Retirement and Hobbies

Entertainment and Culture for October

Exhibitions & Galleries to Visit in October

By Phyllis Oberman, Art Aficionado

This month Phyllis Oberman looks at some of the fabulous art and exhibitions you can visit in October. There are so many wonderful and different things for you to enjoy. 

Natural Views

The genius of James McNeill Whistler (1834 – 1903) at painting the natural world can be seen at a new exhibition at Compton Verney Warwickshire which opens from the 20th October, 2018. Whistler and Nature continues until 16th December, 2018.

James McNeill Whistler: Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses
© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

Born in America with a family background of engineering and the military, Whistler made Britain his home base with painting forays to continental Europe.

Much of his atmospheric landscape works reflected the Victorian focus on trade and industry so there are fog-laden views of Thames-side warehouses and bridges as well as parks, gardens and seascapes. 

James McNeill Whistler:  A Distant Dome
© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

This exhibition is curated in conjunction with the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University and in the New Year travels to the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge and the Laing, Newcastle before opening in Glasgow in summer 2019. 

The Hunterian has the world’s largest collection of work by Whistler, who is considered to be the most innovative and modernising American artist of his time.

James McNeill Whistler:  Billingsgate, 1859,
© The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

The Compton Verney show continues until 16th December 2018. Concessionary tickets are available and further details can be found at  

The Glamour of Celebrity

The Bohemian atmosphere of Paris music halls, night clubs and theatres of the late 1800’s and the turn of the century is evoked in a new exhibition opening at the Scottish National Gallery in central Edinburgh on 4th October, 2018.

Called Pin-Ups: Toulouse-Lautrec and the Art of Celebrity this revealing show illustrates how Lautrec’s art posters helped develop the cult of modern celebrity culture.

Jane Avril, 1899 by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. 
Collection National Galleries of Scotland

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864 – 1901) came from an aristocratic French family in Albi south-western France. He had a rare bone disorder which stunted the growth of his legs, believed to be the result of his parents being first cousins.

Despite a number of operations his height did not improve and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec always walked with a stick.

May Belfort, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1895. Belfort
was an Irish singer popular in Paris nightclubs

Henri was a leading painter, printmaker and caricaturist. His inspiration was the louche night life of Montmartre.

The poster artworks he produced to promote the artistes who performed in the café-cabarets and dance halls benefited from the recent development of lithography and poster making.  

It is said that his posters were so popular that they were torn off of walls in the street by people to take home.

The exhibition also features work by Lautrec’s contemporaries like Pierre Bonnard, as well as various British artists who gravitated to Paris – and Montmartre especially – including Walter Sickert, JD Fergusson and William Nicholson. 

Sadly his addiction to the spirit Absinthe (later banned), his colourful lifestyle and various health conditions, led to his early death at the age of 36.  During the exhibition there will be a number of talks.

Portrait of Toulouse-Lautrec by Charles Maurin, 1893

Concessionary tickets are available and full information can be found at  

Over the seas to the Pacific and its Islands

A major exhibition during the Royal Academy’s 250 years celebrations is Oceania, the first-ever show in Britain of artworks and culture from all across the vast Pacific and its islands. Until Captain Cook’s first voyage of discovery in 1768 very little was known about the peoples who inhabit the myriad Pacific islands as well as the Maori culture of New Zealand.  

Ahu ula (feather cloak) belonging to Liholoho, Kamehameha 11, early
19th Century, Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, Cambridge

Oceania spans 500 years of extraordinary exhibits and reveals the huge number and variety of cultures across this vast ocean from Hawaii and Tahiti to the Soloman Island to Papua New Guinea, Easter Island, Polynesia to Micronesia.  

Common to all these oceanic peoples was an incredible talent for seamanship which meant that they were able to travel great distances and over millennia populated islands previously uninhabited.  

Their hand-built, sleek canoes, often double-hulled, combined with a talent for navigation by the stars meant that journeys over enormous areas were regularly undertaken.

This major exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Musee du Quai Branley-Jacques Chirac, Paris. Partners include New Zealand whose Maori arts and culture are displayed, The Kingdom of Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

Temple image figure made of wood (ki’i), ku-ka’ili-moku (the god Ku, the island snatcher), 1790 – 1810, from the Hawaiian Islands

The Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology also participated in this exhibition and loaned a selection of objects for display. 

19th Century necklace of sperm whale ivory worn by a high-status chief

Oceania continues until 10th December, 2018.  The Royal Academy is holding a selection of talks during the show. Concessionary tickets are available and full details can be obtained from the website at  

Also at the Royal Academy is a free display British Watercolours: From the Collection of BNY Mellon. The paintings and drawings created during the first hundred years of the RA’s existence, come from the company’s corporate collection and include work by Gainsborough, Turner, Constable, Sir David Wilkie and John Ruskin.

John Ruskin: San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 1876

This display continues until 16th December, 2018. Further information is available from  

An Artists World

The British painter, printmaker and designer, Julian Trevelyan (1910 – 1988) is the subject of an exhibition at the Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, opening on 6th October, 2018.

In his early career he was engrossed in Surrealism whilst studying at Cambridge.  

Leaving his studies at Cambridge he decided to go to Paris to join Atelier 17 where under William Hayter, the British founder of the studio he concentrated on etching, printmaking and continued to produce surrealist works.

He studied alongside artists such as Picasso, Miro and Kokoschka. Trevelyan did not desert conventional painting however and this went in parallel with his more abstract art.

In the late 1930’s he took part in a Mass Observation project to depict the industrial North of England and his collage pictures reflected the dire economic conditions he found there.

The  riveting  picture  featured  above  shows  Julian  Trevelyan,  Self  Portrait,  1940    © National Portrait Gallery / The Julian Trevelyan Estate

During World War II he served with the Industrial Camouflage Research Unit where, with other artists, their techniques benefited the British by deceiving their opponents in the North African desert by ‘disappearing’ soldiers and tanks using camouflage.

Julian Trevelyan: Burslem, 1938, Private Collection © The Julian Trevelyan Estate

After the war Trevelyan with his wife, the artist Mary Fedden, travelled extensively in Europe, India and the US. The exhibition displays many works made during these travels. He taught at Chelsea School of art and later at the Royal College of Art. He became Head of the Etching department where one of his pupils was David Hockney.

Julian Trevelyan: Washing Day, Freetown, 1942, Private Collection
© The Julian Trevelyan Estate

His work was shown in exhibitions throughout his life.   In 1987, the year before he died he was appointed a Royal Academician.

Julian Trevelyan: The Artist and his World continues until 10th February 2019. Concessionary tickets are available. 

Full information including details of talks can be found at  

After The Romans

An insight into what Britain was like during the 600 years between the demise of the Romans and the Norman conquest is provided by a new exhibition at The British Library in London.  

Opening on 19th October, 2018  Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War presents a glittering display of hand-written manuscripts, books and objects that reveals the very sophisticated culture of that time.

King Edgar’s Charter for the new Minster, Winchester (detail) c. 966

One outstanding item is a copy of the famous Domesday Book. Another is a giant bible, Codex Amiatus, hand-made by Northumbrian monks. In the year 736 it was taken to Italy as a present for the Pope and is returning from Florence to England for the first time in 1300 years.

The show will also include objects such as items from the recently unearthed Staffordshire Hoard. The overall message of this remarkable exhibition is that during the Anglo-Saxon period art, culture and connections across Europe and the Middle East proliferated.

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms continues until 19th February, 2019 and full details including various events and talks, can be found at Concessionary tickets are available.

Two at the Tate

Tate Modern on London’s South Bank has two exhibitions that are linked in that both emanate in Weimar Germany between the two World Wars.

Anni Albers opens on 11th October, 2018 and is the first UK retrospective of this talented textile artist’s work. She trained in the famous Bauhaus art school in Weimar developing her skills in the weaving workshop.

Anni Albers: Black White Yellow (1926/1955), original lost; rewoven Stoelzl 1955. Metropolitan Museum of Art, © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation

The Tate show will display many examples of her hand-woven textiles, designs for mass production, large wall hangings and jewellery drawn from collections in the US and Europe.

The Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933. Anni moved with her artist husband, Josef, to America where they both taught. She also travelled to Mexico, Chile and Peru where the colourful local hand-woven fabrics and designs influenced her greatly.

Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain
College (US) 1937, State Archives of North Carolina

The exhibition continues until 27th January 2019. Concessionary tickets are available and full details can be found at  

Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany is a free exhibition also at Tate Modern. The Weimar Republic lasted in Germany from 1919 to 1933 and the phrase ‘Magic Realism’ is used in this case to reflect the unsettled artistic imagery between the two World Wars and the way in which artists reflected contrasts between a more liberal society and the growth of political extremism.

Conrad Felixmueller: The Beggar of Prachatice, 1924. 
The George Economou Collection

Well-known artists whose work is on show include Otto Dix, George Grosz and Max Beckmann.  

Other artists represented are less known and their work is included to give a panorama of artistic endeavour in Weimar Germany until the Nazis took over when many of them fled Germany.

Josef Eberz: Dancer (Beatrice Mariagraete), The George Economou Collection

This free show continues until 14th July, 2019. For more information please visit the Tate website at  

Art In Brief

The Museums at Night Festival takes place at museums and galleries all over the UK on the 25th, 26th and 27th October, 2018.

Late night entry and all sorts of special events are detailed in full on the website at  

Favourite Gallery or Museum

If you have a favourite local art gallery or museum that you would like to share with Sixtyplusurfers readers, please send the details to Phyllis Oberman care of Sixtyplusurfers to Jenny Itzcovitz at

Please label the subject of your email Favourite Art Gallery and Museum for Phyllis Oberman’s column.

Photography Skills

Learn How to Take
the Best Photographs of London Landmarks

London is home to hundreds of interesting buildings and architectural styles perfect for photographing, but while everyone has a camera on them in the form of a phone, not everyone knows how to capture the perfect photo, particularly when it comes to taking pictures of sky scrapers of famous landmarks.

To help budding photographers around the capital, London-based adult education college City Lit give their top 5 tips to help photography enthusiasts take better pictures of the buildings that surround us daily.

The time of day

It’s easy to only take pictures of sunset – who doesn’t love a dramatic, burning orange shot of a skyscraper or landmark? The shadows are long and the colours bright, meaning taking that awe-inspiring shot is a bit easier. However, this can mean you only end up with atmospheric shots of a building taken at one specific point in time.

Take images at different times of day and in different weather conditions to build up a better story of the relationship between the building and its environment.

Find a new perspective

Everyone knows the viewpoint of eye level – we see everything from this viewpoint every day. However, it’s important to remember how impactful changing the photograph’s perspective can be.

Buildings can be vast and have many overlooked details – try to find these and make them the focal point of the picture and you may be rewarded with a wonderful, abstract and unique photo.

All the gear, no idea

You don’t have to own the most expensive camera, lighting or equipment to take the best photographs. It’s often said that a good photographer can take great photos with a poor camera, or even a smartphone! It really is all about technique.

If however, you do have a choice in your kit, a wide-angle lens is usually the best for architectural photography as sometimes the many minute and intricate details get lost when an entire room is shot in one frame. A tripod can also help open up possibilities for shooting in low light.

Health and Safety

Not everything is okay to photograph, for example, military buildings, border protection points, government buildings and some hospitals prohibit photography. When beginning your shoot, make sure you check the legality of your shoot first. Additionally, checking the safety of your surrounding is also a must. Look out for slip and trip hazards, and make sure that your building is structurally sound!

Keep on learning

A lot of photography can only be learned through trial, error and lots of practice. However, if you feel you need more training or guidance or help finding the right perspectives, why not try an Architectural Photography Course? Those in the London area can sign up to City Lit’s Photography City of London Course at

Grant Smith who runs the course says, “This is an ideal course to experience and photograph the significant building boom that is currently taking place in the City of London. Learners will understand how best to frame and capture elements of the diverse buildings in the City, from Wren churches to the Barbican by Chamberlin Powell & Moya, and to the latest buildings by Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. We’ll also look at buildings being constructed, such as the Scalpel and the Can of Ham.

“There is nowhere other than London where you can photograph parts of the 1st century Roman Wall, next to a building from the 21st century. We will discover streets that these juxtapositions in time are evident. The Square Mile is a fascinating mixture of old and new, ancient and modern, and structures that divide opinion, be they good, bad or ugly.”

For more information about City Lit courses click on

Family Day Out

Stunning Autumn Displays at Hever Castle & Gardens

Visitors to Hever Castle & Gardens can enjoy striking autumn displays, learn how to plant a winter hanging basket and stock up on spring bulbs.

The Autumn Colour event this year features a new self-guided trail around the lake incorporating points of interest including World War II Pillboxes, the newly opened Smugglers Walk and waterfall, the impressive Japanese Teahouse and a tick-box list of autumnal coloured trees.

Trees of note include some of Scots Pines beside the lake which were brought to the garden from nearby Ashdown Forest by former owner William Waldorf Astor during the creation of the garden in 1904 -1908.

Autumn is a stunning time of year to visit not only for the trees but also to see the Boston ivy on the front of the Castle as a glorious vibrant red.

Head gardener Neill Miller says, “There’s much to see in the Garden and arboretum at this time of the year.  The Italian Garden has a profusion of autumn bedding, while the front of the medieval Castle is cloaked in bright red Boston ivy. The colours are extraordinarily vivid and wildlife is abundant.”

Visitors will also get the opportunity to learn how to plant a winter hanging basket full of plants to see them through the darker months along with bulbs for colour come early spring.

Autumn is also bulb planting time and following Hever’s successful Dazzling Daffodils and Tulip Celebration events this year the gardening team will be sharing plans for 2019 along with inspirational tips and selling daffodil and tulip bulbs on site.

If you’re looking for fantastic autumn colour or a place to gain some autumnal gardening inspiration then you could do no better than a visit to Hever Castle & Gardens in Kent.

For details visit

Bank of England Exhibition

  Feliks Topolski Drawing Debden 

An absorbing collection of works by acclaimed expressionist artist Feliks Topolski (1907-1989) will be seen by the public for the first time when a new, free exhibition opens at the Bank of England Museum in October.

Feliks Topolski: Drawing Debden will feature works from a set of 27 drawings and paintings by Topolski, commissioned by the Bank of England in 1957 to mark the opening of its Printing Works in Debden, Essex, at the end of the Central Line. The exhibition runs from 1st October until Summer 2019 at the Bank of England Museum in Threadneedle Street at the heart of the City of London. 

The opening of the new Debden printing works in 1956 signalled a great leap forward for the Bank of England and one which it wished to commemorate. The following year, the Bank of England commissioned Topolski to create an illustrated record of the building, its staff and the intricate process that saw paper enter the east end of the building and emerge from the west side as finished banknotes.

Topolski’s work features panoramic views from the inspectors’ galleries, across the different stages of banknote manufacture. He captures a variety of printing techniques including both lithographic and intaglio printing, as well as numbering, cutting and examining the finished banknotes. As well as wider images of the production line, there are close studies of individual machine operators, sheet checkers and note counters at work. 

While the pictures capture an atmosphere of concentrated industry, they also carry an air of social buzz around the new community that was growing in Debden. After the Second World War, many people moved away from London’s Blitz-damaged East End to the new Debden housing estate, creating a ready-made workforce for the Printing Works when it moved to the area. Staff members are shown at leisure as well as at work, playing table tennis in the recreation hall and knitting, drinking tea and reading in the canteen.

The Printing Works’ distinctive building was designed by architect Sir Howard Robertson (1888-1963), along with structural engineers Ove Arup. It was designed specifically for the banknote-making process, enabling great improvements in efficiency. Topolski’s work records the vast arches of the Production Hall roof, created to accommodate the huge plate printing presses and still in use for the same purpose today.

An unobtrusive inspectors’ gallery offered a grand view of the factory floor and improved the security of the operation, as well as giving Topolski a discreet vantage point from which to record the production line.    

As well as bringing into the light a long-hidden set of Topolski pictures, the exhibition will include photography of Debden since the 1950s and examples of the individual notes under production.  The original works will be displayed on rotation to preserve their details and protect them from light damage. 

Acclaimed war artist and chronicler of London society and culture, Feliks Topolski was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1907 and settled in Britain in the 1930s. In 1941, he joined the first Arctic convoy to Russia and, during WWII, travelled to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, India, Burma and China. He saw Bergen Belsen concentration camp two weeks after its liberation and attended, and drew, the Nuremberg Trials.

In 1958, Prince Philip commissioned Topolski to paint a mural of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation at Buckingham Palace. Famous for his portraits of cultural figures, Topolski’s subjects included Mahatma Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Alec Guinness, TS Eliot, Harold Pinter and Laurence Olivier. He also captured the subjects of John Freeman’s celebrated 1960s BBC TV interview series, ‘Face to Face’, including Tony Hancock, Edith Sitwell and Albert Finney. He died in London in 1989.

Feliks Topolski: Drawing Debden. Dates runs from 1 October 2018 – Summer 2019. There is no charge for admission to the Museum or for any event.

Entrance to the exhibition is at Bartholomew Lane (off Threadneedle Street), London EC2R 8AH (a two-minute walk from Bank Underground Station).  Opening hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm). Closed Public and Bank Holidays and weekends, except for special events taking place on those days.

For more information visit the website at

Winter Art Exhibition

The Apex Gallery at Bury St Edmonds

The first ‘Open’ art winter exhibition at The Apex Gallery in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk runs from 20th October 2018 until 13th January 2019 featuring up to 200 images of regional landscapes.

Works on display at the East Anglian Landscapes exhibition will feature a host of artists using a variety of disciplines including paintings, prints, drawings, collages and photographs, all of which will be available to purchase. To accommodate this large number of works, the exhibition will be divided into two groups of around 100 works, changing over during Bury St Edmunds Christmas Fayre.

The gallery is situated on the first floor of The Apex entertainment venue. Drinks bought from The Apex Café in the foyer can be taken upstairs, so feel free to relax on the sofas with a drink and enjoy the beautiful surroundings

East Anglian Landscapes will be open Monday to Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 10am-4pm. Admission is free. Occasionally, the Art Gallery is closed to the public. If you are travelling specifically to see an exhibition, please call the Box Office on 01284 758000 before your visit.

For more information about The Apex visit

For suggestions about where to stay and other things to see and do in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding area visit

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