Around London – Design Festival in full swing; museum acquires rare merchant figure; Olympic medals on display; and, remembering Polish, Czech and Slovak airmen…

• The London Design Festival is in full swing in London this week with more than 250 events taking place across the city over its 10 days. Launched last Saturday, the festival runs until Sunday and there’s still plenty of time to get involved. Among the highlights is a series of events, workshops and talks being held at the Victoria & Albert Museum (where you can also see 12 specially commissioned installations, one of which sees the museum’s grand entrance transformed with a sculptural form), a series of shows focusing on design in six London “design districts” – Brompton, Pimlico Road, Covent Garden, Fitzrovia, Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, and a broad program of ‘partner’ and ‘international’ events – everything from a festival featuring African-Caribbean design through to an exhibition of experimental chairs by the Danish Cabinetmaker’s Association. To find out more, simply head to

The Museum of London has announced the purchase of a rare 18th century clay figure of London druggist and tea merchant Thomas Todd. The figure, which was acquired with the help of the Art Fund and MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund,  is one of only two known portrait works attributed to the Chinese artists Chitqua on show in Britain. The figure, which is made from unfired clay held together by bamboo and brightly painted, was acquired from Todd’s great, great, great, great grand nephew, Thomas Todd, and will appear shortly in the Expanding City Gallery in the Galleries of Modern London. Based in Fleet Street, Pat Hardy, the museum’s curator of paintings, prints and drawings, says Todd “epitomised the kind of business acumen which ensured the growth of Britain’s industrial, mercantile and commercial empire in the eighteenth century”. For more, see

The British Museum has opened an exhibition giving the public their first chance to see next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games medals. Medals have been awarded at the Olympic Games since the first modern games were held in 1896. The latest Olympic medals were designed by jeweller David Watkins, for many years Professor of Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at London’s Royal College of Art, while the latest Paralympic Medals were designed by jeweller Lin Cheung, a senior lecturer for Jewellery Design at London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The exhibition tells how, using minerals mined in the US and Mongolia (Rio Tinto is sponsoring the exhibition), the medals were produced at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, South Wales. Mine to medals: the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games medals runs until 9th September next year. Admission is free. For more, see

• On Now: Brothers in Arms – Airmen of Poland and Czechoslovakia in the Battle of Britain & Beyond. The Royal Air Force Museum in Colindale, north London, is hosting an exhibition looking at the contribution of Polish, Czech and Slovak airmen in the Battle of Britain and their life afterwards. Curated in association with the Polish Institute of National Remembrance, the exhibition features drawings, archival film footage and sculpture as well as uniforms, diaries and combat reports. Opened by Poland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Radoslaw Sirkorski (who later attended the annual banquet held in honor of the Veterans of the Battle of Britain), it runs until 4th March, 2012. Entry is free. For more, visit