Around London – Aliens at the Royal Observatory; celebrating spring at the British Library; Blue Plaques for Heal and Mendelssohn; and, Barocci at the National Gallery…

February 28, 2013

It’s alien season at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich and to kick off a series of special events around all things extra-terrestrial, a new exhibition looking the history with things not of this earth opens tomorrow. Alien Revolution, which looks at man’s obsession with intelligent alien life – a trend which began in the century following Copernicus’ discovery that the earth was a planet and the sun a star, will be held in the observatory’s Astronomy Centre until August. Runs until 8th September. Admission is free. Other events include shorts courses looking at science fiction and astronomy, family events and special planetarium shows such as We Are Aliens which runs in April. For more on the events, see www.rmg.co.uk.

The British Library’s Spring Festival kicks off tomorrow with five days of film, design and fashion including the unveiling of a new artwork by fashion illustrator and artist Julie Verhoeven. Verhoeven – who has worked for fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Versace and Mulberry – will be joined by Dylan Jones, editor-in-chief of GQ, to talk about what inspires them while others among fashion’s leading names will be contributing postcards in a one night only pop-up exhibition – Late at the Library: Fashion Flashback – which will also feature talks involving Jones and illustrator Tanya Ling. The event also features a spring market held in the library’s piazza at which designers will be selling wares inspired by the library’s collection. Other events include the showing of a series of short films.  For more about the Spring Festival events, head to www.bl.uk/whatson/exhibitions/spring-festival-2013/index.html.

Furniture designer Sir Ambrose Heal was honoured with the unveiling of an English Heritage Blue Plaque at his former home in Pinner yesterday – the date marking 120 years since he joined the family firm, Heal’s. The house – at Fives Court, Moss Lane in Pinner – was Sir Ambrose’s home from 1901-1917 during the period when he began exerting his influence over the business, having won a silver medal at the 1900 Paris Exhibition for a bedroom suite. Heal was knighted in 1933 and appointed a royal designer for industry in 1939. Meanwhile, a Blue Plaque for 19th century composer Felix Mendelssohn was unveiled at 4 Hobart Place earlier this month, commemorating the house he stayed in at the height of his career during his numerous visits to London. The house was the home of the Hanoverian embassy secretary, Karl Klingemann, at the time. For more on Blue Plaques, see www.english-heritage.org.uk.

On Now: Barocci – Brilliance and Grace. This landmark exhibition at the National Gallery is the first major monographic exhibition dedicated to the art of 16th and 17th century Italian artist Frederico Barocci – pioneer of the Baroque style. Highlights include his spectacular altarpiece, The Entombment of Christ, from the coastal town of Senigallia, the Last Supper – painted for Urbino Cathedral, as well as two altar pieces from Rome – Visitation from the Chiesa Nuova and Institution of the Eucharist from Santa Maria sopra Minerva. Also included are portraits, smaller devotional paintings, Aeneas’ Flight From Troy – his only secular narrative, and more than 65 preparatory drawings, pastel studies and oil sketches. Runs until 19th May. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.

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