Friday, 31 October 2014

BAFTA Britannias

Emma Watson enjoyed herself at the Jaguar BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards in the Beverly Hilton Hotel yesterday. She received the award for British Artist of the Year. Maybe host Rob Brydon some something funny, although I doubt it. Other awards went to Dame Judi Dench, Robert Downey Jr, Mike Leigh, Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Excellence in Comedy) and Mark Ruffalo for his humanitarian work (CLICK).

Before The Dawn

On 5 November La Galleria Pall Mall in London opens Before the Dawn - An Artist’s Journey through Afghanistan by portraitist and official war artist Arabella Dorman (CLICK). The exhibition represents her visits to Afghanistan over the past five years, showing British troops and Afghan civilians, such as this group with the central figure of a father comforting his son. The exhibition runs until 15 November. Admission is free, except for evening charity events (CLICK for Arabella's website).

East Anglian Sale

Don't you just love those tales of discarded art rediscovered? A man cleared a car load of old prints and paintings out of his shed and drove them to a valuation day at Bonhams Reepham office. Most were worthless prints, but then emerged this watercolour of two cows by famous East Anglian artist Sir Alfred Munnings, worth £8,000 - £12,000. It comes up for grabs in Bonhams East Anglian Picture Sale in Knightsbridge, London, on 18 November. Around 150 paintings by many of East Anglia’s top artists will be on show (CLICK).

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Wildlife Artists

Today the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) opened its 51st Annual Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. This year the "Out of Frame" room will feature the Society’s bird migration project with the British Trust for Ornithology. Four artists visited wintering grounds in Senegal with BTO scientists. Shown is Sahel Wintering Redstart 1 by Bruce Pearson SWLA. My favourites are Richard Tratt's beautiful paintings of butterflies against landscapes, two of which have already been sold online. Both the landscapes and the butterflies are brilliant. CLICK to view them. Admission to the show costs £3 for adults, £2.50 for silver surfers.

Robert Devriendt

Yesterday Marlborough Fine Art at 6 Albemarle Street, London, opened Robert Devriendt: Unsolved Cases (CLICK). This is its first exhibition by the Belgian artist, whose work is extremely unusual. He creates very high quality comic strips in which the crimes are ambiguous. It's up to the viewer to figure out what's going on. As long strips are hopeless when limited to 400 pixels and single pictures taken out of context are meaningless, I've taken the liberty of altering his shortest and least ambiguous strip - only two paintings - and placing one on top of the other to show the quality of his art. This is Unsolved Case 9 (2014).

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

From Forest to Sea

On 1 November the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London opens From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia. Who? you might ask. Emily Carr was a Canadian artist virtually unknown outside Canada. This is the first UK exhibition dedicated to her work. Shown is her War Canoe (1919). The exhibition runs until 8 March (CLICK). Admission costs £11 for adults and £10 for senior citizens aged over 65. Ripoff!

No Foreign Land

The Fleming Collection began in 1962 as a corporate collection of paintings intended to hang on the walls of bank Robert Fleming & Co. The aim was to collect only Scottish scenes, preferably painted by Scottish artists, but a Scottish scene painted by a foreign artist would do. But Scottish artists worked in other countries too. Today The Fleming Collection at 13 Berkeley Street, London, opened No Foreign Land: Landscapes from the Fleming Collection (CLICK). Shown is a most unusual work by William Crozier painted on both sides of the canvas. Left is The Slopes of Fiesole, Tuscany. right (verso) Edinburgh from Castle Street.

Willy Lott’s House

The Ashmolean, University of Oxford, has acquired John Constable's Willy Lott’s House from the Stour (The Valley Farm) c.1816–18, accepted by the nation through the Acceptance in Lieu scheme to settle £1,012,200 of Inheritance Tax. This is the first finished work by Constable the Ashmolean has acquired. Willy Lott's House features in a number of Constable's paintings. CLICK for more pictures and information.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Cardsharps Tiff

A painting of Caravaggio's The Cardsharps bought by the Thwaytes family in 1962 for £140 was auctioned by Sotheby's in London in 2006 for £42,000. Nice profit, you might think. But no. The new owner, British art historian Denis Mahon, found the painting has a pentimento (an alteration) which strongly suggests it was by the original artist - Caravaggio - not by a copyist. Copyists copy what's in front of them. Original artists change their minds and make alterations. Caravaggio is well known for painting different versions or copies of his paintings for different patrons. The new owner reckons his version is a genuine Caravaggio worth about £11. "Preposterous" ripostes Sotheby's. Bill Thwaytes is hopping mad and is suing Sotheby's in the High Court for negligence. The undisputed original of Caravaggio's The Cardsharps (c.1594) is owned by the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas, USA. This is the one I've shown (CLICK). There are many copies, at least 50 early ones; but you can buy modern copies for peanuts. Chinese artists churn them out. The court case is expected to last for 4 weeks and will cost a fortune (CLICK).

Ghoulish Gardens

Half term holiday! Here's a neat little graphic from Valentines Mansion & Gardens in Redbridge advertising its Ghoulish Gardens on Friday 31 October from 4pm - 4.45pm. Spooky stories will be read by torchlight in the Old English Walled Gardens, suitable for ages 8 years and over. Booking is essential, cost £5.50 per person. There's a prize for the spookiest costume. Phone 020 8708 8100 or CLICK.

Sea Sculptures

With winter approaching in the UK, it's time the Australians rubbed our noses in it with the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Sun, sand, bikinis and mainly terrible abstract art, bigger and sillier than ever. Shown is a real boy walking along the handle of Andrew Hankin's giant We're fryin' out here (2014). How's that for imbuing a sense of scale? The exhibition spreads along the coastal path between Sydney's Bondi Beach and Tamarama Beach. If you have some spare time, CLICK to view this year's sculptures.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Freedom Passion

The 52 artworks shortlisted for the Passion For Freedom Art Festival 2014 will be on display at the Embassy Tea Gallery on Union Street, Bankside, London, from 5 to 15 November (CLICK). Winners of the competitions for art, books and journalism will be announced during the award ceremony on 8 November. Shown is Seamus Moran's excellent Harness - the technical term for a suit of armour - in the shape of a bird taking flight. I can't think of a better symbol for the passion for freedom. Seamus is currently in discussion with the Tower of London to have Harness exhibited there. In the White Tower?

Public Art Debate

Why do public art commissions spark such controversy? wonders the Whitechapel Gallery and attempts to answer its own question with Sculptors Papers from the Henry Moore Institute Archive. Shown is Laurence Bradshaw in his studio sculpting the clay model for his Karl Marx Memorial (1956) destined for Highgate Cemetery, where it became subject to both pilgrimage and attack. Jacob Epstein’s explicit nudes for the British Medical Association also became a battleground. Too rude! The display runs in the Pat Matthews Gallery (Gallery 4) until 22 February 2015, admission free (CLICK). London artists at least 26 years old might like to know that the Gallery has issued a Call For Entries for its next summer open show. The closing date for entries is 12 December (CLICK).

Rembrandt Video

If you're still dithering over lashing out on The National Gallery's exhibition Rembrandt: The Late Works, see if Jeremy Paxman's recently published YouTube video can persuade you. Jeremy admires his favourite painting, but doesn't name it. It's The Jewish Bride (1667) on loan from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. CLICK to read my preview of this expensive exhibition.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Rockwell Photos

The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA, has announced that it has digitized tens of thousands of black-and-white photographs from its Norman Rockwell Photographic Print Collection, previously uncatalogued. These are now freely viewable online at the Museum’s website: CLICK. Shown is detail from Reference photo of Norman Rockwell's portrait of Ann-Margret (c.1965).

Stephen Lawrence Prize

The Royal Institute of British Architects has awarded the 2014 RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize to Denizen Works for turning what was a dilapidated B-listed Tiree black-house crofter’s cottage into a contemporary family home and guest house united by a central glass atrium. The RIBA Stephen Lawrence Prize is sponsored by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation in memory of the murdered teenager whose ambition was to become an architect. This annual award recognises fresh architectural talent using a construction budget of less than £1 million. You'll need to go to the Isle of Tiree, Inner Hebrides, to view House No 7 in person. CLICK for a larger photo and more information.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Information Age

What better person to open the new Information Age gallery in London's Science Museum than HM Queen Elizabeth II? The baldies were out in force to show her around. Here we see her examining a model of the aerial tuning coil from Rugby Radio Station, once part of the most powerful radio transmitter in the world. The new gallery puts 200 years of communication and information technology under the spotlight. Her Majesty also made history by sending her first ever tweet, signed Elizabeth R. Admission is free (CLICK).

Giovanni Moroni at RA

Today the Royal Academy of Arts in London opened Giovanni Battista Moroni, the first comprehensive survey of this unsung genius of late Renaissance portraiture to be held in the UK. Over 40 of his works have been brought together, including a number of altarpieces from the churches of the Diocese of Bergamo, northern Italy, to represent his religious art. Shown is a detail from his portrait of a Young Lady (c.1560-65) who has the eyes of cold command. Entry costs £12 adults, £11 silver surfers (CLICK). Note: the RA's flashy new website demands a modern browser. I had to use Google Chrome to view it.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Who Are You?

Tomorrow the National Portrait Gallery in London opens Grayson Perry: Who Are You? a display based on his forthcoming Channel 4 TV series of the same name (Episode 1: Wednesday 29 October at 10.05pm). Perry explores identity, creating 14 portraits in tapestries, sculptures and pots of diverse individuals who are all trying to define who they are. The works are spread around Floor 1 in the 19th and 20th century rooms, admission free (CLICK).

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Life Story

This evening the latest wildlife series presented by Sir David Attenborough is screened on BBC One at 21:00 hours ... er ... 9pm. Life Story took the BBC's award-winning Natural History Unit more than four years to film. The series is in six parts, each concerned with a different aspect of the life cycle. Shown is a group of African elephant matriarchs protecting a calf (CLICK).

Bambi Art Stolen

Islington police are appealing to the public for help tracking down five 6ft x 4ft wooden panels with sharks and flower shapes stencilled by the street artist Bambi. They were installed on an Islington building site prior to being auctioned for the charity Art Against Knives. Police say they were stolen between 18:30 on 8 October and 09:30 on 9 October. Why wait so long before making this appeal? Get the news out fast. Anyone who can help is asked to phone Islington police on 101 and quote reference CRIS 2723485/14 (CLICK).

Sir Nick No 1

Here's depressing news: Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota has been named the most powerful figure in the art world. For the first time he's topped ArtReview magazine's annual Power 100 list, the first leader of a public museum to do so. He's been in the Top 10 from the start of the Power 100 list in 2002. Tate Passé ... er ... Modern is the most visited contemporary art museum in the world. It "consistently deployed an international - rather than a national - perspective on art production" explained ArtReview. "Tate has come to epitomise almost all the elements of the current 'global' art world, where the distribution of art is arguably now more important than its production" (CLICK). So much for art and the modern art market! It's all about fooling the punters that tripe is art. Shown is Charles Thomson's Sir Nicholas Serota Makes an Acquisitions Decision (2000) (CLICK).

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

WPY Award '14

The Natural History Museum and BBC Worldwide are celebrating 50 years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year (WPY) Award. The winner this year is Michael "Nick" Nichols' shot of a pride of lions snoozing in the Serengeti. The photo goes from foreground to horizon without a break, which is technically clever; but why use black-and-white film in this century? For me, the magic of that shot is lost without colour. My favourite is the winner of the Birds category: Bence Máté's eerie Herons in time and space, Lake Csaj, Kiskunság National Park, Hungary, which is so technically advanced he had to create two timing devices for his camera to take the single exposure. The exhibition opens in London on 24 October, entry £12.60 for adults, £6.30 for silver surfers (CLICK). Half price!

Leighton House

Leighton House in London will be transformed by hanging 50 exceptional paintings from the largest Victorian private art collection outside Great Britain, many shown for the first time. A Victorian Obsession: The Pérez Simón Collection opens on 14 November and runs until 29 March 2015. These paintings return to the house in which they were painted, There are also works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, John Everett Millais, John William Waterhouse and Lawrence Alma-Tadema. So this is Victorian art par excellence. Shown is a detail from Frederic Lord Leighton's Crenaia the nymph of the Dargle (c.1880). Entry costs £10 for adults, £6 for silver surfers (CLICK).

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Land Girls

Today sculptress Denise Dutton's £85,000 bronze statue to honour women who served in the Land Army and Women’s Timber Corps (Lumber Jills) during World War Two was unveiled at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. BBC News was there to video the unveiling and interview some of the windswept veteran Land Girls who attended the ceremony (CLICK). I couldn't find a good image of the finished sculpture, so here's a photo of the maquette held by artist Denise Dutton.

Banksy Vandalized

The latest Banksy Girl with a Pierced Eardrum appeared yesterday in Bristol and by today some jealous dickhead had sprayed it with dark paint (CLICK). Banksy's take on Johannes Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring incorporates an alarm box as the girl's earring. Noisy things.

Blade Runner 5 Years

South African Judge Thokozile Masipa has sentenced "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius to five years in prison for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp plus a three-year suspended sentence for a firearms charge. She considers her sentence "fair and just, both to society and to the accused", whom she praised for his charity work and for changing the public perception of disability (CLICK).

Monday, 20 October 2014

Giant Genitals Art

Here's an "art" concept even sillier than Paul McCarthy's anal-plug Tree in Paris. Claudio Ahlers has taken over a former public toilet in Bristol and installed 7ft tall male and female genitals covered in black velvet. Visitors are invited to interact with the jumbo genitals and have their photos taken. These photos are affixed to the walls to form his Portraits of Private Perception (2014). Participants must be aged over 18. This nonsense limps along from 20 – 25 October (CLICK). Don't all rush at once!

Snake Jug

Here's a warning applicable to today's drunken teenagers. It's a Very Important Anna Pottery 1876 Snake Jug crafted by Wallace and Cornwall Kilpatric for the temperance movement. The photo on the left shows the legs of someone entering the jug, inscribed beneath with the message "Nice Young Man Just Going In". The photo on the right shows his head emerging from the jug surrounded by snake heads. This rare piece of American folk sculpture is Lot 20 in a Crocker Farm auction on 25 October through LiveAuctioneers (CLICK).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Battersea Art Fair

The Affordable Art Fair Battersea runs from 23 – 26 October, promising 1,100 artists and 112 galleries with prices ranging from £100 to £5,000. Admission costs from £8 to £15 (CLICK). Shown is part of Maria Rivans' featured collage. Love that startled grey squirrel emerging from the pineapple ice bucket. His nuts must be frozen.


The Flowers Gallery at 82 Kingsland Road, London, is celebration the 75th birthday of Patrick Hughes with an exhibition of his New Reverspectives. If you enjoy the impossibly endless perspectives of M.C. Escher, you will be bowled over by the reverse perspectives of Hughes' meticulous panoramic paintings, which shift as the viewer changes position. Shown is a detail from one of his panoramas. The Flowers website is a clever-dick pain with light grey text on white "paper". So I can't give you details. The show boggles until 22 November (CLICK).

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Sidney Paget

Yesterday the Museum of London opened Sherlock Holmes: The Man Who Never Lived And Will Never Die, an evocation of Victorian London as the backdrop to the great fictional detective (CLICK). Originally published in the Strand Magazine, which reached a weekly audience of half a million people, Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories benefited enormously from more than 300 illustrations by Sidney Paget. Shown is Paget's "Holmes gave me a sketch of the events." It was Paget who created Holmes' angular features and it was Paget who introduced the deerstalker hat (CLICK). Admission to the exhibition costs £10.90 for adults or £9 for silver surfers.

Anal Plug Deflated

It went up on Thursday and was deflated on Friday night. US artist Paul McCarthy's 80ft high inflatable Tree, which he admitted was partly inspired by a butt-plug sex toy, has infuriated Paris residents, who called it a "provocation". It was erected in the Place Vendome as part of the FIAC international art festival. When McCarthy viewed it on Thursday, he had his face slapped three times. Then on Friday night this insult to Paris was deflated. FIAC says the monster will be repaired and reflated (CLICK).

Ben Kustow

Mead Carney Fine Art at 45 Dover Street, London, has opened the first solo exhibition of new paintings and photography by Ben Kustow: Gentle On My Mind (CLICK). The exhibition runs until 25 October. so you haven't got long if you want to see it. Shown is Ben Kustow's How Do You Like Your Blueeyed Boy Mister Death (2014). it isn't all Calgary Stampede, but Ben certainly likes his cowboys and bucking broncos.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bus Sculptures

Twenty-eight new Routemaster bus sculptures were unveiled in Trafalgar Square today. Wendy Hurrell took a BBC video team along to view the painted sculptures, a sample of 60 commissioned by Transport for London for its Year of the Bus in association with Wild in Art (CLICK). They will be spread along 3 London trails, around Westminster, the Thames and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Shown is artist Thomas W. Dowdeswell beside his painted bus entitled Come Rain or Come Shine. In the background is Oliver Dean's Busby bus. All the buses will be auctioned for 3 charities in 2015: Kids Company, Transaid and the London Transport Museum (CLICK).

Welsh Daub Stolen

This pathetic daub Landscape At Llanaelhaearn (1947) by Welsh artist Sir Kyffin Williams has been stolen from London's Southbank Centre, where it was on loan from the Arts Council Collection. A member of staff found the broken picture frame hidden in a toilet cubicle in Royal Festival Hall. It is thought the painting was stolen at the end of September (CLICK). It is now 17 October! This gives us an idea how often paintings on display at the Southbank Centre are checked and how often the Royal Festival Hall loos are cleaned! If you spot this daub in a car boot sale, contact Scotland Yard's Art and Antiques Unit.

Abram Games OBE

On 8 September the Jewish Museum in Raymond Burton House, London, opens Designing the 20th Century: Life and Work of Abram Games to celebrate the centenary of his birth. Abram Games was one of the 20th Century's most influential graphic designers, creating hundreds of works that strongly influenced British culture, including the logo for the 1951 Festival of Britain. This exhibition explores his Russian immigrant roots, his Jewish background and his enormous contribution to British design (CLICK). BBC News has posted a Paul Kerley video in which his daughter Naomi tells the stories behind some of his images: CLICK.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

RIBA Winner

The RIBA Stirling Prize 2014 has been won by the Liverpool Everyman Theatre, which was demolished brick by brick so the bricks could be reused in the new building by Haworth Tompkins, thus retaining the atmosphere of the old building while creating a new structure that is "sustainable, technically first rate and with unparalleled levels of accessibility for a theatre" (Gemma Bodinetz, artistic director). It beat strong competition (CLICK).

Blood Swept Lands

The Tower of London art installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and theatre stage designer Tom Piper to mark the centenary of World War I has proved a hit with the public and royals alike. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the Blood Swept Lands And Seas of Red in August to plant poppies. Today the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited the moat to lay a wreath among the poppies. Each poppy represents a British or Colonial fatality in the Great War. The last poppy of 888,246 will be planted on Armistice Day. They will then be removed by thousands of volunteers and sold for charity (CLICK).

More Frieze

Here's Giulio Paolini's Casa di Lucrezio at the Frieze Masters show on 14 October. At £50 a throw, this is for movers and shakers only. If you're near Regent’s Park, you might like to visit Frieze Sculpture Park, which offers free public access to huge works in the English Gardens (CLICK).

Winter of Discontent

Remember the Winter of Discontent, due to PM James Callaghan's Labour government attempting to reduce galloping inflation down to 5 per cent? It looks as though we're heading that way again. National Gallery staff went on strike yesterday in protest against low pay and privatization of museum services. Rembrandt: The Late Works in the Sainsbury Wing managed to stay open, but most rooms were closed (CLICK).

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Duck in Seoul

Do I detect a smug expression on the face of Florentijn Hofman's Giant Inflatable Rubber Duck? During its world tour it has braved storms and hurricanes, has deflated and exploded a number of times and has actually grown. Yesterday it arrived on Seokchon Lake in Seoul, South Korea, for a one-month visit. Let us hope it doesn't get too close to the disputed marine border with North Korea in the Yellow Sea when it leaves or Kim Jong-un will be sending torpedo boats to destroy it. Take that, you fiendish capitalist duck!


Remember Belgian "artist" Carsten Höller's Unilever commission installation thingy Test Site 2006, a series of helter-skelters in Tate Modern's Turbine Hall? CLICK if you don't. His latest effort is to turn the Gagosian booth at Frieze London into a Gartenkinder with various sculptures that children can use for play. Shown is his Cube (White Body, Black Dots) 2014 (CLICK).

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

CBRE Urban Photos

The theme of this year's CBRE Urban Photographer of the Year competition was Cities at Work. The results have been announced and there are some gobsmackers (CLICK). My personal favourite is Ly Hoang Long's brilliant photo of workers mending nets in a factory in Bac Lieu, Vietnam, which won him the Asia Pacific award. This is as close to perfection as you can get.

Baroness Boothroyd

The latest commissioned portrait unveiled by the National Portrait Gallery in London is Brendan Kelly's painting of Baroness Boothroyd, the first and so far only female Speaker of the House of Commons. When Betty shouted "Order!" she meant it. She is shown wearing a gold brooch she designed herself based on the House of Commons Logo of a portcullis. Entry to NPG is free (CLICK).

Frieze London

Today I noticed a sudden explosion of contemporary art tripe in London. "It must mean only one thing," I thought, "Frieze London is back in town." Yup. It infests Regent's Park from 15–18 October. The cheapest ticket is £15, from 5-7pm, one day only (CLICK). Despite the preponderance of contemporary tripe, there are usually some excellent works in the show. The one on the left looks rather good.

Alice Neel

Today Victoria Miro Mayfair at 14 St George Street, London, opened My Animals and Other Family, an exhibition of works by late American portraitist Alice Neel (1900 – 1984). During a long career, she painted people with their pets, giving animals as human companions as much personality as their owners. Shown is Alice Neel's Pat Ladew (1949). For some strange reason this reminds me of Mrs Slocombe's "pussy" from the BBC1 series Are You Being Served? The exhibition purrs along until 19 December (CLICK).

Monday, 13 October 2014

Turbine Hall Tripe

Tomorrow Tate Modern opens to the public its latest load of codswallop in its vast Turbine Hall: Richard Tuttle: I Don’t Know The Weave of Textile Language (2014). This 78ft-long sculpture made of wood draped with brightly coloured fabric weighs 15 tonnes. The fabric came from India, where it was probably made with sweated child labour. So don't let any arty moral stance kid you. The sculpture hangs about the place until 6 April 2015, admission free (CLICK). It coincides with a retrospective of Richard Tuttle's work at the Whitechapel Gallery in east London. CLICK for more views.

Ancient Lives 2

If you're still dithering over whether to lash out £10 (£5 Monday afternoons for silver surfers) on The British Museum's exhibition Ancient Lives: New Discoveries, you might like to know that the original closing date of 30 November has been extended to 19 April 2015 "by popular demand". Shown is an Ancient Egyptian Sarcophagus (c.900 BC) with an X-ray of the preserved body inside. Her name was Tamut, a high-ranking priest’s daughter, Lady of the House, Chantress of Amun (CLICK).

Posters Auction

Tomorrow Swann Auction Galleries in New York puts under the hammer Rare & Important Travel Posters (CLICK). BBC News got excited when it spotted collectible British Rail seaside posters in this sale (CLICK). Shown is Septimus Edwin Scott's railway poster for Great Yarmouth and Gorleston on Sea (c.1935) estimated at $2,500 to $3,500 (Lot 121). I don't believe the sky was ever this blue above Great Yarmouth. I remember it as a grey place with a shingle beach. No wonder the little boy on the left is looking dubious. Mum and her daughter are wearing prim swimming outfits suitable for thirties-era bathing. The purpose of these posters was to make money for railway companies by enticing day-trippers to take a train to the heavenly seaside resorts on offer.


Tomorrow the Ordovas gallery in Savile Row, London, opens Self: Bacon, Hirst, Koons, Picasso (CLICK). Four terrible artists' self-portraits doesn't seem much of an exhibition to me, but if you're passing.... Shown is a detail from Francis Bacon's Self-portrait (1969).