Five autumn exhibitions to book NOW

As Autumn creeps ever nearer, we’ve got a little bit of that back-to-school feeling in the best way. While algebra might no longer be on the agenda, we love a little culture here at The Style Life. This week, Contributing Editor Margaret Hussey has rounded up five must-see autumn exhibitions – book now or regret it later!

Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution, V&A Museum

Cigarette case, Fabergé, two colour gold, guilloché enamel, diamonds, 1908.
Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2021

In this first major exhibition dedicated to the legendary Russian goldsmith, there’s a whole host of incredible objects telling the story of Carl Fabergé. And three of his legendary Imperial Easter eggs will go on display for the first time in the UK.

Showing more than 200 objects, the exhibition tells how Fabergé and his firm came to symbolise Russian craftsmanship and elegance. His only branch outside Russian opened in London in 1903 and attracted Royalty, Grand Dukes and Maharajas. 

The first section looks at the importance of the Romanov family as well as techniques and design. The centrepiece here will be a stunning aquamarine and diamond tiara.

The second section focuses on London and the strong links between the British and Russian Royal families. It includes a beautiful art nouveau cigarette case given to Edward VII by his mistress Mrs George Keppel. While the final section focuses on those iconic eggs, including the Moscow Kremlin and Alexander Palace. 

Fabergé in London: Romance to Revolution runs at the V&A from November 20 to May 8 2022. For more visit www.vam.ac.uk 

Poussin and the Dance, National Gallery 

 A Bacchanalian Revel before a Term, Nicolas Poussin, 1632–3
image © The National Gallery, London

Often said to be the artist’s artist, Nicolas Poussin has been a huge influence on everyone from Cezanne to Picasso to Francis Bacon. Yet his paintings are often overlooked or said to be cold and difficult.

This new exhibition Poussin and the Dance at the National Gallery hopes to change all that by exploring his depictions of dance. And far from cold and grey images, they will include joyous scenes, showing how Poussin captured the movement of the body.  

Paintings to be included are Dance to the Music of Time, said to represent the cycle of the human condition: Poverty, Labour, Wealth, Pleasure and back to Poverty. 

Over twenty paintings and drawings from public and private collections in Europe and the USA, including a series of drawings lent by the Queen, will be shown for the first time alongside some of the celebrated Classical antiquities that inspired them. 

Poussin and the Dance runs from October 9 to January 2 2022. For more visit nationalgallery.org.uk  

The Japan Festival, Kew Gardens

One Thousand Springs by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota will be displayed as part of the Japan Festival at Kew Gardens.
Image: © Roman März

We’ve been blown away by the country during the Olympics and now you can sample a little bit of Japan on your doorstep. The Japan Festival at Kew Gardens celebrates the country’s art, plants and culture during October. 

The centrepiece is a large-scale artistic installation, One Thousand Springs by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota. The intricate construction will see 5,000 haikus suspended within red threads from the roof of the Temperate House. 

There will also be calligraphy performances, illuminations after hours, sake experts and demonstrations of the art of ikebana – Japanese flower arranging.

While Kew’s horticultural team have designed a spectacular display of Chrysanthemums – it’s Japan’s national flower and features on passports and banknotes. The Kew display will feature six varieties of chrysanthemums with yellow, orange and white blooms to evoke the setting sun and create a blaze of colour.

The Japan Festival runs from October 2 to October 31. For more visit kew.org

Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything, British Museum 

Under the Wave off Kanagawa, Hokusai
Image: © The British Museum

Keeping the Japanese theme going, over at the British Museum, more than 100 newly rediscovered drawings by Hokusai will go on public display for the very first time.

The drawings had been forgotten for the past 70 years and resurfaced in Paris in 2019. Bought by the British Museum last year, they illustrate a broad range of subjects related to China, India and the natural world: from religious, mythological, historical, and literary figures, to animals, birds and flowers and other natural phenomena. Many subjects here are not found in any other Hokusai works.

The British Museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Hokusai works outside of Japan. Visitors to the exhibition will also have a chance to see two examples of his most celebrated print Under the Wave off Kanagawa, popularly called The Great Wave. 

Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything runs from September 30 to January 30 2022. For more visit britishmuseum.org

Late Constable, the Royal Academy 

Stonehenge, John Constable
image © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Coming to the Royal Academy in October, Late Constable looks at the last 12 years of the artist’s career. 

Spanning from 1825 until his death in 1837, it will bring together more than 50 works including paintings and oil sketches, with his characteristic expressive brushwork, as well as watercolours, drawings and prints.

Taking an in-depth look at the artist’s late style, it will be arranged in three sections. The first will include The Leaping Horse from 1825, one of the highlights of the Royal Academy’s collection.

The second will explore Constable’s work in the 1830s leading up to his last two exhibition pictures: Cenotaph to the Memory of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Arundel Mill and Castle.

The final section, Works on Paper, will feature watercolours, drawings and prints. In his late career, Constable turned his attention to watercolour with an enthusiasm he had not shown since the early 1800s. A master stroke for a master.

Late Constable runs at the Royal Academy from October 30 to February 13 2022. For more visit www.royalacademy.org.uk

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