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Opening and Closing in July

The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is reviving Pre-Raphaelites: Drawings & Watercolours , a show that closed after just five weeks last year due to the Covid pandemic. On from July 15 to November 27, this exhibition features more than 100 works from the museum's own outstanding Pre-Raphaelite collection; Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Holman Hunt and Millais are the big names.  There are two new exhibitions coming to the Lightbox in Woking, a venue we always enjoy visiting. Starting on July 9, Eric Ravilious and Edward Bawden are the stars of a collaboration with the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden that looks at the story of the artists' colony at Great Bardfield in Essex; more than 30 paintings and drawings will be on display.  The Ingram Collection & the Fry Art Gallery: 'Bawden, Ravilious and the Art of Great Bardfield'  runs until October 9. The second show, beginning on July 16, sets 20 paintings, prints and drawings of Venice and England by Canaletto alongside wor

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Glyn Philpot: Buried Treasure

If Glyn Philpot had stuck to his very lucrative line in society portrait painting, the retrospective of his work at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester wouldn't have an awful lot to recommend it, frankly. But then, he probably wouldn't be getting a retrospective at the Pallant, and the reason to visit Glyn Philpot: Flesh and Spirit is to see the astonishing, unexpected pictures Philpot created in the late 1920s and 1930s when he said goodbye to the stuffed shirts and fancy frocks and embraced modernism with a vengeance.  This is the first major Philpot exhibition in almost 40 years. How has his work sailed under the radar for so long? Among the first paintings that greet you in this show are a set of striking images of Henry Thomas, a former seaman from Jamaica who modelled for Philpot as well as working as a domestic servant for him.  This image recalls the format of a Renaissance portrait or the head of a ruler on a coin, but it's a dignified black man, not a white king

Vorsprung durch Technik

Football: shared memories of great players, the not-so-great players who fouled them, World Cups, triumphs, near-misses and disasters; more personal recollections of muddy school pitches, away trips to grounds in the back of beyond, pools wins and Subbuteo.    Football: Designing the Beautiful Game at the Design Museum in London brings it all flooding back. No dry display, this, as you might fear, of how the equipment and stadiums of the world's most popular sport have been optimised and marketed down the years; it's a show that pulls you in and holds your interest through the full 90 minutes and into extra time. Top-level soccer these days is such a slick, modern entertainment product, you can easily forget the way it used to be. The curators take you right back to the game's Victorian beginnings: A  Harrow School ball  looks more like a pouffe -- it's easier to imagine sitting on it than kicking it or heading it -- while the heavy leather boots  of the type worn by t

Disney, Cinderella and The Swing

Mickey Mouse and rococo frippery -- it's not an obvious connection. But a visit to  Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts  at the Wallace Collection in London shows just how much the classic cartoon films produced by the pioneer of movie animation were influenced by the art and design of 18th-century France.  Disney first went to France just after the end of World War I, as a Red Cross ambulance driver. Back in the US, he and his brother Roy founded their studio in 1923, and in 1935 the Disneys returned to France during a grand tour. A home movie early in this exhibition records the Disney family as tourists in Paris and Versailles, soaking up the architecture, and the decor. As a holiday memento, Walt took back to California more than 300 illustrated books to form the nucleus of a research library that's provided source material for Disney movies ever since.  The Wallace presents a selection of those films -- and a lot of preparatory artwork -- alongsi

Opening and Closing in June

Summer's almost here, and it's perhaps the time for outdoor pleasures; there certainly aren't that many big exhibitions to tell you about in June. So let's start with a small one, a free display at London's National Gallery. Picasso Ingres: Face to Face , running from June 3 to October 9, brings together for the first time Pablo Picasso's 1932 painting Woman with a Book , from the Norton Simon Museum in California, and the work that inspired it, the National's own Madame Moitessier by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Picasso saw the Ingres portrait in 1921 and was enthralled by it. "Lesser artists borrow," Picasso said. "Great artists steal."  Summer means the seaside, so what better destination to see an exhibition than the Towner in Eastbourne. Following 2021's superb John Nash retrospective, this year's big event puts the spotlight on the pioneering female collector who opened the Wertheim Gallery in London in 1930 and the arti

Breaking News: It's a Winner

The intro to the lead story in Britain's oldest surviving newspaper, the Corante of September 24, 1621, was a little wordy: "There is advice from Naples, that certaine Ambassadours of Messina are arrived there and from thence are to go into Spaine, to congratulate the king and to give him a present of 150000 crownes...."   By 1944, the sub-editors had tightened things up considerably. For the midday BBC bulletin on June 6, John Snagge needed only four syllables to get the news across: "D-Day has come."  Breaking the News at the British Library in London takes us back through centuries of reporting the news, making, faking and manipulating it, in an absolutely fascinating exhibition. Hundreds of exhibits -- old newspapers, photographs, film and video -- demonstrate how the technology has improved, and the writing is sometimes a lot slicker, but also that dubious and unethical practices have been going on just as long. For those of us who started our journalism c

Not Every Picture Tells a Good Story

It's a great idea for an exhibition:  Inspired!  at the Guildhall Art Gallery in the City of London brings together paintings and sculpture for which artists found their inspiration in literature, music and the theatre.  It's a great idea, but the execution is underwhelming. Two of the four sections in this show, drawn entirely from the Guildhall's own collection, are absorbing. The other two are pretty dull. It's a bit like when you've gone to see a poor production of a favourite play; you come away feeling somewhat dissatisfied.  There are some fine artists on show: You've got Jan Steen, Thomas Lawrence, Duncan Grant, John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. But the painter with most work on display here is John Gilbert . We think you may need to look him up. And he's certainly not very inspiring. He's one of those 19th-century artists whose work is largely forgotten; so are some others here, but at least a few of them have s