The diary: what’s on this December

Discover influential female artists, pick up thoughtful gifts and celebrate Christmas past and present…

May Morris in a tapestry room

400 years of Christmas

Step back in time and explore celebrations from days gone by with ‘Christmas Past: 400 Years of Seasonal Traditions in English Homes’ at the Geffrye Museum. Each of the museum’s period room sets is decked out in the traditional style of the era, and there’s a beautiful selection of antique Christmas cards on display, just like the c1948 number pictured above.


* 21st November–7th January 2018. Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA. 020 7739 9893;

A Christmas card from 1948

May Morris: Art & Life

Not one to reside in her father’s shadow, May Morris remains one of the world’s most influential Arts and Crafts designers. Funded by public donations through an Art Happens campaign, ‘May Morris: Art & Life’ offers the chance to view otherwise unseen works by William Morris’s younger daughter. Featuring pieces from both public and private collections, the exhibition reveals the vast array of May’s creative talents, including handmade wallpapers, embroidery and sketches. Highlights include a hand-painted Valentine’s card made for the playwright George Bernard Shaw, and a pair of huge silk hangings embroidered for her father’s company, Morris & Co.

* Until 28th January 2018. William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London, E17 4PP. 020 8496 4390;

May Morris in tapestry room (c)William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

Women of the Arts and Crafts Movement

While we’re on the topic of influential Arts and Crafts designers, visit Cumbria’s Blackwell House this season and discover a wealth of exquisite textiles, jewellery and illustration, in celebration of women receiving the right to vote in 1918.

* Until 1st January 2018. Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3JT. 01539 446139;

Margaret Macdonald

Frederic William Burton

Explore the highly lifelike art of Pre-Raphaelite painter Frederic William Burton. View a selection of works, including early portrait miniatures and subjects inspired by his time spent in the west of Ireland.

* 25th October–14th January 2018. National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, Ireland. +353 16 61 51 33;

A painting of two people meeting on turret stairs

Bath Vintage & Antiques Christmas Market

When it comes to festive antiquing, look no further than the Bath Vintage & Antiques Christmas Market, which serves up two generous helpings of merriment on 26th November and 3rd December. Aside from foodie treats on offer, browse glassware, wreaths, rocking horses and bunches of holly, while soaking up the stylish and cosy atmosphere of Green Park Station.


* Green Park Station, Green Park Road, Bath, BA1 1JB. 8am–4pm. Free. 07711 900095;

A chalkboard with Noel written on it