The diary: what's on in February

From Hockney's pools to Australian paintings, this month's shows provide plenty of winter warmth 

The return of June

This may be one of just a few chances to see Flaming June, the pre-Raphaelite painting hailed as Frederic, Lord Leighton’s masterpiece, in the flesh. After a mysterious disappearance in the early 1900s, the painting re-emerged in the 1960s and now lives in Puerto Rico. In a show at Leighton’s Kensington home, it is currently being shown amid the works with which it was first exhibited in 1895.  

* Until 2nd April. 12 Holland Park Road, London, W14 8LZ. 020 7602 3316;


Hockney's world

Hot on the heels of his small but intriguing show of portraits at the Royal Academy in 2016, comes David Hockney’s biggest retrospective. The show will feature drawings, paintings (including the LA swimming pool series), prints, film and photography, and charts the artist’s questioning of the medium in which he works.  

* 9th February-29th May. Tate Britain, London, SW1P 4RG. 020 7887 8888; 


The Antiques & Fine Art Fair at The Mere 

For those who enjoy a little indulgence, head to The Antiques & Fine Art Fair at The Mere, hosted at The Mere Golf Resort & Spa near Knutsford this month. The boutique antiques fair with its 30-odd dealers took a backseat last year due to venue bookings but returns with great gusto from 24th–26th February. Dealers offer everything from paintings to antiquarian artefacts. A highlight is Patrick Caulfield’s Crying to the Walls: My God! My God! Will she relent? on sale for £33,800, while at the more affordable end is a Victorian child’s painted wheelbarrow for £380. 

* The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, Chester Road, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6LJ. Opening times vary. £5. 01797 252030; 


A different shade of blue 

Amazing to think that Yves Klein died aged 34 and only worked as an artist for seven years. His work regularly hits the millions at auction. Best known for his monochrome blue works (the colour of which is patented), a retrospective of his work at Tate Liverpool shows another, often playful, side. Look out for the unusual Fire Paintings, which he made using a flame thrower.

* Until 5th March. Tate Liverpool, Albert Dock, Waterfront, Liverpool, L3 4BB. 0151 702 7400;


A woman's worth 

One of the greatest muses of her time, Emma Hamilton is best known as Nelson’s mistress. A new show at Royal Maritime Museum brings her into her own – and explores her tragic end. 

* Until 17th April. London, SE10 9NF. 020 8312 6565;


Couture character

Few realise that Hardy Amies, official dressmaker to Elizabeth II for 37 years, originally came from Dagenham. A small exhibition at the Valence House Museum reveals more of Amies’ story. As well as showing pieces he made for the Queen, including the 1977 Silver Jubilee dress, his own wardrobe will also be on display. 

* Until 25th February. Becontree Avenue, Dagenham, RM8 3HT. 020 8227 2034;


Simmering Down Under

Australian art is coming to the fore. Christie’s hosted a headline sale of work from Down Under in December, just in time to coincide with the opening of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Australian impressionists’ work. The eye-scalding Australian light makes for some intriguing studies, in a show that focuses on four Aussie artists who set about challenging their country’s artistic status quo at the turn of the century: Tom Roberts, Arthur Streeton, Charles Conde and John Russell. 

* Until 26th March. London, WC2N 5DN. 020 7747 2885;



Frank Brangwyn

An exhibition of the personal collection of artist and William Morris Gallery founder, Frank Brangwyn RA, reveals an obsession with Japanese art and includes work by Hokusai and Hiroshige. Until 14th May. 020 8496 4390; 

Shaping ceramics

Argentinian artist Pablo Bronstein’s latest venture is a set of dramatic panoramic wallpapers in the 18th-century Pallant House Gallery. Until 19th February. 01243 774557;

The London Art Fair     

Three centuries of clothes worn by those who have graced Blenheim Palace go on show this month. Until 12th March.


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