Five Good Things: what to do, see, read and buy this April
Praise the spells and bless the charms: we’ve found April in our arms! And with it a bumper crop of springtime treats to pass the time
The pandemic put the kibosh on so many events we’d been looking forward to, among them London Art Fair. The 2021 edition was a casualty of lockdown and, in January this year it was postponed again. So the fact it’s back and better than ever this April has put a spring in our step. More than 100 galleries hailing from across the globe will participate in the 34th edition, which runs 20-24 April at the Business Design Centre in Islington. Expect the boldness of David Bomberg on show at Waterhouse & Dodd, a fantastic Mary Fedden at Thomas Spencer Fine Art, a woven wonder by RG Kitaj at James Hyman Gallery, and the surreal silliness of a new David Shrigley edition at Jealous Gallery, plus much more. Visit London Art Fair’s website for details.
Shown: Charlotte Keates, Yellow is Mellow, but Tricky to Pull Off, 2021. Courtesy of Arusha Gallery
Meanwhile, for more focused fare, pay a visit to Patrick Bourne & Co. From 28 April until 7 May the gallery, which occupies an 18th-century townhouse in St James’, will be hosting an exhibition of works by Haidee Becker. It’s the painter’s first major show at the gallery in seven years and will feature thoughtful still lifes, flower pictures and portraits that strip beauty back to basics. Don’t just take our word for it; the late Ted Hughes was swept away by them, writing: “They have, for me, the essential quality; the revelation of a passionate inwardness… The depth is the psychological depth of great sweetness – gently and powerfully focused.” How’s that for a write-up? Keep an eye on Patrick Bourne & Co for details.
Shown: Haidee Becker, Three Venetian Lettuces, 2021
Easter eggs aren’t just for kiddies. In fact, the beautiful reproduction birds’ eggs currently on sale at The Shop Floor Project are very grown-up indeed – and we want one. Or two. Or ten. A veritable clutch! By turns mottled and speckled, blotched and blue, they are the creations of craftsman and ornithologist Peter Rowland, who makes and paints them by hand in his Worcestershire workshop. As well as their delicate countenance, we’re drawn to their names – Siskin, Razorbill, Ringed Plover – each a conduit to an increasingly invisible fragment of the natural world in Britain. As with all of the online gallery’s offerings, they’re sure to sell out fast. Bonnets on and baskets at the ready. Visit The Shop Floor Project for details.
Cabbages & Roses, the company known for its romantic floral fabrics and swishy skirts, is perhaps the epitome of shabby-chic. The washed textures and vintagey florals dreamed up by founder Christina Strutt have surely earned her the title of queen of cottagecore in the years since she started the Somerset-based business in 2000. Now, she’s looking back on two decades of designing and decorating – and sharing some secrets too. Strutt’s latest book, A Life in Fabric, draws on her experience of defining a quintessentially country look and translates it into a manual for living beautifully. Expect mood boards aplenty alongside sumptuous interior still lifes, as well as imaginative – and realistic – styling tips. It’s out on 4 April. Visit publisher Cico Books for details.
Can one overstate the importance of furniture? We think not. And neither – not that you’ll be surprised to hear – do the clever people at the Furniture History Society, which since 1964 has been inviting people to study furniture of all places and periods, styles and kinds. Fancy an object lesson? On 23 April the society is hosting its 46th annual symposium of short talks on the subject, which will take place in the Wallace Collection in London. Interior designer Christopher Hodsoll expands on the joys of Geoffrey Bennison; Penny Sparke, a professor of design history, plays fake or fortune with 18th-century French furniture; and former V&A curator and fashion specialist Stephen Calloway talks about amusing wardrobes (sort of). Like the sound of it? Pull up a chair. Visit The Furniture Society for details.
Photography: Don Freeman
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