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Autumn Antics: This Season's Culture Diary


Wondering what to do now that summer is over? Fear not – culture vultures can get their fix thanks to a huge array of events, performances, concerts, installations and exhibitions taking place in London this Autumn. From the London Design Biennale to the revival of La Bayadère at The Royal Opera House, there's absolutely no reason to stay at home this season. Here is our selection of the city's must-see cultural offerings.


International designers from across the globe will gather at London’s Somerset House to present their response to the London Design Biennale’s theme, Emotional States. It is hoped the installations will investigate the impact design has on our lives, particularly the emotional responses it provokes.The UK entry has been curated by the Victoria and Albert Museum in collaboration with UK-based Forensic Architecture, which is documenting evidence of the genocide and enslavement perpetrated by Daesh against the Yazidis.

September 4-23, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA,

Hero Image: LDB18, UAE, Tinkah, photographed by Ed Reeve.

Culture, Travel


First staged in 2003, the London Design Festival has grown to become one of the most important design events in the world.The Victoria and Albert Museum is a regular festival hub and is the place to head to see specially commissioned installations, listen to thought-provoking talks and take part in workshops. 

September 15-23, various locations,


The work of Renzo Piano, the architect responsible for designing The Shard in London, is being celebrated at the Royal Academy of Arts this autumn. Providing an insight into a man who believes that “architecture is about making a place for people to come together and share values”, the exhibition brings together rarely seen archive material, models, photographs and drawings to highlight the process involved in realising Piano’s famous buildings. 

September 15 – January 20, Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, W1J 0BD, 

: From September 18

Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo tread the boards of the Olivier stage in the title roles of Shakespeare’s epic tragedy.As passionate as it is political, Antony
& Cleopatra explores the ght between devotion and duty through the lens of the ultimately fatal attraction that ignites between the Roman general Mark Antony and Egyptian queen Cleopatra. 

From September 18, National Theatre, Upper 66 Ground, SE1 9PX,


Pictured (L-R): The Invisible Cities Cabinet by Umberto Dattola, which will feature in the Matter Of Stuff pop-up during the London Design Festival; The Shard, photographed by Sagesolar via; Anthony & Cloepatra courtesy of National Theatre.



The lives and works of two Italian Renaissance artists are honoured at a major exhibition. Mantegna and Bellini takes a closer look at the relationship between the prolific painters, Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna, and reveals how much their artistic development in the late 15th century was inextricably linked and actually inspired by each other. A focus of the exhibition is The Agony in the Garden, where each artist, who happened to be brother-in-laws, depicted a powerful biblical scene.

October 1 – January 27, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 5DN,


The capital’s premier art event, which is housed in a temporary structure in the south of Regent’s Park, offers connoisseurs of contemporary art an opportunity to peruse and purchase pieces from more than 160 of the world’s leading galleries. Enjoy an engaging programme of talks, debates and films, and make the most of a Frieze Bespoke tour guided by an independent art specialist. 

October 3-7, Regent’s Park (entrance off Park Square West), NW1 4LL, 


Ahead of the centenary of the radical Bauhaus school of art and design in 2019, Tate Modern
is staging the first UK full-scale retrospective
 of the influential textile and abstract artist Anni Albers. Combining the craft of traditional hand-weaving with the language of modern art, the pictorial weavings she created – from small-scale creations to wall hangings – are visually arresting. 

From October 11, Tate Modern, Bankside, SE1 9TG,


Pictured (L–R): Andrea Mantegna, The Agony in the Garden by Andrea Mantegna (circa 1458-60), courtesy of The National Gallery, London; Kimsoofa, A Needle Woman Galaxy Was a Memory, Earth is a Sourvenir, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Frieze Sculpture 2018. Photo by Stephen White;  Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College, 1937. Courtesy of The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London.



Following the Great Depression, the vivaciousness of the flappers of the Jazz Age gave way to a more sophisticated silhouette as the 1930s ushered in a period of profound social change.While Hollywood embraced the glamour of the actresses of the silver screen, designers such as Elsa Schiaparelli were experimenting with “hard chic” – strong-shouldered coats and suits.This exhibition offers an insight into the day and evening styles of the decade.

October 12 – January 20, Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, SE1 3XF, 


The adorable characters of Snoopy, Charlie Brown and his pals in the Peanuts gang are celebrated in this exhibition, showcasing many of the original drawings of the cartoon’s creator, Charles M. Schulz. Part of Peanuts’ huge significance is not just its longevity – the cartoon strip ran from 1950 to 2000, appearing in newspapers and magazines across 75 countries ¬– but also its reflection of the cultural landscape of the day. In addition to the original designs, the exhibition also showcases new pieces commissioned from contemporary cartoonists who have been inspired by these lovable characters. 

October 25 – March 3, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA,


Pictured (L-R): Lady Bridget Poulett photographed by Paul Tanqueray in 1932 via / Fashion and Textile Museum; The cast of Peanuts, courtesy of Peanuts.



Ruling from 1613 until the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II following
the Russian Revolution
in 1917, the House of Romanov enjoyed political, diplomatic and artistic associations with Britain and its royal families during its reign.The gifts they shared, including portraits and Fabergé masterpieces, are displayed here. 

From November 9, The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 1AA,


The British Museum is transporting visitors to ancient Iraq to explore the Assyrian empire and the reign of the self-proclaimed ‘king of the world’, King Ashurbanipal. Gathering together 200 objects, comprising Assyrian treasures from the museum’s renowned collection as well as loans from around the globe, the exhibition explores life at Ashurbanipal’s palace at Nineveh and his prowess as a formidable warrior. 

November 8 – February 24, The British Museum, Great Russell Street, WC1B 3DG,


Pictured (L-R): The Marriage of Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia, by Laurits Regner Tuxen, courtesy of The Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018; Bronze Lion Furniture fitting topped by a recumbent lion, bronze, Toprakkale, 9th century BC, courtesy of The Trustees of the British Museum.



Original choreographed by Marius Petipa and performed by the Mariinsky Ballet company in 1877, the more recent staging of La Bayadère by the great Russian ballerina Natalia Makarova in 1980 remains one of the most popular versions of this great classical work.The Royal Ballet is reviving Makarova’s production this November, with an opportunity to see a number of the company’s principal dancers each taking on the role of the Nikiya, the young temple dancer betrayed by her warrior lover. 

November 1-17, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E 9DD, 


This hugely popular festival sees 10 days of music events in venues ranging from the established concert venue Royal Festival Hall, to bijou spaces such as the Omnibus Theatre. It’s a chance to see top jazz musicians from around the world: listen out for the Middle Eastern-inspired sounds of trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, Hollywood star Jeff Goldblum playing jazz standards on the piano with his band and South Korea’s Youn Sun Nah singing Johnny Cash.

November 16-25, various venues,


Pictured (L-R): La Bayadére via / Teatro alla Scala; Portrait of youn sun nah (who will performing at this year’s EFG London Jazz Festival) courtesy of Sung Yull Nah.



Lois Bryson-Edmett explores Tate Britain’s landmark exhibition centred around two giants of gurative art


With the opening of a major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, David G. Taylor explores the glamour of life on the ocean wave


Kathryn Conway delights in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s tribute to one of the world’s most adored fictional characters