This Week in London – Stephen Lawrence and Dick Whittington remembered; Museum of London seeks Jewish-fashion items for new display; and, become a volunteer ranger at The Regent’s Park…

The Guildhall Art Gallery which contains the City of London Heritage Gallery. PICTURE: Jim Linwood (licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Stephen Lawrence, a London teenager who was killed in a racially motivated murder in 1993, and four-times medieval Mayor of London, Richard Whittington, are both remembered in a new display at the City of London Heritage Gallery. Among the items on show is a report by the headteacher of John Roan School in Greenwich which was created following Lawrence’s death along with the last will and testament of Whittington and a book recording his third election as mayor in 1406 and showing his decorated coat of arms. Also on show in the gallery is a Bomb Damage Map which, produced by London County Council, shows the extent of damage to Rotherhithe and part of the Isle of Dogs following a German Luftwaffe raid in September, 1940. The display can be seen until 28th April. Admission is free but booking is recommended. For more, see www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/events/heritage-gallery-exhibition.

The Museum of London is seeking information on high-profile items of clothing created by leading Jewish fashion designers ahead of an exhibition running later this year. Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners Shaped Global Style, scheduled to open in October, will explore the major contribution of Jewish designers had in making London an iconic fashion city during the 20th century. It will feature pieces from the museum’s own collections but those behind the exhibition are also looking for a range of other high profile items. These include menswear made by Mr Fish and Cecil Gee which were worn by famous names such as Sean Connery, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Michael Caine and The Beatles, womenswear made by Rahvis in the 1930s and 1940s and worn by Hollywood film stars, hats made by Otto Lucas and worn by the likes of Greta Garbo and Wallis Simpson, a theatre costume made by Neymar for Cecil Landau’s 1949 production of Sauce Tartare, and 1930s gowns made by dressmaker Madame Isobel (Isobel Spevak Harris). Anyone who has information about the location of these objects are asked to email fashioncity@museumoflondon.org.uk with any information. More information on the exhibition will be provided closer to the date.

The Royal Parks is looking for volunteer rangers in The Regent’s Park this spring. Following the success of volunteer ranger programmes in Richmond, Bushy and Greenwich Parks, the charity is seeking “friendly and chatty people who are passionate about The Regent’s Park, and keen to inspire and educate visitors”. Volunteers, who need to commit to a minimum of three hours per month, will work in pairs and share facts about the park’s heritage as well as provide tips on the best walking and cycling routes and inform visitors on how everyone can help nature thrive in the parks. Rangers can choose from a range of 90-minute volunteering sessions across weekdays and weekends. Applications close on 26th February. Full training will be provided. To apply, visit www.royalparks.org.uk/rangers.

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This Week in London – A celebration of Spain and the Hispanic world; Lunar New Year at Greenwich; and, RA gifts at The Queen’s Gallery…

Joaquín Antonio de Basarás y Garaygorta, ‘Indian Wedding, in Origen, costumbres y estado presente de mexicanos y filipinos’ (1763); Illustrated manuscript on paper (41 x 65.7 cm). On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY

• The collection of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library in New York is being celebrated in a new exhibition opening at the Royal Academy of Arts. Opening Saturday, Spain and the Hispanic World: Treasures from the Hispanic Society Museum & Library features more than 150 works from the collection – founded in 1904 by Archer M Huntington – which range from paintings and sculptures to jewellery, maps and illuminated manuscripts. Highlights include Francisco de Goya’s painting The Duchess of Alba (1797), Pedro de Mena’s reliquary bust, Saint Acisclus (c1680), earthenware bowls from the Bell Beaker culture (c2400-1900 BC), Celtiberian jewellery from the Palencia Hoard (c150-72 BC), and Hispano-Islamic silk textiles including the Alhambra Silk (c1400). There’s also a beautifully illuminated Hebrew Bible (after 1450-97), an exceptionally rare Black Book of Hours (c1458), and, Giovanni Vespucci’s celebrated world map from 1526. The exhibition runs until 10th April. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

The Lunar New Year is being celebrated in Greenwich this Saturday with a series of events at the National Maritime Museum. Activities range from Mahjong workshops to seeing a traditional lion dance, lantern making, a tea ceremony demonstration and, of course, the chance to find out about the items in the museum’s collection with Asian connections. For more, see www.rmg.co.uk/whats-on/national-maritime-museum/lunar-new-year.

Royal Collection Trust staff conduct final checks of a display opening today at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, showcasing 20 contemporary artworks gifted to Queen Elizabeth II to mark the Platinum Jubilee. PICTURE: Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023.

Twenty contemporary artworks gifted by the Royal Academy of Arts to Queen Elizabeth II ar on display at The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace. The works on paper – created by Royal Academicians elected in the past decade – were presented to the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022. They include Wolfgang Tillmans’ Regina – a photograph taken during Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002 depicting the Queen in the Gold State Coach passing along Fleet Street, Yinka Shonibare’s Common Wealth – a digital print of an orchid against a collage of platinum leaf and Dutch wax printed fabric, and Sir Isaac Julien’s Lady of the Lake – a fictionalised portrait of the American abolitionist Anna Murray Douglass as well as a digital print of Thomas Heatherwick’s design for the Tree of Trees project. This 21-foot sculpture incorporates 350 saplings and was erected outside Buckingham Palace as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy and was illuminated during a special Platinum Jubilee ceremony on 2nd June last year. The works can be seen until 26th February. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.rct.uk.

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This Week in London – The ‘Concert of Antient Music’ recalled; National Portrait Gallery announces reopening date; and, Heath Robinson’s Shakespeare illustrations…

The Foundling Museum. PICTURE: dvdbramhall/Flickr (licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The 18th and 19th century concert series – ‘Concert of Antient Music’ – is explored in a new display at the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury. Located in the Handel Gallery, Music for the King: The Concert of Antient Music looks at the story behind the establishment of this concert series which were held at various locations in London annually from 1776 to 1848 and which only featured works composed at least 20 years prior. The concerts attracted patronage from the likes of King George III and members of the nobility – in fact, the King was such an admirer of Handel’s music that he instructed an extra concert – a performance of Handel’s Messiah – be given annually for the benefit of the Royal Society of Musicians. The display includes portraits of composers including Handel, Geminiani and Corelli as well as those of singers and other performers along with the index of performances and payment records for performers, letters, tickets and programmes of the concerts. Admission charge applies. Runs until 8th October. For more, see https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/event/music-for-the-king-the-concert-of-antient-music/.

The National Portrait Gallery has announced it will reopen its doors for the first time since 2020 on 22nd June this year. The reopening will follow a major redevelopment project, ‘Inspiring People’, which includes a comprehensive redisplay of the gallery’s collection, spanning from the Tudor period to today, as well as the restoration of Grade I-listed buildings and historic features. The new design – the work of Jamie Fobert Architects working in partnership with Purcell – will incorporate the Blavatnik Wing, the entire first floor encompassing nine galleries, which will explore society and culture in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It will also see the return of the gallery’s East Wing to public use as the Weston Wing, restore original gallery spaces and create new retail and catering facilities.

On Now: Heath Robinson’s Shakespeare Illustrations. This exhibition at the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner features Robinson’s illustrations from works including Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1902), Twelfth Night (1908) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1914) as well as some of the illustrations he created for a never published complete works of Shakespeare commissioned by the publishing house of Jonathan Cape. The exhibition can be seen until 19th March. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.heathrobinsonmuseum.org/whats-on/heath-robinsons-shakespeare-illustrations/.

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10 most popular posts for 2022 – Numbers 10 and 9…

It’s that time of year again – our annual countdown of our 10 most read posts for the year!

First up are numbers nine and ten… 

10. Where’s London’s oldest…pharmacy?

9. LondonLife – Greenwich Park restoration…

LondonLife – Christmas in London…

Ice skating at Somerset House. PICTURE: Owen Harvey
South Bank Winter Market. PICTURE: David Ogle
Part of the Miracle on Leake Street event in Waterloo. PICTURE: Leake Street
Christmas at Kew. PICTURE: Royal Botanic Gardens
Glide at Battersea Power Station. PICTURE: Joshua Atkins

This Week in London – Carols at Westminster Abbey; cathedrals at St Paul’s; and, ‘Making Modernism’ at the Tate…

PICTURE: Manuel Weber/Unsplash

The Princess of Wales will host a Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey today. The service, which will be attended by members of the Royal Family, will recognise the selfless efforts of individuals, families and communities across the UK as well as paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and the values she demonstrated at Christmas and throughout her life, including empathy, compassion and support for others. The service will be broadcast on ITV One in the UK on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, a special Christmas episode of Westminster Abbey: Behind Closed Doors will be shown on Channel 5 next Wednesday, 21st December. For more, see My5: Westminster Abbey: Behind Closed Doors.

An exhibition show-casing the work of photographer Peter Marlow, who has photographed all 42 Church of England cathedrals, can be seen at St Paul’s Cathedral. Commissioned in 2008 by Royal Mail to photograph six cathedrals – images of which were used on commemorative stamps marking the 300th anniversary of the completion of St Paul’s Cathedral, Marlow went on to continue taking pictures of cathedrals using just natural light. The display, which is touring all 42 cathedrals, can be found in the South Nave aisle until 26th January. Included in admission charge. For more, see www.stpauls.co.uk/whats-on/exhibition-peter-marlows-english-cathedral.

On Now: Making Modernism. The first major UK exhibition devoted to women artists working in Germany in the early 20th century, this exhibition at the Royal Academy’s Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries includes 67 paintings and works on paper. The artists featured include Paula Modersohn-Becker, Käthe Kollwitz, Gabriele Münter and Marianne Werefkin, with additional works by Erma Bossi, Ottilie Reylaender and Jacoba van Heemskerck. Runs until 12th February. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

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This Week in London – Newly restored ‘Nativity’ back on display for Christmas; Tutankhamun 100 years on; and, ‘Museum of the Moon’ at Greenwich…

Following a restoration, early Renaissance artist Piero Della Francesca’s The Nativity has gone on display in The National Gallery in time for Christmas. The painting, created circa 1470, had been in the possession of Piero’s family until it came to London in the 1860s. Then in a poor condition, it was acquired by The National Gallery in 1874. It has now been restored by the gallery’s senior restorer Jill Dunkerton with panel work by Britta New in a process which has shed new light on the painting. This includes the understanding that while it was previously framed and displayed as an altarpiece, instead the work is now believed to have been a very grand, domestic painting which Piero may even have painted for himself. To complement this new interpretation, the gallery has been able to acquire a carved walnut frame, of almost exactly the correct dimensions, date and probable origin. You can see a video of the conservation process below. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.

• Marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in November, 1922, the British Museum has opened a new display looking at the way the ancient Egyptian pharaoh was viewed, both by his contemporaries and by people today. The free Asahi Shimbun Display Tutankhamun Reimagined features artwork by contemporary Egyptian graffiti artist Ahmed Nofal alongside a statue of Tutankhamun which was discovered before his tomb was even found. Accompanying the display is a trail through the Egyptian Sculpture Gallery (Room 4) in which visitors can learn more about Tutankhamun and his times. Can be seen until 29th January. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org.

Artist Luke Jerram – of Gaia fame – is returning to the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich next week with his artwork Museum of the Moon. The large scale installation, which will hang in the Painted Hall, features NASA imagery of the lunar surface. Visitors are invited to lean back on daybeds to experience the installation which is accompanied by a surround sound composition by BAFTA-winning composer Dan Jones. Runs from Tuesday, 13th December, to 2nd February. Admission charge applies. For more, see https://ornc.org/whats-on/museum-of-the-moon/.

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LondonLife – Christmas lights in the West End…

Christmas is looming so here’s our first look at some of London’s Christmas light displays…

Christmas lights in Regent Street. ALL PICTURES: Jed Leicester/PinP
Christmas lights in South Moulton Street, Mayfair…
Christmas tree and lights at Covent Garden.
One of the Selfridges Christmas windows on Oxford Street.
Harrods Brompton Road frontage decorated for Christmas.

This Week in London – Christmas at Hampton Court Palace; the V&A’s couture Christmas Tree; and, the stories of Asian and African foundlings…

Festive Fayre returns to Hampton Court Palace this weekend with visitors having the chance to do some Christmas shopping, sample some festive treats and enjoy live music. The festival, which runs from Friday to Sunday, takes place ahead of the launch of the palace’s Christmas light trail – Palace of Light – next Wednesday (7th December). Inspired by Henry VIII’s heraldic beasts, it features an array of installations, ranging from a sea-monster lurking in the Great Fountain Garden to polka-dot panther lanterns in the Wilderness. Created by the award-winning outdoor event producers Wild Rumpus, the light trail can be visited until 2nd January. For more, see www.hrp.org.uk/hampton-court-palace/.

Christmas tree installation, designed by Miss Sohee PICTURE: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The V&A has unveiled its couture Christmas Tree installation for this year – a work by London-based Korean fashion designer Miss Sohee. On display in the Cromwell Road Grand Entrance, the installation reimagines the traditional Christmas tree as a three metre long couture gown, which combines Sohee’s signature style of vibrant silhouettes and intricate embroidery with religious statuary found around the museum. The installation can be seen until 5th January. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk.

On Now – Tiny Traces: African & Asian Children at London’s Foundling Hospital. This exhibition at The Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury explores the newly discovered stories of African and Asian children in the care of the hospital in the 18th century, following the stories of more than a dozen children through personal items, physical artefacts, works of art and archival documents. In a parallel thread, works of art by artists including Zarina Bhimji, Hew Locke, Kehinde Wiley, Alexis Peskine, Deborah Roberts and Shanti Panchal form a dialogue with the historic narratives. Admission charge applies. Runs until 19th February. For more, see https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk.

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This Week in London – 12 Days of Christmas at the Tower; Museum of London celebrates its London Wall closing; and, William Beatty at the Old Royal Naval College…

The Tower of London is getting into the festive spirit with a celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Twelve installations have been installed at the Tower, each representing as different aspect of the fortress’s unique history – from nine wreaths representing “nine rowdy ravens” to five gold coins representing the Mint once housed there. There’s also the six Queens of King Henry VIII and three “lordly lions” – a reference to a gift presented to King Henry III and housed in a Lion Pit at the tower. Visitors will have the chance to collect a map at the start of their visit and follow a trail to find the installations at they explore the Tower. Christmas at the Tower of London runs daily until 3rd January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.hrp.org.uk/tower-of-london/.

The Museum of London is preparing to close its doors at its London Wall site as it moves to its new location in Smithfield and to celebrate it’s holding two free weekend festivals. The first, to be held this weekend, will feature family-friendly activities including arts and crafts, dance, face painting and theatrical performances while the second, to be held on the weekend of 3rd and 4th December (after which the museum will close), will feature a celebration of London’s music scene from the 70s to the present day with a DJ sets, a late night film festival and museum’s first ever 24 hour opening. Visitors on both weekends can also take part in London Biggest Table Football competition for a chance to win an England shirt signed by Harry Kane and to see the museum’s collection in a new light thanks to an illuminated display. For more on the festivals, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london.

Now On: Blood and Battle: Dissecting the life of William Beatty. The life and work of renowned 19th-century naval surgeon and physician, Sir William Beatty, is explored in this exhibition at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The display – which marks 200 years since Beatty, who had served as ship’s surgeon on HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar (and who wore the musket ball that killed Nelson in a locket on his watch chain for the rest of his life afterwards) – took up the post of Physician to the Royal Hospital for Seamen – explores Beatty’s work as a ship’s surgeon, his time at Greenwich Hospital and how he was honoured by being knighted and appointed Physician Extraordinary to George IV and the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) as well as his outside interests including his involvement in developing the London – Greenwich Railway. Admission charge applies. For more, see https://ornc.org.

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This Week in London – 10 years of Christmas at Kew; British and Chinese at the British Library; and, The Horror Show! at Somerset House…

Christmas returned to Kew this week with the launch of its 10th festive light trail. This year’s display features some past favourites as well as new light installations including Feathers by Pyrite Creative which features 16 floating UV feathers which sway in the breeze, LuminARTi’s Willow Hives which illuminate natural forms, and Illusion Hole by UxU Studio, a geometrically arranged pattern situated on the lake which presents visitors with an optical illusion in which water formed by light appears to flow into an unknown abyss. The popular Fire Garden has returned along with the Christmas Cathedral and a series of breath-taking projections dance across the surface of the Palm House and adjacent lake, set to a memorable soundtrack of much-loved Christmas classics. The display can be seen until 8th January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.kew.org/christmas.

Frank Soo at the Victoria Ground, Stoke, 1933. PICTURE: The Sentinel & StokeonTrentLive

A free exhibition exploring British Chinese communities and culture opens at the British Library tomorrow. Chinese and British celebrates the lasting impact of Chinese communities in the UK and presents personal stories and artefacts. Highlights include a hand-drawn map of China by Shen Fuzong – the first recorded Chinese person to visit the UK in 1687, a detailed doll’s house model of a Chinese takeaway, Ling Shuhua’s 1953 autobiography, Ancient Melodies, which was dedicated to Virginia Woolf who offered advice on drafts of her memoir, a fan made of bamboo slats and paper from mulberry bark in Hangzhou and pair of hand-embroidered shoes belonging to Kathy Hall, a London-based practitioner of traditional Chinese opera. There’s also trench art produced by Chinese Labour Corps workers during World War I, cigarette cards featuring Frank Soo, the first player of Chinese origin to play in the English Football League, and Rosanna Lee’s 2022 film Parallel which follows a family during their weekly ritual of going out for dim sum at the Pearl Dragon restaurant in Southend-on-Sea. The exhibition can be seen until 23rd April. For more, see www.bl.uk.

On Now: The Horror Show!: A Twisted Tale of Modern Britain. This display at Somersert House, divided into three acts – ‘Monster’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Witch’, explores how exploring how ideas rooted in horror have informed the last 50 years of creative rebellion, looking beyond horror as a genre and instead “taking it as a reaction and provocation to our most troubling times”. The display features more than 200 artworks and culturally significant objects including Chila Burman’s If There is No Struggle, There is no Progress – Uprising (1981), Derek Jarman’s last feature and magnum opus, Blue (1993), and a striking presentation of Turner Prize winning-artist Tai Shani’s The Neon Hieroglyph (2021). Admission charges apply. Runs until 19th February. For more, see somersethouse.org.uk. ​

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LondonLife – Marking the King’s birthday; remembering the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in war; and, welcoming a new Lord Mayor…

Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery arrive at Green Park for the 41 gun salute to celebrate King Charles III’s 74th birthday on Monday. In London, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The Honourable Artillery Company each fired celebratory Royal Salutes at 12 noon and 1pm respectively in what was the first formal birthday salute for King Charles III since he became monarch. PICTURE: Giles Anderson/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing a 41-gun salute to celebrate King Charles III’s 74th birthday. PICTURE: Giles Anderson/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
King Charles III leads the royal party to their position at the Cenotaph on Sunday as armed forces personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force came together for Remembrance Sunday and the National Service of Remembrance. Joining the King and members of the Royal Family, more than 600 members of the Armed Forces honoured the brave servicemen and women killed in all conflicts since the First World War. PICTURE: Simon Walker / No10 Downing Street/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force gathered at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, for the National Service of Remembrance. PICTURE: Cpl Tim Hammond/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Pikeman march through the streets of the City of London for the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday. Some 6,500 people, 250 horses, more than 50 decorated floats, and a flying pig, took part in the parade. PICTURE: Corporal Rob Kane/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Nicholas Lyons, elected as the 694th Lord Mayor of the City of London, waves from the golden State Coach, which has been used in every Lord Mayor’s Show since 1757 and is the oldest ceremonial vehicle in regular use in the world. PICTURE: Lt Reilly AGC (ETS)/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

This Week in London – The Lord Mayor’s Show; Mass-Observation remembered; and, modern and contemporary art at the British Museum…

The Lord Mayor’s Show will be held this Saturday, 12th November, welcoming the 694th Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, into office. The Show, which dates back to the early 13th century, features more than 6,500 people, 250 horses and more than 130 floats as well as the golden State Coach which has been used to carry the Lord Mayors since as far back as 1757 and is said to be the oldest ceremonial vehicle still in regular use anywhere in the world. The three mile long procession will start passing by Mansion House at 11am and make its way to St Paul’s Cathedral and then head on to the Royal Courts of Justice where the Mayor will swear an oath of allegiance to the monarch, before returning along the Embankment and Victoria Street to Mansion House. For more on the history of the Show and details about the best places to stand, head to https://lordmayorsshow.london.

The original headquarters of Mass-Observation, a pioneering social research organisation, has been marked with an English Heritage Blue Plaque. The organisation started its worked at the property 6 Grotes Buildings in Blackheath from 1937 until 1939 – by the end of its first year there were around 600 ‘mass observers’ involved in the work, one of the key aims of which was to gauge public opinion on a range of issues to help enable the writing of “a democratic people’s history from below”. During World War II, Mass-Observation worked on behalf of the government and morphed into a market research company in 1949, Mass Observation Ltd, before being incorporated into the British Market Research Bureau. The project was restarted in 1981 at the University of Sussex and continues to this day. For more on English Heritage Blue Plaques, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/blue-plaques/.

A collection of about 100 modern and contemporary artworks on paper have gone on show at the British Museum, part of a larger gift of works donated by London-based art collector Hamish Parker. Art on paper since 1960: the Hamish Parker collection features works by works by the likes of British artist Lucian Freud, French-Israeli artist Avigdor Arikha, American artist Richard Serra and Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi. There are also two “artist in focus” sections which take a more in-depth look at the work of American artists Carroll Dunham and Al Taylor. Runs until 5th March in Gallery 90. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org.

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This Week in London – Bonfire Night; Treason at The National Archives; two Turner’s return after 100+ years; and, science fiction at the Science Museum…

A previous Bonfire Night in London. PICTURE: teo73/iStockphoto

“Remember, remember, the 5th of November…” It’s Bonfire Night this Saturday night and fireworks displays will be held across London with key displays at Alexandra Palace, Battersea Park and Wimbledon Park. Rather than list them all here, Visit London has put together a handy guide which you’ll find here.

A section of the Treason Act. PICTURE: Courtesy of The National Archives (Open Government Licence)

What did the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade, the establishment of the Church of England, the creation of the United States of America and the extension of UK voting rights have to do with acts of treason? Treason: People, Power & Plot, a new exhibition at The National Archives in Kew, examines the role treason has played across the span of 700 years of history. On display will be the original Treason Act, passed in 1352 during the reign of King Edward III (pictured), and the Monteagle Letter – which suggested the recipient should not attend parliament on 5th November, 1605 (effectively tipping them off about the Gunpowder Plot) as well as Guy Fawkes’ confession, a document containing the charges levelled against King Henry VIII’s ill fated wife, Anne Boleyn, and the United States’ Declaration of Independence. Accompanying the display will be a range of online and on-site events. The free exhibition opens on Saturday and runs until 6th April. For more, see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/treason/.

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775 – 1851) The Harbor of Dieppe, 1826 oil on canvas 68 3/8 in. x 88 3/4 in. (173.67 cm x 225.43 cm) Henry Clay Frick Bequest. Accession number: 1914.1.122

Two ground-breaking JMW Turner paintings – Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening – have returned to the UK for the first time in more than 100 years as part of a new exhibition at The National Gallery. The Turner on Tour exhibition looks at the artist’s life-long fascination with ports and harbours and highlights the regular sketching tours he took within Europe that were central to his fame as an artist-traveller, as well as his “radical approach to colour, light and brushwork”. The two paintings, which have not been since in the UK since 1911, were exhibited in New York in 1914 at the Knoedler Gallery. They were subsequently acquired by the American industrialist Henry Clay Frick and have remained in the United States ever since but are now being generously lent by The Frick Collection. Can be seen until 19th February in Room 46. Admission is free. For more, see nationalgallery.org.uk.

On Now: Science Fiction: Voyage to the Edge of Imagination. This exhibition at the Science Museum in South Kensington features more than 70 objects and uncovers connections between significant scientific innovations and celebrated science fiction works. On display is classic literature that has inspired new understandings of the world as well as set-pieces and props from iconic films and TV – everything from a Lieutenant Uhura costume from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, to the Dalek from Doctor Who and a Darth Vader helmet created for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. There are also contemporary artworks from across the globe that explore alternative futures for humanity. The exhibition is accompanied by an events programme. Runs until 4th May. Admission charges apply. For more, see sciencemuseum.org.uk/science-fiction.

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This Week in London – Musical theatre at the V&A; getting spooky at Hampton Court and the Tower; and, Bill Brandt at Tate Britain…

Costume for Eliza Doolittle in Lerner and Lowe’s musical My Fair Lady, designed by Cecil Beaton, worn by Julie Andrews, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1958. Given bythe Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum.© Cecil BeatonImage courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The glittering world of musical theatre is at the centre of a new exhibition which opened at the V&A in South Kensington recently. Re:Imagining Musicals showcases some 100 objects, most being displayed for the first time, with highlights including Paul O’Grady’s Miss Hannigan costume from Annie, new costume acquisitions from SIX the MusicalEverybody’s Talking About JamieMoulin Rouge! The MusicalCompany, and A Chorus Line, the rarely displayed beaded gown designed by Cecil Beaton which was worn by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady in 1958; the toy Olaf puppet from Frozen the Musical, and an original poster from the off-Broadway premiere of Hamilton signed by the cast and creatives. There’s also a 1965 original cast recording of Hello Dolly! signed by Carol Channing, Bunny Christie’s Olivier and Critics’ Circle award winning costume design, model and costume for Rosalie Craig as Bobbie in the 2019 West End revival of Company and Shakespeare’s first folio, which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2023. The free display can be seen in the Theatre and Performance Galleries until 27th November, 2023. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/reimagining-musicals.

Base Court and cloisters dressed for the Halloween ghost trail at Hampton Court Palace. PICTURE: © Historic Royal Palaces.

Visitors to Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London are being invited to explore some of the properties’ spookiest stories in the lead-up to Halloween. Until 30th October, visitors to Hampton Court are able to explore the stories of everyone from King James I to tormented wives to Tudor trumpeters with special effects including mystical projections and eerie sound effects. Meanwhile, until 31st October, visitors can follow in the footsteps of infamous prisoners at the Tower of London with “spooky decorations, spine-tingling sound effects, and rooms transformed to tell terrifying tales about past inhabitants” while ghostly figures such as the Welsh Prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and King Henry VIII’s ill-fatded wife Anne Boleyn wander the grounds. Admission charges apply. For more, see www.hrp.org.uk.

Bill Brandt – Woman Swimming
Tate. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax from the Estate of Barbara Lloyd and allocated to Tate 2009 © The Estate of Bill Brandt.

The work of British photographer Bill Brandt (1904-83) is the subject of a new exhibition at Tate Britain on Millbank. Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror features 44 original photographs from across his career are displayed alongside the magazines and photobooks in which these images were most often seen. Brandt was first known as a photojournalist, renowned in the 1930s for his observations of British life, and later for his landscapes, portraits and nudes. Highlights include Woman Swimming (pictured), Hail, Hell & Halifax and his handmade photobook ‘A Dream’ – which is being exhibited for the first time. Runs until 15th January. Admission is free. For more, see tate.org.uk.

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LondonLife – A tumultuous week in national politics and (another) new PM…

The Houses of Parliament (pictured here in 2020). PICTURE: Yaopey Yang/Unsplash

Rishi Sunak was appointed as the nation’s third Prime Minister in less than two months today following Liz Truss announcement she would resign on Friday. Sunak visited King Charles III at Buckingham Palace after Truss visited earlier to officially resign.

Moment(s) in London’s History – Three (more) short-term PMs…

As the nation awaits the announcement of new Prime Minister following the 48 day tenure of Liz Truss – the shortest of any British Prime Minister, we take a quick look at the circumstances surrounding the next three shortest serving PMs…

1. George Canning. Canning, a Tory, had twice served as Foreign Secretary – between 1807-1809 and 1822-1827 (a period during which he also served as Leader of the House of Commons) when, following the resignation of Prime Minister Lord Liverpool in April, 1827, he was chosen to succeed him in the office. But Canning’s health took a turn for the worse soon after and he died in office on 8th August, 1827, having served just 119 days as Prime Minister.

2. The Viscount Goderich. FJ Robinson, 1st Viscount Goderich, succeeded George Canning as Prime Minister in 1827. But he was unable to hold together Canning’s coalition of Tories and Whigs and so resigned himself after just 144 days in office. He nonetheless went on to serve in the cabinets of both Earl Grey and Sir Robert Peel.

3. Andrew Bonar Law. The only Canadian to have served as British Prime Minister, Law was a Conservative Party leader who became Prime Minister after the fall of David Lloyd George’s Coalition Government on 23rd October, 1922. The party then won a clear majority in a general election on 15th November of that year. But ill with throat cancer he resigned on 20th May the following year, having served just 211 days in office. He died soon after on 30th October that year.

This Week in London – London’s history of executions; myth-making around Alexander the Great; and, Édouard Manet’s ‘Eva Gonzalès’ examined…

Charles I vest, Executions 2022 © Museum of London

• The history of public executions in London – spanning a period of some 700 years – is the subject of a landmark new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in West India Quay. Executions explores how capital punishment became embedded in the city’s landscape – from the first recorded public execution in 1196 to the last in 1868 – and looks at the rarely told and often tragic human stories behind them. Items on display include an intricately woven silk vest said to have been worn by King Charles I at his execution outside the Banqueting House (pictured), a 300-year-old bedsheet embroidered with a love note in human hair and personal items which once belonged to prison reformer Elizabeth Fry. Visitors can also stand in front of the Newgate Prison door, marking the last steps for prisoners heading to the scaffold, and see a dramatic recreation of the Tyburn “Triple Tree” gallows. Visitors will also learn about the 200 offences that became punishable by death and the spectacle and rituals of execution days as well as what led celebrity criminals to the gallows. Admission charge applies. Runs until 16th April next year. For more, see https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/exhibitions/executions.

Marble head of Alexander © Museum of Classical Archaelogy

The first exhibition exploring the rich history of story-telling around one of the most famous figures of the ancient world – Alexander the Great – opens at the British Library tomorrow. Alexander the Great: The Making of a Myth features almost 140 exhibits from 25 countries including astrological clay tablets, ancient papyri and medieval manuscripts as well as comics, films and video games. It reveals how Alexander’s character has been adapted and appropriated by different cultures and religions, with conflicting interpretations. Runs until 19th February. Admission charge applies. A season of in-person and online events accompanies the exhibition. For more, see www.bl.uk/events/alexander-the-great-the-making-of-a-myth.

• Portraits of the Euro 2020 England men’s football squad and its manager, Gareth Southgate, will be shown at the City of London Corporation’s Guildhall Art Gallery from today. The free exhibition, This is England, features the most successful men’s national team – finalists in Euro 2020 – since the winners of the World Cup in 1966, from Harry Kane and Jude Bellingham to Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling. The paintings are the work of artist Matt Small and were commissioned by the FA and exhibited at the St George training ground during the Euro 2020 finals. The paintings can be seen until 19th February. For more, see www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/events/this-is-england.

Edouard Manet, ‘Eva Gonzalès’, 1870

Édouard Manet’s 1870 portrait of Eva Gonzalès is the subject of a new exhibition at The National Gallery opening on Friday. The painting was considered by the early 20th century to be the most famous modern French painting in the UK and Ireland. The exhibition, the first in a new series of ‘Discover’ exhibitions to be staged in the Sunley Room with the aim of exploring well-known paintings in the collection through a contemporary lens, examines the lifelong artistic dialogue and the complexities of the friendship and mentorship between Manet and Gonzalès, his only formal pupil. It also looks at the broader context of female self portraits from the 18th to early 20th centuries, alongside portraits of women artists by male friends, husbands, and teachers The free exhibition includes works by Eva Gonzalès, Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, Edouard Manet, Berthe Morisot, Alfred Stevens and Laura Knight. Runs until 15th January. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk/exhibitions/discover-manet-eva-gonzalès.

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LondonLife – Celebrating wildlife at the Natural History Museum…

‘The Big Buzz’ by Karine Aigner, USA, winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

An up-close image of a buzzing ball of cactus bees over the hot sand at a Texas ranch has won American photographer Karine Aigner the honour of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The image depicts male bees as they compete for the attention of the single female bee at the centre of the ball. Aigner is the fifth woman to win the Grand Title award in the 58 year history of the competition, which is run by the Natural History Museum. Her image is being shown along with that of 16-year-old Thai Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn – who won Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for an up-close image of a whale’s baleen – as well as those of category winners in this year’s contest in a redesigned exhibition at the museum in South Kensington.  Alongside the photographs, the display features short videos, quotes from jury members and photographers and insights from museum scientists on how human actions continue to shape the natural world. The exhibition can be seen until 2nd July. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year . The 59th annual competition is now open for entries. For more on how to enter, see www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy/competition.

‘The Beauty of Baleen’ by Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn, Thailand, winner of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

This Week in London – Hieroglyphs explored at the British Museum; King Charles III coronation date announced; ‘The Admiral’s Revenge’ in Greenwich’; and, Dickens and ghosts…

The Rosetta Stone. Granodiorite; Rasid, Egypt; Ptolemaic, 196 BC © The Trustees of the British Museum.

• Marking 200 years since French Egyptologist Jean-Francois Champollion (1790-1832) was able to decipher hieroglyphs using the Rosetta Stone, a new exhibition opening at the British Museum explores how the stone and other inscriptions and objects helped scholars unlock one of the world’s oldest civilisations. Hieroglyphs: unlocking ancient Egypt centres on the Rosetta Stone but also features more than 240 other objects, many of which are shown for the first time. Alongside the Rosetta Stone itself, highlights include: “the Enchanted Basin”, a large black granite sarcophagus from about 600 BCE which is covered with hieroglyphs and images of gods; the richly illustrated, more than 3000-year-old Book of the Dead papyrus of Queen Nedjmet which measures more than four metres long; and the mummy bandage of Aberuait, a souvenir from one of the earliest ‘mummy unwrapping events’ in the 1600s where attendees each received a piece of the linen, preferably inscribed with hieroglyphs. There’s also the personal notes of key figures in the race to decipher hieroglyphs including those of Champollion which come from the Bibliothèque nationale de France as well as those of England’s Thomas Young (1773 – 1829) from the British Library. The exhibition can be seen in the Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery until 19th February. Admission charge applies. For more, see britishmuseum.org/hieroglyphs.

• King Charles III will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6th May next year, Buckingham Palace has announced this week. The Queen Consort, Camilla, will be crowned alongside him in the first such coronation since 12th May, 1937, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were crowned in the abbey. The ceremony, which will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will, according to the palace, “reflect the monarch’s role today and look towards the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry”. King Charles III is expected to sign a Proclamation formally declaring the coronation date at a meeting of the Privy Council later this year. The first documented coronation at Westminster Abbey was that of King William the Conqueror on 25th December, 1066, and there have been 37 since, the most recent being that of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd June, 1953.

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A new dark comedy, The Admiral’s Revenge, has opened in The Admiral’s House in the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. The play, set in 1797, features sea shanties, puppetry and follows a crew of shipmates in the wake of the ill-fated Battle of Tenerife. Audiences have the chance to explore the Admiral’s House before the show and enjoy a complimentary rum cocktail. Runs until 12th November. For ticket prices, head to https://ornc.org/whats-on/1797-the-mariners-revenge/.

A new exhibition exploring Charles Dickens’ interest in the paranormal has opened at the Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury. To Be Read At Dusk: Dickens, Ghosts and the Supernatural explores Dickens’ famous ghost stories, including A Christmas Carol, and reveals his influence on the genre. Highlights include a copy of The Chimes which Dickens gifted to fellow author Hans Christian Anderson, original John Leech sketches of Dickens’ ghosts of the past, present and future and original tickets and playbills relating to the author’s public performances of his ghost stories. The display will also look into Dickens’ own views on the supernatural as a fascinated sceptic and includes  correspondence in which he was asking about the location of a supposedly haunted house. Runs until 5th March. Admission charge applies. For more, see https://dickensmuseum.com/blogs/all-events/to-be-read-at-dusk-dickens-ghosts-and-the-supernatural.

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