks away, visitors to this show can listen to some of the award winning designers set to appear at the world-famous show in May. Situated in the Lawrence Hall, names will include multi gold medal winning designer Kate Gould who is creating the ‘The West End Garden’ in the new Space to Grow category. Johnathan Snow, who is making his RHS Chelsea debut and design duo Kate Savill and Tamara Bridge, will also discuss the creative journey behind their garden.

Garden designer, James Alexander-Sinclair has produced a remix of the BBC Radio 2 ‘Feel Good Garden’ which he designed alongside presenter Zoe Ball at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show last year. Recreating a woodland setting, the garden explores the different ranges  of sound as sound waves pulse through the garden.

Some of the top nurseries exhibit at the show including Hoyland Plant Centre and The Botanic Nursery with their spring selections.

The Lindley Hall overflows with orchids, with a striking installation of cascading Phalaenopsis created by Paul Malget from La Famille, as well as vivid displays from International and British orchid exhibitors, such as the Orchid Society of Great Britain, Laurence Hobbs Orchids Ltd and Burnham Nurseries.

Potting demonstrations and workshops will take place throughout the show with talks from  orchid specialists Helen Milner; RHS Gold Medal exhibitor and Jon Dunn, author of the new publication ‘Orchid Summer’.

For something slight different, visitors can have a preview of the Orchid Pollinators Virtual Reality Experience which will feature as part of the UK’s largest display of Phalaenopsis orchids set to fill the Great Conservatory at the RHS Chatsworth Flower Show in June. Visitors have the opportunity to sit amongst the flora and experience the wonder of plants through the eyes of an insect.

The London Shows provide plenty of ideas and inspiration for serious or new gardeners, there is plenty of friendly advice from growers and RHS experts and a large number of events to keep visitors entertained.

Venue: RHS Lindley Hall, SW1P 2QW and RHS Lawrence Hall, SW1P 2QD

RHS Members: £5 Public: £5- £9

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets for London Shows, visit the RHS website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

What’s happening at Historic Royal Palaces – January to March 2018

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There are a host of thrilling events, fascinating exhibitions and educational family-friendly activities, there’s something for everyone this new year across the spectacular Historic Royal Palaces.

Hampton Court Palace will host live cooking demonstrations and the return of the much-loved Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt, whilst Kensington Palace will have plenty on offer for the little ones over half term. At the Tower of London hear storytellers and poets confess their innermost secrets in the atmospheric chapel of St Peter’s ad Vincula with “Confessions at The Tower of London”. This intimate performance is inspired by the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’s infamous confession at the ancient fortress. Meanwhile, the Banqueting House will be giving visitors the chance to unleash their competitive spirit with a fun-filled session of board gaming in one of the oldest gaming dens in the country.

Highlights

The Gaming Den

21 January, 14:00-17:00, 18:00-21:00

Banqueting House

Head to Banqueting House on Whitehall and enjoy a session of board gaming in one of the oldest gambling dens in the country – used by King James I himself! Grab a drink, roll a dice and unleash that competitive spirit as the on-hand gaming gurus teach the rules to both historical and modern games. With participants attempting to win favour in the royal court, the stakes are bound to be high!

Tickets: £10, suitable for persons aged 18+

Confessions at the Tower of London

31 January, 19:00-20:45

Tower of London

On the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’s infamous ‘confession’, hear live storytellers and poets confess their innermost secrets in the atmospheric chapel of St Peter’s ad Vincula. Inspired by the story of Guy Fawkes’s interrogation at the Tower, this intimate performance explores the themes of coercion and free will.

Tickets: £25.00 / £22.50 HRP members, suitable for persons aged 18+

Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt

24 March – 14 April

Hampton Court Palace

The Lindt Gold Bunny Easter Hunt will return to Hampton Court Palace again for 2018. Hiding in the palace and gardens will be the Lindt Gold Bunny, with new stories to be discovered with every bunny found, before the chance to claim a delicious chocolate prize.

Included in palace admission.

Events

Life in the Medieval Palace

2 January – 9 February, 11:00-12.30 and 13.30-15:30

Tower of London

Travel back to 1299 and enter the Medieval palace of King Edward I, Hammer of the Scots, in this live performance drama. Discover a world of chivalrous knights and beautiful ladies, troublesome lords and royal prisoners. There are money problems at home, too, as the King leads his armies off to war.

Included in palace admission.

Ghost Tours

7, 14 & 21 January (Adult Ghost Tours) / 7 January (Family Ghost Tours)

Hampton Court Palace

Take in some of the palace’s most ghoulish locations on one of these exclusive out of hours Ghost Tours, complete with suitably spine-tingling commentary. A special family-friendly version is also available for children over the age of 8. . Participants will be able to hear from 500 years of chilling tales, such as the Tudor royal nurse whose spirit is said to stalk her former apartments, and the mysterious figure ‘Skeletor’ caught on CCTV in the palace in the dead of night.

Tickets: Adult Ghost Tours: £27.50, Family Ghost Tours: Adults £14 / Children £7

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Story Time

7 January, 4 February, 4 March

Hampton Court Palace

Suitable for children aged between 3-7 years, ‘Story Time’ is a great way to enjoy some of the little ones’ favourite stories within the comfort of Hampton Court Palace. Each of these special story-telling sessions includes themed toys to help bring the magic of the stories to life. Sessions are available on a drop-in basis, enquire at the Information Centre for further details.

Included in palace admission.

Twilight Tours

Selected Sundays to 2 April, 19:00-20:30

Tower of London

The Tower’s Yeoman Warders give an exclusive twilight tour of this infamous palace and fortress. Take in world-famous sights such as Traitor’s Gate, the scaffold site and the Bloody Tower, and be appalled and amazed by tales of prisoners and past residents.

Tickets: £27.50 / £25 HRP members, suitable for persons aged 12+

Nightwatchers

Selected dates in February, 18.00, 18:30, 19.00, 19.25, 19.50

Tower of London

Enter the shadowy world of state surveillance in this immersive experience at the Tower of London, where messages and phone calls lead participants around one of history’s most notorious prisons. Consider this an induction into the art of covert investigation, but in a climate of global insecurity, who watches the watchers?

Tickets: £20 / £18 HRP members

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Tiny Explorers

7, 10, 21, 24 & 28 February & 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21 & 24 March

Kensington Palace

These multi-sensory storytelling sessions for under 4’s will transport little ones into a magical world of stories. Each session involves music, movement, messy play and more, and separate sessions designed especially for different development levels are also offered to suit babies not yet walking and walkers under 4.

Tickets: £6 per child

Heavenly Hampton

10 – 18 February

Hampton Court Palace

Head to Hampton Court Palace this half term for live interpretations for all the family to enjoy. Discover the story of Katherine Parr’s secret romance and wedding to Thomas Seymour, and enjoy family participation activities running throughout the day such as learning traditional dances.

Included in palace admission.

Tiny Explorers

8, 10, 22 & 24 February, 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22 & 24 March

Hampton Court Palace

These multi-sensory storytelling sessions for under 4’s will transport little ones into a magical world of stories. Each session involves music, movement, messy play and more, and separate sessions designed especially for different development levels are also offered to suit babies not yet walking and walkers under 4.

Tickets: £6 per child

Great Palace Quest

10 – 18 February

Hampton Court Palace

The Great Palace Quest is a time-travelling voyage of discovery exploring Hampton Court Palace in search of the Palace Quest code word. The quest will involve participating in puzzles, games, crafts and meeting characters from the past.

Included in palace admission.

Defend the Tower!

Daily 19 February – 31 March

Tower of London

England’s greatest medieval fortress is under attack! Relive the life and death struggles to overcome its mighty defences in this live performance drama. Join the garrison and defend the Tower against its three greatest threats.

Included in palace admission.

Funtastic Sundays

25 February & 25 March

Kensington Palace

Perfect for children aged between 0-13 years, the last Sunday of each month sees Funtastic Sundays taking place at Kensington Palace. These fun-filled activity days for families include the chance to try out the palace’s activity bags and trails, enjoy Story Time or take part in special creative workshops.

Included in palace admission.

Cooking for the Court

30 March – 2 April

Hampton Court Palace

Over the Easter weekend, visitors to Hampton Court Palace should head to the Tudor Kitchens for a chance to join the King’s Cooks and discover the truth behind Henry VIII and his legendary appetite. With the palace’s historic chefs providing live Tudor cookery demonstrations, uncover the secrets behind creating a dish fit for a king!

Included in palace admission

For more information , visit the HRP website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Spring Talks and Events at the National Army Museum

On 30 March 2017 the new National Army Museum opens with an exciting new events programme. Over April and May visitors are able to enjoy free themed tours and talks and attend debates on Brexit and the army and art and the British Army. The Easter holiday and spring half term also provide opportunities for children to join in the fun from a robotics challenge to making their own comic. Whatever your interest or age there is something for you to enjoy this Spring at the new National Army Museum.

Highlights

Women soldiers tour

1 April and 6 May, 2.30pm

Free

The first Saturday of each month for a 30-minute guided tour of the galleries exploring 100 years of women in the army. In 1917 the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was founded. This was the first time women could join the army outside of nursing roles. Since then there have been a number of developments for women in the army, culminating in last year’s lifting of the ban on women in combat roles.

Robotics Easter Challenge

1 – 17 April, sessions at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm

Free

Can you master our robotic arms ? Discover how the army uses technology with our robotics challenge. Can you master the robotic arms to complete missions?

Mission 1: Collect easter eggs with your robotic arm. Master the controls and fill a basket without breaking your eggs.

Mission 2: Level up and try using a spoon with your robotic arm to fill the basket. It’s harder than it sounds!

Mission 3: Can you create an ‘eggcellent’ piece of art with your robotic arm? Manoeuvre your arm using pens and stamps. You might just end up on the wall of fame!

Book early to guarantee a space.

Too proud to fight

7 April, 11.30am

Free

A century on from America’s entry into the First World War, Dr Graham Cross explores how we look back on that pivotal decision. The United States of America entered the First World War on 6 April 1917. While British narratives recognise the American contribution, they often also focus on the lateness of entry and the ‘Associate’ status of American belligerence. Graham will discuss the factors that drove the American intervention. He will also examine how British hopes and expectations, both at the time and since, colour our understanding of America’s involvement in the conflict.

Dr Graham Cross is a lecturer in American History at Manchester Metropolitan University.

 

The Gaza stalemate and Beersheba breakthrough

14 April, 11.30am

Free

Robert Fleming explores the events and impact of the British Army’s campaigns in the Middle East during the First World War. The Gallipoli campaign of 1915 failed to knock the Ottoman Empire out of the First World War. The result for the British Army was a long and bloody struggle through Sinai, Palestine and Syria that would help determine the fate of the Middle East for years to come.

Robert Fleming is the Templer Study Centre Manager at the National Army Museum.

 

Love and attraction in propaganda

21 April, 11.30am

Free

Professor Jo Fox explores how love and sexual attraction were used to mobilise the nation during the World Wars. Using examples from newspapers, postcards, posters, songs and films, Jo will demonstrate how the promise of love, sex and romance was used to encourage enlistment during the First and Second World Wars.

Jo Fox is a professor of Modern British and European History at the University of Durham.

War artists and the press

28 April, 11.30am

Free

Emma Mawdsley looks at artists’ depiction of war in the press of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Art has always been a tool for reporting news. But in the age before photography, artists provided the only images of war zones. In the 19th century, as the thirst for authentic images of conflict grew, newspapers sent artists to accompany troops to war. The images didn’t merely complement the written words, they formed the substance of reporting.

Emma Mawdsley is a Senior Research Curator at the National Army Museum and curator of the War Paint exhibition.

African women in the First World War

5 May, 11.30am

Free

Join Dr Anne Samson and discover the different roles African women have played during war. From camp followers and labourers to spies and snipers, African women of all ethnicities, ages and creeds have played a significant, albeit hidden, role in war. Using the First World War as a hook, Dr Anne Samson will explore the different roles women played in the conduct of war in Africa in the early 20th century. Dr Anne Samson is an author and historian specialising in Africa and the First World War.

 

A history of army nursing: 1854-1918

12 May, 11.30am

Free

To mark International Nurses Day Professor Christine Hallett traces the history of army nursing from the Crimean War until the end of the First World War. Starting with Florence Nightingale’s initial efforts in the Crimean War, she will continue through to the creation of nursing services during the Boer War and the First World War. She will also draw comparisons with similar nursing services in the US military and the Commonwealth, as well as the emergence of the largely voluntary Red Cross.

Christine Hallett is Professor of Nursing History at The University of Manchester.

Exploring the Women’s Royal Army Corps collection

19 May, 11.30am

Free

Dr Alastair Massie shares fascinating stories from the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) collection. On 1 February 1949 the WRAC was founded, allowing women to serve in a wide range of army roles. After the WRAC disbanded in 1992, the National Army Museum took over its collection. Join Alastair as he draws on official documentation, photographs and other personal items to share fascinating stories from the archive.

Dr Alastair Massie is the Head of Academic Access at the National Army Museum.

Make your own comic

27 May – 4 June, sessions at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm

Free

Discover the Ministry of Women graphic novel and have a go at making your own comic. To mark 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, the National Army Museum has created a graphic novel, Ministry of Women, featuring the stories of women who have served in the army. Join our hands-on workshop where you can learn how to draw one of the graphic novel’s characters – army code breaker Betty – explore the objects used to inspire the novel, and make your own code! There will be  five 45-minute sessions every day during the May half-term. Book early to guarantee a space.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the National Army Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Aurora Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall – 29th May 2016

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­This theatrical concert is inspired by the figure of Prometheus, who dared to steal fire from the gods.

Featuring soloist Marcus Farnsworth, this eclectic selection of music charts a course from the Greek myth which inspired Beethoven to the ‘modern Prometheus’ of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, whose shadow looms large over HK Gruber’s surreal masterpiece.

By turns ravishing, fearsome, funny and sharply satirical, Frankenstein!! offers an unusual partner to Beethoven’s monumental fifth symphony , presented here by Aurora in a memorised performance. No matter how often you’ve heard the work in concert previously, this direct, communicative treatment promises a fresh experience of the composer’s best-known work.

Programme

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Excerpts from The Creatures of Prometheus

H.K. Gruber: Frankenstein!!

Ludwig Van Beethoven: Symphony No.5

Performers

Aurora Orchestra

Nicholas Collon conductor

Marcus Farnsworth baritone

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Southbank website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Botticelli Reimagined at the Victoria and Albert Museum – 5th March to 3rd July 2016

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The Victoria and Albert Museum present a major new exhibition which explores the variety of ways artists and designers from the Pre-Raphaelites to the present have responded to the artistic legacy of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), assembling 150 works from around the world. Although, Botticelli is now recognised as one of the greatest artists, the exhibition reminds us that he was largely forgotten for more than 300 years until his work was ‘rediscovered’ in the 19th century.

Botticelli Reimagined is the largest Botticelli exhibition in Britain since 1930 and  includes painting, fashion, film, drawing, photography, tapestry, sculpture and print. There are over 50 original works by Botticelli, alongside works by artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, William Morris, René Magritte, Elsa Schiaparelli, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman.

The exhibition begins with a screen showing excerpts from Dr No showing Ursula Andress emerging from the sea clasping a conch shell and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in which Uma Thurman re-enacts The Birth of Venus.

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The first main section entitled Global, Modern, Contemporary illustrates how artists have taken aspects of  Botticelli’s imagery and incorporated them into their own works. Botticelli’s most famous work , The Birth of Venus which depicts the naked Venus emerging from a shell on the seashore is referenced by Andy Warhol’s Details of Renaissance , Yin Xin’s Venus After Botticelli , David LaChapelle’s Rebirth of Venus and a dress and trouser suit of patchwork panels from The Birth of Venus from Dolce & Gabbana’s 1993 collection. Botticelli’s influence is more widely considered by Bill Viola’s Going forth by Day and  5th surgery performance – Operation opera by ORLAN, This section also includes work by Tamara de Lempicka, Robert Rauschenberg, René Magritte and Maurice Denis.

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Rediscovery considers the impact of Botticelli’s art on the Pre-Raphaelite circle during the mid-19th century. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Ruskin and Edward Burne-Jones all owned and were greatly influenced by Botticelli’s work. In this section a series of portraits by Burne – Jones and Rossetti, mostly featuring Jane Morris gives some insight into the way that the Pre-Raphaelites looked to the past for inspiration.

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Botticelli’s celebrated work, Primavera influences William Morris’ The Orchard and Evelyn De Morgan’s Flora. In this room are a couple of copies of The Birth of Venus by Edgar Degas and Gustave Moreau as well as Etienne Azambre’s Two Women copying Botticelli’s fresco of Venus and the Graces.

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Moving back in time, the final section of the exhibition arrives at Botticelli in his Own Time. A series of works by Botticelli show that he  was not only a wonderfully skilled artist but also ran a highly successful workshop which produced a large number of important works. Exhibits include his only signed and dated painting The Mystic Nativity , three portraits supposedly of the legendary beauty Simonetta Vespucci, and the remarkable Pallas and the Centaur, travelling to London for the first time.

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A small number of portraits of the elite of Renaissance Florence gives some context to the artist’s life and times before the show closes with two full-length paintings of Venus, reprising the heroine of The Birth of Venus, and the V&A’s Portrait of a Lady known as Smeralda Bandinelli which formerly owned by Rossetti.

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It is remarkable how some artists can produce work that remains influential over the centuries, This exhibition provides plenty of evidence that Botticelli is one of these artists. Whether it is through his influence on the Pre-Raphaelites or the way the iconic works such as the Birth of Venus has been endlessly reinterpreted in the late 20th especially. Although there is a running theme through the exhibition, in many ways it feels like three mini exhibitions in one. Due to the variety on display, the exhibition will have quite a wide appeal, each section has its own attractions and delights in an ambitious and interesting show.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Botticelli Reimagined

5 March – 3 July 2016.

Admission £15 (concessions available).

V&A Members go free.

Advance booking is advised

For more information or to book tickets, visit the V&A website here

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here