The diary: what's on in May

Discover where to see inspirational Japanese art and pick up a special antique piece this month

What the Dickens? 

The Bloomsbury home of Charles Dickens is now a museum dedicated to the author’s life and work. As part of Museums at Night, you can browse the Georgian interiors by candlelight at Dickens After Dark. 

* 18th May. 48 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LX. 020 7405 2127;


Making waves

At the British Museum’s exhibition Hokusai: Beyond The Great Wave you can discover one of Japan’s greatest artists and how his spiritual beliefs influenced him. Katsushika Hokusai is known for his vivid woodblock prints, including the star of the show,
The Great Wave.  

* 25th May–13th August (closed 3rd–6th July). Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG. 020 7323 8181;



The Decorative Living Fair 

The annual Decorative Living Fair returns to Eridge Park near Tunbridge Wells with over 60 exhibitors offering a delectable mix of antiques, textiles and French brocante pieces. It’s all packed into marquees in the grounds of a beautiful country estate on the border of Kent and Sussex. We’re giving away 10 pairs of early bird tickets (inc Fri and Sat entry), worth £24 a pair. To be in with a chance of winning, send your name and contact details on a card marked ‘Decorative Living Fair’ to the address on page 161 before 27th April 2017.

* From 12th–13th May; Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN3 9JT. 9.30am–4pm Friday, 10am–5pm Saturday. £7.50 (£12 before 11.30am Friday).


Fine art 

The works in travelling exhibition A Printmaker’s Journey are inspired by curator Angie Lewin’s clifftop and salt-marsh walks. 

* 6th May–19th July. Willis Museum, Basingstoke, RG21 7QD. 01256 465902;



Form tutor 

Often called the ‘designer’s designer’, Spanish couturier Cristóbal Balenciaga was lauded for the silhouettes he created for the rich and famous. At Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion you can see over 100 of his garments.

* 27th May 2017–18th February 2018. V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL. 020 7942 2000;



All the fun of the fair 

The Capability Brown landscapes at Harewood House are the setting for the upcoming Antiques & Fine Art Fair where you can browse a wide range of country furniture, lighting, silver and glass, and be inspired by the traditional and contemporary art.

* 12th–14th May. Harewood House, Harewood, Leeds,LS17 9LG.



A brave new world 

The work of Arts and Crafts artists William and Evelyn De Morgan was a response to unsettling events, including the First World War. In a new exhibition at the National Trust’s Wightwick Manor and Gardens, discover their soothingly beautiful art.

* 6th May until end 2018. Wightwick Bank, Wolverhampton, WV6 8BN. 01902 761400;



The Mysterious Miss Austen

Discover more about the life of Jane Austen through paintings, manuscripts, letters and clothing. The exhibition is at the Winchester Discovery Centre as part of the Jane Austen 200 celebrations. From 13th May until 24th July. 0300 555 1387;

Alberto Giacometti 

Giacometti’s gangling figures are familiar to many, but at Tate Modern, you can also discover his lesser-known works.No fewer than 250 pieces document five decades of the sculptor, painter and draughtsman’s career. 10th May–10th September. 020 7887 8888;

George Fredric Watts

Seen as a Victorian visionary, Watts embodied 19th-century ideas. Find out more at Surrey’s Watts Gallery. Until 5th November. 01483 810235;

May's best antiques and vintage fairs around the UK
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