Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is now at The National Gallery!

Bask in the spring air and immerse yourself in blooming flowers whatever the weather at The National Gallery with its amazing new exhibition, Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘The Sunflowers’.

For the first time in 65 years, The National Gallery is reuniting two of the five paintings in his most celebrated series of works. ‘Sunflowers’ was created in 1888, two years prior to Van Gogh’s tragic death. The paintings are a reflection of his friendship with the French artist Paul Gauguin, for whom they were made to decorate his bedroom. The show also reveals new insights into their artistic collaboration, and offers a deeper understanding of these works of art.

‘Sunflowers’ is all the more fascinating when you consider the events surrounding its creation. Van Gogh himself described the paintings as “a decoration in which the raw and broken chrome yellow will blaze forth on various backgrounds”. These two works, one a replica of another, were produced throughout a period where his and Gauguin’s relationship dramatically deteriorated. Following it, Van Gogh suffered a breakdown and cut off his ear.

Don’t miss the opportunity to see this masterpiece, an artistic landmark, as the exhibition is in its last month, ending on 27th April. Top off your day by reflecting on Van Gogh’s genius talent with an afternoon tea at DUKES London. Just a short walk away, DUKES offers delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and a varied selection of cream cakes to enjoy in our elegant drawing room and conservatory whilst overlooking a peaceful courtyard garden.

The Designs of the Year exhibition 2014 is on its way to London

An external shot of the London Design MuseumThe seventh annual Designs of the Year exhibition comes to London’s prestigious Design Museum on the 26th March. The modern museum is located on the banks of the River Thames and boasts two main galleries containing collections tracing the development of design, from its origins to contemporary works.

This year’s 76 nominees include not only familiar brands and well-known designers such as David Chipperfield and Miuccia Prada, but also smaller names and student projects.

The exhibition offers something to suit a variety of artistic tastes with its seven different categories, which are architecture, digital, fashion, furniture, graphic design, transport and product design. A high-profile judging panel will choose the shortlisted nominations, which will then be exhibited in the museum from the 26th March.  The overall champion of the competition will be announced in May, and the winner will hold the ‘Design of the Year’ title for a full 52 weeks.

The exhibition opens its doors on 28th March, and runs until 7th July.  Tickets cost £12.40 for adults and £9.30 for students or the unemployed, and are available from the Design Museum website.

Why not come over to DUKES London after checking out the finalists at the exhibition for a luxurious meal cooked by our talented chef Nigel Mendham? The restaurant’s menus are all available online, and you can book online easily, too!

Image courtesy of Aurelien Guichard

A Whistler exhibition is coming to the Dulwich Picture Gallery

An external shot of Dulwich Picture Gallery, LondonThis winter, the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London will be exhibiting a variety of paintings by American-born, British-based artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler, in a special exhibition entitled ‘An American in London’.

Born in America and raised in Russia, Whistler came to London in 1859, and his early paintings of this period marked one of his most successful and profound impacts on the art scene.

Whistler is best-known for his attitude of adversity towards morals and sentimentality in art, and was in favour of the principle ‘art for art’s sake.’  The artist is best-known for the portrait of his mother named ‘Whistler’s Mother’ and his signature, which is signed in the shape of a butterfly – a reflection of his love of Asian art.

Deemed “captivating, erudite and unexpected” by the Financial Times, the ‘An American in London’ exhibition includes a variety of paintings of Chelsea and the Thames as well as prints, drawings, watercolours and pastels.  The exhibition provides a detailed examination of Whistler’s composition, subject and technique and how it developed over the years.

The highlight of the exhibition is a number of Whistler’s iconic Nocturnes, including Blue and Gold – Battersea Bridge (1872-1877.)  Although the selection is small, with a widely varied selection of his works, the ‘American in London’ exhibition contains something for all types of art-lover.

After soaking in the cultural offerings of the Whistler exhibition, why not come over to DUKES London and spoil yourself with our plentiful array of offers!

Image courtesy of tpholland

The Nour Festival of Arts: a must for contemporary art fans

The Nour Festival Of Arts logoThe Nour Festival of Arts reflects on the best contemporary art, film, literature, music and performances from the Middle East and North Africa. Running for four consecutive years, the Nour Festival challenges preconceptions, sparks debate and provides insight into culture from across the MENA region.

Taking place from the 1st October – 30th November, this year’s Nour Festival is offering a remarkable range of attractions, including art exhibitions, film screenings and thought-provoking talks. Highlights of this year’s festival include performances across the areas of dance, drama and music.

Nour, which means ‘light’ or ‘illumination’ in various Middle Eastern languages is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s most significant annual showcases of contemporary arts and culture.  Taking place at more than 20 venues across Kensington and Chelsea, Nour has welcomed new partners such as the Royal Albert Hall, Chelsea Theatre, Kensington and Chelsea College, the Gate Theatre and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha to its venue list.

After an unforgettable journey into the MENA region, come visit us to expand your experience with afternoon tea – or a martini or two in our favoured DUKES Bar!

Explore the life of Van Gogh in Paris, in London

Vincent Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' paintingEykyn Maclean, one of London’s prestigious private art galleries, is hosting a new and exciting exhibition entitled ‘Van Gogh in Paris’, exploring the artist’s life throughout the period in which he lived and worked in the city, 1886-1888.

Appropriately, the ‘Van Gogh in Paris’ exhibition will be held amongst the works of his contemporaries, including key pieces by French masters Monet, Pissarro and Gaugin, many of which are privately owned and rarely displayed in public.

It is noted that Van Gogh’s distinct style was formed from the influence of these major contributors to the impressionist and post-impressionist eras.  Van Gogh’s transition from living in the Netherlands to France is clearly demonstrated through his paintings, from his sombre Dutch style works, to the more colourful pieces like Sunflowers, for which he is renowned.

Highlights of the exhibition include a self-portrait of the painter which co-owner Maclean states is ‘Essentially the first proper self-portrait he produced.’

Deemed “A small but perfectly formed exhibition” by The Independent, the event is not to be missed by art and history enthusiasts alike. After soaking up the culture at Eykyn Maclean, why not drop into DUKES London to relax and enjoy our delicious afternoon tea?

London’s Frieze Art Fair is back!

The bandstand in Regent's Park, London, in winterThis October, London welcomes the return of the Frieze Art Fair.  The event is a contemporary art fair held in London’s Regents Park, which draws in over 60,000 visitors; some looking to buy, others just to spectate: “A must-see event” as described by The Guardian.

Originally staged for the purpose of selling works of art, the fair has become much more of a culturally stimulating entertainment event; including 152 of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries, specially commissioned artists’ projects, and an artist-led education schedule.

This year will be the 11th edition of Frieze London and the event aims to be better than ever with a complete redesign of its layout.  This change in design will introduce more sizeable public areas and wider aisles along with a new and innovative layout of galleries. This year’s gallery list includes establishments from international territories such as Brazil, China and Columbia.

Those looking to buy or simply browse should not miss out on the Frieze Art Fair. Tickets can be purchased from http://frieze.seetickets.com/event/frieze-london/regent-s-park/724064  –  and if visiting at the weekend, why not drop into DUKES London for a delicious meal or memorable drink?

Image courtesy of Transangst

The PAD Art and Design Fair 2013: a must-see for art lovers

Berkeley Square, Mayfair is playing host to the PAD art and design fairThe 16th to the 20th of October sees the arrival of prestigious art and design fair – PAD – to Mayfair.  Regarded as ‘the best’ by art-lovers and keen collectors worldwide, this year’s fair is set to be even more of a success than the last, owing to its varied range of the very finest art.

For five days, the beautiful Berkeley Square will transform itself into the most stylish residence for a vast collection of modern art, design and photography, sourced from a collection of top international galleries.

The popular event enables art enthusiasts to view and purchase items of museum quality with a history of their own, while the winner of the much coveted 2013 PAD prize will be announced on the VIP opening on the 15th October.

For those who wish to discover the most iconic and innovative products available on today’s market, the PAD fair is not to be missed. Admission is free, and the event takes place from 11am – 8pm, Wednesday 16th October until Saturday 20th October 2013 in Berkeley Square.

Of course, if you’re looking to stay in London, check into one of DUKES London’s suites just around the corner and make the most of the experience.

Image courtesy of  Paul Farmer

Discover: ‘Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life’

An external shot of London's Tate BritainFor those who consider themselves to be art enthusiasts, an exciting exhibition celebrating the works of much-loved British painter L. S. Lowry, has arrived at the Tate Britain.

Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life displays a wealth of the artist’s urban scenes and industrial landscapes, making the exhibition the first of its kind held by a public institution in London since the artist’s death.

The extensive collection of Lowry’s works does much to demonstrate the painter’s contribution to art history and his matter-of-fact view of working-class society during the 20th century.  The exhibition also features interesting insights into Lowry’s connection to French painting styles and the extent of the influence of his French-born teacher, Adolphe Valette.  Labelled “exhibition of the year” the Lowry collection is one to be seen by art and history enthusiasts alike.

Exhibition highlights include Lowry’s Coming out of School (1927) and the enigmatic The Pond (1950).

Of course, to complement your cultural afternoon at the Tate, why not treat yourself to our beautiful DUKES LONDON afternoon tea to relax and refresh?

Image courtesy of Rept0n1x

It’s the world’s biggest: the Royal Academy of Arts summer exhibition

An external shot of Burlington House, LondonUntil the 18th of August the world’s biggest open-submission art exhibition is back presenting more than 1,000 pieces in a variety of styles. With the exhibition being held at Burlington House only moments away from St. James Place, why not marvel at the art selected scrupulously by panel of artists and architects across the board from more than 10,000 entries?

The summer exhibition allows you to view the work of well-known and celebrated artists such as Anselm Kiefer, as well taking you into the creative world of upcoming artists showcasing their paintings, structures, photography, prints, architecture and films. There will be a room dedicated only to portraiture, displaying works from established artists such as, Frank Auerbach, Alex Katz and Tom Philip RA, which takes you through the importance the portrait genre has played in both previous Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions and in contemporary art.

Other highlights will be a new large-scale sculpture from Anthony Caro RA and the series of six sublime tapestry pieces ‘A Vanity of Small Differences’ by Grayson Perry.

Tickets cost £6.00 for children and £10.00 for adults and are available here. The exhibition is open from the 10th July until the 18th August. The majority of the work that is displayed is available for the public to purchase, with the proceeds going towards the Royal Academy’s Schools bursaries scheme, as the exhibition is directly helping to support future artistic talents.

The exhibition opens from 10am Monday to Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until 6pm and on Friday closes at a later time of 10pm.

So after wandering around and soaking in the beautiful art, why not treat yourself again, this time to one of our gorgeous cocktails at DUKES Bar?

Image courtesy of  Mike Peel

London’s West End LIVE is returning!

Setting up for West End LIVE in Trafalgar Square, LondonCalling all theatre lovers! This year’s West End LIVE is getting ready to showcase performances from top west end musicals in Trafalgar Square from the 22nd to 23rd June 2013.

Presented by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre in association with MasterCard, last year’s West End LIVE drew the attention of more than half a million people around the country, and this year’s event is set to be even bigger and better. There will be a wide range of different performances from existing to new productions, as well as live bands for visitors to enjoy. For a full list please visit the website.

As well as theatre performances, the public can also participate in a number of interactive activities and exhibits from many of London’s popular museums and attractions. Kids can get involved in Dora The Explorer live, and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, where they can experience these magnificent pre-historic creatures come to life on stage.

West End LIVE can get very busy and queues are predicted to form long before the event begins, therefore in order to avoid disappointment make sure you arrive early.

DUKES London is the perfect place for you to welcome the summer, amidst the sightseeing and fun of our fabulous city. Ideal for theatre-goers, our restaurant offers an early dinner menu, with full details available here.

Image courtesy of Paul Farmer