The Urban Guide to the Countryside
Bucks & Oxon Edition

Category: Art/Museums

C’est parfait

13 Feb 2017

One thing I love about the Ashmolean’s exhibitions is how civilized they are. Brave the opening days of one of the big London museums’ major shows and you’re guaranteed a view of the backs of heads rather than oil on canvas, while you jostle for position amid the crowds. Conversely, I popped down on Saturday afternoon to the opening weekend of the Oxford stalwart’s spring show, Degas To Picasso: Creating Modernism in France, and it was pleasantly buzzy without being a bun-fight.

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Up close and personal

19 Dec 2016

I mentioned this exhibition at Henley’s River & Rowing Museum by the British modernist artist John Piper in my Muddy Guide last week, but I’ve since visited myself it’s so fab I want to flag it up properly to you.


I have to admit that I wasn’t massively familiar with John Piper’s work, despite his high profile collaborations with the likes of Henry Moore, WH Auden and Geoffrey Eastop.

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8 things to do this weekend (17-18 Dec)

16 Dec 2016

It’s Christmaaaas! Starting to resemble a mince pie yet? Bailey’s running through your veins? Us too – and we’re not stopping until January. Continue the carousing at one of these excellent local events.


Paul Beatty at the Sheldonian, Fri Dec 16

Literary lovers listen up – this is something of a coup. The winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, Paul Beatty, is in town this Friday to talk about The Sellout.

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See this: The Ashmolean’s Summer exhibition

4 Jul 2016

Have you been to see The Ashmolean’s new exhibition yet? Storms, War and Shipwrecks: Treasures from the Sicilian Seas launched a few weeks back with a strong nod to families over the summer – those long days when wild-eyed parents are trying to do something with their kids that doesn’t involve icecream or soft play.

I go to most of the Ashmolean exhibitions, some of which can be quite grown-up and esoteric.

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ART: Amazing portrait painter in… Chinnor!

15 Sep 2015

One of the strange benefits of being a lifestyle journalist is that I have had my portrait painted and drawn several times over my, er, ‘illustrious’ career.

The first time was for a feature at the Indy on Sunday when a Russian princess living in Soho painted my nude portrait for a story on how commissioning self-portraiture was coming back into fashion. Yeah I know, you couldn’t make it up.

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500 years of female portraits – in 2 mins 52s!

13 Aug 2015

The lovely Pippa from Muddy Herts came across this fantastic film the other day, so I’ve tiptoed over to her blog and half-inched it so you can enjoy it too.

This little video – ‘500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art’ – from the National Portrait Gallery, will take less than three minutes of your day, but it totally transfixing.

Stunning portrait after portrait (very few of which I actually recognise, cultural vacuum that I am), morphing from one to another, and disconcertingly every single one of them staring you in the face.

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Art for all

1 Jun 2015

Goodbye Oxfordshire Art Weeks, and helloooo from this weekend (6 – 22 June)  to Bucks Open Studios, now celebrating its 30th birthday and looking well foxy.

If you live in or pass through Buckinghamshire over the next three weeks you won’t be able to miss the bright yellow signage adorning galleries, public spaces and private houses, with literally hundreds of artists exhibiting their work. Two free Fanfare Exhibition to celebrate the big birthday have opened, the first at the Bucks County Museum (until 4 July), and a second exhibition at Milton Keynes Central Library (until 22 June).

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside -
Bucks & Oxon Edition