The diary: what's on in March

March is set to be a cultural feast. Check out the best events and exhibitions to visit

A century of Vogue

It’s an important year for dedicated followers of fashion. Vogue, the magazine that has defined what women wear since its launch in 1916, is celebrating its centenary year with a landmark exhibition of photography at the National Portrait Gallery. Elegant vintage prints are among the show’s highlights, alongside work by century-defining photographers such as Cecil Beaton and Lee Miller, and portraits of iconic figures such as Princess Diana and Marlene Dietrich.

* 11th February to 22nd May. National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE. 020 7306 0055;


Shakespeare in across the arts

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, a lively show at Compton Verney (which lies just nine miles from the Bard’s home town of Stratford-upon-Avon) pays testament to the influence of his plays across the arts. Film, painting and photography are all represented.

* 19th March to 19th June. Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ. 01926 645500;


Brazilian botanicals

If you can’t make the Rio Olympic Games, then the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew will get you close. Margaret Mee (1909–88) was one of the first botanists to draw attention to the plight of the Brazilian rainforest and not only is her legacy an important one, it is a beautiful one too. A new exhibition showcases her exquisite botanical paintings in the context of depictions of plants by Brazilian artists such as Patricia Villela (pictured above) and of original plates from the first voyage of Captain Cook’s Endeavour to Brazil in 1768. It’s a little glimpse of historical paradise.

* 20th February to 29th August. Kew Gardens, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AB. 020 8332 5655;


On a Grand Tour

The old idiom ‘travel broadens the mind’ was a spurring force for the original 18th-century grand tour and no doubt will be for those heading to Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire between March and June. The county is putting on its second season of a modern grand tour, which encourages visitors to roam from a show of art and ephemera, collected by successive generations of grand tourists at Chatsworth, to displays by Sir Peter Blake at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck, and Simon Starling at Nottingham Contemporary.

* From 19th March. Various locations.


Thelwell at the Abbey

Many will know the tubby horses and tubbier rider of Norman Thelwell’s tongue-in-cheek cartoons. Even if you don’t, his satirical drawings are a fun counter to residual winter blues. They are on display at the beautiful Mottisfont Abbey alongside his sketches of the local landscape.

* 16th January to 10th April. Mottisfont Abbey, Romsey, SO51 0LP. 01794 340757;



Contemporary ceramics at BADA Fair

It seems old and new don’t just mix well at home but in the art world too. Signed and Designed will show a display of stunning contemporary ceramics by Fenella Elms and Peter Beard at this month’s BADA Fair.
020 7589 6108;

Silver Speaks at the Victoria & Albert Museum

British silversmithing is set for a shining year as a nationwide programme of events gets under way, kicking off with a display at the V&A – curated by Corinne Julius – that traces how a silver object, whether functional or decorative, comes into being.
020 7942 2000;

John Piper at Pallant House Gallery

John Piper is best known for his landscape paintings but a new show reviews his impactful fabric and tapestry designs.
01243 774557;

Image credits: Norman Parkinson/Vogue100, National Portrait Gallery, London; RSC Theatre Collection; Jason Ingram; Chatsworth, Derbyshire; Patricia Villela; Norman Thelwell

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