Open garden weekend

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In June every year, London gardens open that are usually closed – followed by new builds and government portals in mid September for open house weekend. This was outside my usual realm in east London, and a pretty railed square tucked just around the corner from this flower stall and statue. Pimms and cupcakes were on sale as children ran round the beds and headed for swings.

Ruskin

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A fascinating exhibition at Two Temple Place of Ruskin: the art he collected and that inspired him, the art and collections he made, and the makers today inspired by him. It especially made me want to visit the museum in Sheffield that Ruskin founded and that’s still going strong today.

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Mao in Walthamstow

The William Morris Gallery, as well as being free and excellently curated, has a canny eye for a good visiting show. May Morris last year was a good continuation to her father’s work on display; the garden paintings exhibition a nice nod to Morris’ floral designs and the park that the gallery is set in.

This time the visiting exhibition from the Ashmolean of Mao propaganda posters links with the fact that Morris was a publically committed socialist for the last decades of his life, despite the embarrassment many of his artistic friends felt about this. Another link is that towards the end of Mao’s rule artists were encouraged to use traditional painting styles to celebrate modernity’s achievements, something which echoes Morris’ own wish to revive traditional methods.

Its only a small show (1 room), but well worth a visit, and not so large that you don’t have time to see the main house if you haven’t been before.

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A ramble in Soho

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The first few times that London experiences sunshine on a weekend it’s like discovering the city’s all over again again after winter. In this case, it was the sight of daffodils set out in a canalside cafe, bright cushions, cake stalls, a church just off Oxford Street, some art and a street food stall tucked into a niche.