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  The Exbury Egg is a thing of beauty and, after a somewhat epic journey along Britain’s highways, byways and waterways, it has come to rest in the courtyard outside the Jerwood Gallery. Artist Stephen Turner, whose work often challenges the relationship between natural and human-constructed environments, says, ‘an egg is crucial as a way … Continue readings

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  IN THE LIGHT OF SURREALISM #2 and INVERSE REFLECTION, the two exhibitions opening at the Arts Forum this week, draw, consciously or unconsciously, on tenets of surrealism. One of the most influential cultural movements of the twentieth century, surrealism continues to inspire artists today. But what does it mean? ‘I think the word is … Continue readings

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  Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting.” – Jane Eyre   WHAT IS IT ABOUT JANE EYRE? What makes the book and, indeed, Jane herself so beloved by so many people? Certainly, the themes of love (bordering almost on obsession), madness, abuse and … Continue readings

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  ‘I DON’T WANT TO PRODUCE WORK that is a pleasant distraction, then you move on to something else. I would actually like it to … stop their day. To make it an encounter,’ comments artist Marcus Harvey. And, without a doubt, that’s what his art has done since Myra (1995), his portrait of Myra … Continue readings

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  WE WERE REMINDED OF THE SPLENDOUR OF GEORGE STEVENS’ GIANT the other day when we were reviewing Brown-Eyed Girl, the fourth and final book in Lisa Kleypas’s ‘Travis family’ series. It perhaps may seem odd to link a contemporary romance, albeit a very good one, with an iconic 20th-century film by such a great … Continue readings

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  SEVERAL WEEKS AGO, while listening to BBC 6 Music early in the morning, I had one of those rare magical moments, when you hear a song and its lyrics and melody are so mesmerising that they touch something deep inside and make the world, even for a few seconds, a better place for hearing … Continue readings

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  Francis Cugat’s striking cover illustration ‘Celestial Eyes’, commissioned for the 1925 edition of The Great Gatsby, is probably one of the most iconic images in literary design history. The haunting eyes, painted in gouache, peering out of a deep blue background, float ominously above bright red lips and a glowing cityscape. Each eye features … Continue readings

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  EDITOR’S CHOICE   The phenomenon that is Dolly Parton, playing Glastonbury 2014. A sight, I’m sure, many people never thought they would see. Amazing woman. You just have to grin. And sing.     See also: Dolly Parton, ‘The Not-so-invisible Woman’ … 100 great women in words’  

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  GEORGETTE HEYER is one of my favourite writers. At the drop of a hat, I retreat back to the safety and comfort of her books, particularly Frederica, Venetia or These Old Shades. Like Sayers‘ and Ellison‘s books, Heyer’s have been republished and repackaged in many formats with many different covers, some great, some not. … Continue readings

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Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is one of the most influential pieces of 20th-century literature, as well as being a masterpiece in its own right. Since its original publication, it has been reprinted, translated, repackaged and reformatted countless times in striking editions, with just as striking jackets. For me, though, the first Random House book, published … Continue readings

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  A rare bit of footage featuring an interview on Arlene Francis’s ‘Home’ with Charles Eames (with Ray in the background). In it, he discusses their various chairs and introduces the Eames Lounge Chair for Herman Miller. Ray is very much treated as ‘Mrs Eames’, Charles’s ‘helper’. Oh, you wouldn’t get away with that today. … Continue readings

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  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PgNr0IZRDE   New Zealand-born Len Lye was an experimental animator and sculptor. He is known primarily for a series of innovative films produced in the 1930s and 40s, the earlier ones while working with John Grierson’s GPO Film Unit.