John Singer Sargent at the National Portrait Gallery

For sheer painterly pleasure, Nige says you can't do better than visit the John Singer Sargent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, running until 25 May... To the National Portrait Gallery for the John Singer Sargent exhibition, Portraits of Artists and Friends, which is, unsurprisingly, brilliant. Such dash, such effortless technical mastery, ... Read More...

On Birds’ Nests

Today's poetry and painting piece features Edward Thomas, Paul Nash, W.H. Davies and birds' nests... In addition to their intrinsic beauty, the bare trees of late winter and early spring offer an opportunity for the discovery of birds' nests.  This thought brings to mind Edward Thomas, who was a great searcher ... Read More...

Peder Balke at the National Gallery

Nige is blown away by Norwegian painter Peder Balke's masterly seascapes, in an exhibition currently showing at London's National Gallery... I admit I'd never heard of Peder Balke before reading about this exhibition. Balke was a Norwegian painter (1804-87) whose mature style was so heavily criticised in his day that he ... Read More...

Giovanni Battista Moroni at the Royal Academy

The Royal Academy's exhibition of paintings by Giovanni Battista Moroni is the first large-scale survey of his works to be staged outside Italy. Nige reports... I only knew Moroni from the handful of his intriguing portraits in the National Gallery - including the famous Portrait of a Tailor (top) - and I was eager ... Read More...

Almost Human

In today's Dabbler Verse feature, Stephen considers self-awareness, and introduces a poem by C. Day Lewis... Is it possible to look at yourself objectively?  To see yourself for who you are?  Speaking for myself, I have my doubts.  Still, I like to think that I am more optimistic about the possibility ... Read More...

Marianne North – Globetrotting Flower-painter

Nige pays tribute to the extraordinary Victorian spinster, globetrotter, botanist, artist and 'very wild bird', Marianne North... Tomorrow marks the birthday of the brilliant flower painter and tireless traveller Marianne North (born 1830), who, even by the standards of intrepid, globetrotting Victorian spinsters, was pretty extraordinary. In an age before jet ... Read More...

Still Life: Objects and Initimacy

Nige reflects on the power and meaning of still life painting, in the light of a book by American poet Mark Doty... Still Life with Oysters and Lemon is the title of a painting by Jan Davidsz de Heem (above)  that hangs in the Metropolitan Museum in New  York - or ... Read More...

Dabbler Diary – The Shoreditch Iago

Waking before dawn I first reached for my phone to check on England’s latest reassuringly routine cricket thrashing by Australia, then groaned out of bed to descend and in the kitchen force tea and toast into unwelcoming guts. Twice since the last diary I have had long work days in ... Read More...

Three Paintings… in Sound

An audio-visual treat for you this Sunday, as Mahlerman brings you three pieces of music inspired by great paintings... Musical inspiration is, like mercury, almost impossible to grasp.  It can arrive, as many believe it did to a certain WA Mozart, in a 'lightbulb moment' as if from God, and the ... Read More...