The diary: what’s on this April

From bold mid-century textiles to ancient terracotta warriors, this season's exhibitions are a sight to behold


An image of Sheila Bownas's A Life in Pattern

Sheila Bownas: A Life in Pattern

Little was known about mid-century textile designer Sheila Bownas until 2008 when, looking for artwork for her new home, gallery curator Chelsea Cefai came across a huge bundle of exquisite pieces at auction. For the next six years, Cefai searched for the artist who had created them – and eventually discovered Bownas, a Yorkshire-born designer who had supplied patterns to both Liberty London and Marks & Spencer. This is the second time that Bownas’ colourful and playful designs have been exhibited to the general public.


* Until 20th May. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, PO19 1TJ. Free entry. 01243 774557;

A terracotta warrior

China’s first emperor and the terracotta warriors

For over 2,000 years, an army of 8,000 terracotta soldiers guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor, undisturbed and undiscovered. This year, Liverpool’s World Museum is displaying objects from the tomb – never seen in the UK before, including life-size soldiers, horses and chariots.

* Until 28th October. World Museum, William Brown St, Liverpool, L3 8EN. £14.50 adult, £5.50 child. 0151 478 4444;

Annie Swynnerton's Painting light and hope

Annie Swynnerton: painting light and hope

Featuring 36 dreamy paintings from across her career, this retrospective of Manchester-born artist and feminist Annie Swynnerton (1844–1933) is the first for nearly a century. Swynnerton was an active member of the Suffragette movement, and founded the Manchester Society of Women Painters in 1879. In 1922, she was elected as the first female associate member of the Royal Academy.

* Until 6th January 2019. Manchester Art Gallery, Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3JL. Free entry. 0161 235 8888;

An image of Leeds vintage and home fair

Leeds vintage furniture & home fair

The setting for this vintage-filled fair is just as charming and evocative as the beautiful wares that will be on offer. During the weekend of the 28th–29th April, over 30 stallholders will set up trestles and shelves to sell everything from Ercol chairs and industrial lighting to Victorian trunks and giant wall maps.

* 28th–29th April. The Finishing Room, Sunny Bank Mills, Farsley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 5UJ. £2 adult (under 16s free). 07985 181120;

An example of pottery from Leach Pottery

Potters from the time of Bernard Leach

The Leach Pottery has been training potters for nearly 100 years. Visit its base in St Ives this season for your chance to discover and buy works from a range of potters and ceramicists who apprenticed, trained and worked during the time of Bernard Leach, the godfather of studio ceramics.


* 24th March–1st July. St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 2HE. £6 adults. 01736 799703;