Russian Revolution Art
Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932, at the Royal Academy of Arts, looks at the revolutionary art breaking boundaries until Stalin’s clampdown in 1932.
Marking the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this exhibition charts the formative years of Soviet Russia through its diverse and brilliantly original art. From pioneers of abstraction such as Kandinsky and Malevich to the highly individual work of Chagall the artworks include painting, photography, sculpture, film-making and graphic design, as well as everyday objects.
The exhibitions opens on 11 February and is on until 17 April 2017.
Tate Britain has a major retrospective of one of Britain’s greatest living artists. The David Hockney exhibition opens on 9 February, and is on until 29 May 2017.
It’s a comprehensive show bringing together 60 years of painting, video, sketches and photography for an unprecedented overview of the artist’s work to date.
As the artist approaches his 80th birthday, this exhibition traces the development from his prodigious appearance on the public stage as a student in 1961, through to his iconic works of the 1960s and 1970s, and on to his recent success at the Royal Academy and beyond.
The story that inspired the film Calendar Girls is now a new British musical at the Phoenix Theatre. The Girls is Gary Barlow’s musical adaptation of the film featuring lyrics and a book by the film’s original screenwriter Tim Firth.
Gary Barlow and Tim Firth have been friends for 25 years. With Take That, Gary has written and co-written 14 number one singles, has sold over 50 million records worldwide and is a six times Ivor Novello Award winner. Tim has won the Olivier Award and UK Theatre Award for Best New Musical, and the British Comedy Awards Best Comedy Film for Calendar Girls.
The Girls is inspired by the real life story of a Yorkshire village Women’s Institute group who decide to fundraise for a local hospital, in memory of their husbands, by posing for a raunchy-but-tasteful nude calendar. Inadvertently, the group become media sensations, and the story follows the close friendships, and strained personal lives, within the group.
The show opened on 28 January and is booking until 22 April 2017.
Palace Pub Quiz
Banqueting House is having a fun and fast-paced Palace Pub Quiz on Friday 3 February, 6-9.30pm. Tables are arranged for 8 team members but if your group is smaller they’ll make sure you have a full team by linking up with others.
Banqueting Hall has the beautiful ceiling painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens so do look up while you have your knowledged tested on current affairs, sport, art, food, film, and, of course, history.
This free exhibition at the V&A focuses on the father of Rudyard Kipling, the renowned author. Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London is on until 2 April and explores the life and work of Lockwood Kipling (1837–1911), an artist, teacher, curator and influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.
Born in Yorkshire in 1837, he was inspired by a visit to the 1851 Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park where he saw Indian objects that were later purchased as part of the founding collections of the V&A. In the early 1860s, Kipling joined the South Kensington Museum (as the V&A was then known) producing terracotta decorative panels for the new V&A buildings. His own likeness can still be seen in a mosaic decoration overlooking the Museum’s John Madejski garden, showing a procession led by the V&A’s first director Henry Cole.
Kipling left London for India in 1865, spending ten years in Bombay (now known as Mumbai) to teach before moving to Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, as Principal of the new Mayo School of Art (today Pakistan’s National College of Arts) and curator of the adjoining museum.
During this time craft traditions were in decline and Kipling travelled to observe, collect and record these skills. Kipling’s portrait drawings of craftsmen and cotton workers are on show in this exhibition, with objects matching their activities presented alongside.
The exhibition also includes pieces relating to the Arts and Crafts movement such as a piano decorated by Pre-Raphaelite artist Edward Burne-Jones played by Lockwood Kipling’s wife, Alice Macdonald, and also a large panel that she embroidered for Red House, the home of Arts and Crafts campaigner William Morris.
Magical Lantern Festival
Head to Chiswick House Gardens to see the wonderful Magical Lantern Festival that opened on 19 January and is only on until 26 February 2017 (Thursday-Sunday only).
Celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Rooster, the festival has stunning, over-sized, illuminated outdoor installations around the theme ‘Explore The Silk Road’ that begins with a 15-metre wide lantern of London’s Houses of Parliament.
The entertainment area adds another dimension to the experience with an international range of food and beverage vendors, festival merchandise, a 30-metre synthetic ice-rink, 3D lantern photo opportunities, virtual reality gaming experience, Chinese bamboo lantern riddles and a mini funfair and games.
Diana: Her Fashion Story
Diana: Her Fashion Story opens on 24 February at Kensington Palace, her home for over 15 years. The exhibition traces the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life.
Twenty years on from her death, this new exhibition celebrates her life bringing together an extraordinary collection of garments, ranging from the glamorous evening gowns worn on engagements in the 1980s, to the chic Catherine Walker suits that made up Diana’s ‘working wardrobe’ in the 1990s.
Exhibition highlights include the pale pink Emanuel blouse worn for Diana’s engagement portrait by Lord Snowdon in 1981, and Victor Edelstein’s iconic ink blue velvet gown, famously worn at the White House when the Princess danced with John Travolta.
Whilst in residence at Kensington Palace, the Princess admired the changing floral displays in the historic Sunken Garden and would often stop to talk to the gardeners who care for it. A temporary White Garden has been planted around the Sunken Garden for spring and summer 2017.
Eerie Evening Tours
Also at Kensington Palace, come back for one of the Eerie Evening Tours on 3, 10, 17 and 24 February.
When all the gates are locked and the lights are out, is the palace truly asleep? Explore the weird and wonderful world of Victorian spiritualism and the 19th century obsession with life after death. Be guided through the shadowy state apartments to relive the sorrow of heartbroken Kings and frustrated future Queens.
If you would like even more ideas for this month have a look at the February 2017 in London blog post from our sister hotel, London Bridge Hotel.
Kew Palace is currently closed for winter so we can look forward to it reopening for spring (by the end of March) which is, of course, also a wonderful time of year to explore the spring flowers at Kew Gardens.
The American Dream: Pop to the Present opens at the British Museum in March, showcasing for the first time the museum’s outstanding collection of American prints from the 1960s through this turbulent time in the country’s history.
And book now to see David Tennant in Don Juan in Soho at the Wyndhams Theatre. Described as savagely funny and truly filthy, this play sounds like a ‘must see’.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.