Mysterious Rembrandt Painting at Dulwich Gallery

Am I Rembrandt? (8 Nov – 5 March 2017), the final display in Dulwich Picture Gallery’s Making Discoveries series will bring the Dutch Master’s flamboyant Self-Portrait, Wearing a Feathered Bonnet, 1635, 

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Remembering The South London Woman Who Cracked Hollywood

I went to the Florence in Herne Hill for a few pints last night. Truman’s Lazarus was the beer – light in colour, flavour and alcohol content (4.2%), which made it just right for a relatively balmy, midweek evening. Anyway, I hadn’t been to the Florence for a while and noticed that the children’s play room in the garden had mutated into The Lupino Room, named after Ida, the actor, director and local girl - there’s a blue plaque on the house she was lived in, on Ardbeg Road.

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‘The Revenant’ feels the St. Valentine’s love at the   ee british academy film awards in 2016 scooping 5 awards

The Revenant received 5 BAFTAs last night at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, including Best Film, Director, Cinematography, Sound and Leading Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. Mad Max: Fury Road also picked up four awards for its return to the big screen: Costume Design, Production Design, Make Up & Hair and Editing. Brie Larson won the Leading Actress award for her role in Room and Outstanding British Film went to Brooklyn. Sir Sidney Poitier was awarded the Academy Fellowship, BAFTA's highest accolade, in recognition of his outstanding and exceptional contribution to film.

Champagne Taittinger, official Champagne Partner to the British Academy for the 14th year running, once again added extra sparkle to the proceedings, not least through the attendance of Vitalie Taittinger. Vitalie is the Marketing Director at Champagne Taittinger and daughter of President, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger.

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When the Great Plague Came To Dulwich

News that scientists examining human remains found during the Crossrail excavations have identified the bacterial cause of the Great Plague of London (it’s Yersinia pestis), had the Today programme dipping into its copy of A Journal of the Plague Year. Rather than descriptions of symptoms and mass burials, here’s a peep at what Daniel Defoe had to say about our neck of the woods in his novel about the 1665-6 outbreak.

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Queen of Norway In Dulwich to open 'Painting Norway'

her Royl Highness Queen Sonja of Norway oficially opened the new exhibition, "Painting Norway" by Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928), at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The exhibition is filled with beautiful prints and paintings that define the interactions between light and landscape, expressed in striking memorable colours.

HM Queen Sonja said: "Nikolai Astrup has contributed significantly to shaping our understanding of Norway. In that sense, the title of this exhibition is indeed fitting: Nikolai Astrup. Painting Norway.  He transformed his own, private visions of the natural environment into scenes of universal relevance...Astrup visited London in 1908, with the main aim of studying the paintings of John Constable, an artist he admired greatly. In a sense, we could say that he has now returned, with the fruits of his studies."

Visitors to Norway are always notably struck by the force of nature upon the psyche. This exhibition of over 90 works of Astrup's work, brings that personal experience to life in a timeless way and this show is another must see for visual art lovers in London. 

Exhibition runs until 15 May 2016.

Address: Gallery Rd, Southwark SE21 7AD
Established: 1817
Hours: Open today · 10am–5pm
Architectural style: Modern architecture
Phone: 020 8693 5254

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Lambeth Council Stick 2 fingers up to residents & local business

If you thought Lambeth Council's behaviour couldn't sink any lower, then think again. For all of this week cllr's Jim Dickson, Michelle Agdomar, and Jack Holborn have barred access to local businesses working in a separate wing of the Carnegie Library building.

Nearly 20 business owners have been refused access to their own work places this week and have become embroiled in a dispute with their own Landlord, London Arts Base, who have a running agreement with the council to let the space. Add a comment

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Lambeth Council scheme will see loss of historic Carnegie Library as building handed to Greenwich Leisure Limited

A demonstration against the closure of the Carnegie Library is planned for 6:30pm on Monday 12th October at Dunraven School in Streatham, South London. Individual councillors can also been contacted (information below).

One of south London’s most beautiful and much needed libraries is to be gutted and refitted as a gymnasium under the running of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). The Carnegie Library in Herne Hill is a landmark with much more than architectural and natural beauty to speak for it. 

Community hub

The library is also a well used community space where mothers are able to bring their children each week to play and learn in a safe environment at no cost. The Carnegie Library currently has a large room where children can play, gain their first experience of reading, with access to hundreds of children’s books, and even play in safety in the secluded outdoor area that has it’s own fruit trees, seating and herb patch. These are all free and invaluable services the Carnegie Library now offers to the local community and that also contribute so much to its unique character.

As one of the people who hire desk-space in the upper rooms, it has been a rare opportunity to get to know other businesses and creatives who are both living and working in the area. The Carnegie Library has its own peaceful atmosphere that is now being threatened by plans to gut its interior and redevelop the space as a gymnasium. 

Part of being in the Carnegie Library building everyday means that we see local faces on a regular basis. In the last few weeks the expressions of visitors have turned to distress as news of the planned loss has filtered through. One elderly lady stopped me by the Ferndene road entrance and after lamenting the Carnegie Library plans for closure, said, “we must do all we can to keep this place going!”. This place is more than just a well stocked and friendly library, it is a community haven with a unique history that has played an important role in the lives of thousands of residents over many decades. It is a vital component in the lives of all the people who come here each week.

The Carnegie Library also contributes creatively with gallery spaces, music sessions, reading groups, free internet usage and study space. This kind of public space is irreplaceable and must be protected for the very young and the elderly who are often not represented in the statistical analysis presented in council reports that call for change. It has been dutifully guarded for many years by the ‘Friends of Carnegie Library’.

Lambeth Council’s case for closure

The long report produced by the councillors (download here: states that the Carnegie Library will be renamed ‘Carnegie Healthy Living Centre’ and contractually licensed to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) where it will be gutted and then reopened. The reports states: “There will be an increased emphasis on income generation..”. 

This last point highlights the true intention of the councillors actions. Put simply, the views of the community do not matter. No one wants this option but it is being forced through simply because the council do not have the creative capacity to closely look at other sources of revenue that could both secure a functioning Carnegie Library as well as make it sustainable in the face of future cuts. 

This document is presented as a consultation but ignores many of the proposals of community members to assist in the generation of income to keep the Carnegie Library going. 

Instead they are happy to sign away this historic treasure to GLL who currently hold no less than ten other council leisure contracts in Lambeth alone, under their subsidiary brand ‘Better’ ( The point being is that this is an easy option for the council as it requires no effort.

Do we need another gym? 

Lambeth council cite many statistics in their report as evidence why a gymnasium is needed. A quick search on the internet reveals that Lambeth is awash with such places, not to mention the amazing parks with tennis courts, football pitches, swimming pools, specialised classes etc (The Carnegie Library does currently offer pilates and yoga which are also well recognised as contributors to wellbeing in modern life).

The conclusion really has to be that far from not being able to afford to keep the Carnegie Library open, we simply cannot afford to see it closed. Access to free unfettered educational space is very limited in Lambeth. The Carnegie Library offers space to work, read, think, relax, to a community that is represented by all ages and all walks of life. 

The loss of one of London’s great working spaces due to the short sightedness and weak will of the councillors who decide that fate, ensure once again that a community is about to hand a much prized jewel to a private enterprise whose mantra is  “increased emphasis on revenue generation”.

Key points

1. You can make your voice heard by emailing the councillors directly: Herne Hill ward councillors:

Councillor Jim Dickson (, Councillor Michelle Agdomar (, Councillor Jack Holborn, ( Councillor Jane Edbrooke (* 

*all email addresses are in the public domain

2. The final decision will be made on Monday 12th October, at Dunraven school in Streatham.

3. A demonstration will take place outside the meeting at 6:30pm.

4. The full report can be downloaded here?:

Nick Breeze is a writer and filmmaker who currently rents desk-space within the library.



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Carnegie Library Herne Hill: Plight goes viral as councillors faced with resignation

As the community asserts a stronger desire to keep their local library open, the local council employ more draconian measures to close it. 

Access to people who rent space in the library is now being blocked in an attempt to put pressure on the seperate "occupy Carnegie" effort. This action brings into question the legality of the action taken by Lambeth council against the local community and also the police who are tryig to manage access to the building.

For councillors to take on a local community is obviously very brave. This issue is spreading, not just across London and the UK, but from even traditionally neutral countries like Switzerland where knowledge is prized above cries for austerity.

It would appear the Carnegie Library protest is the canary in the coal mine. The people of South London are not willing to have their beloved library taken from them by uncompromising, high-handed officials.

The question is not so much whether the Occupy movement will sustain, but rather should the councillors resign over this issue. Being wrong is one thing, being hopelessy out of touch with the people you represent is quite another!

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Artists Mary Fedden & Katie Minoprio on show at Lena Boyle Fine Art

West London Art gallery, Lena Boyle has a been showing some stunning art works by a range of contemporary painters and sculptors, as well as by established Modern British greats. As far as we can tell, a contemporary artist becomes a Modern British artist by a process that includes shaking off one's mortal coil.

KATIE MINOPRIO, Night Sky, 120 x 120 cm, oil on canvas, Click to view artworks by Katie MINOPRIO

having been dealing in artworks for over 20 years, Lena Boyle is an established figure on the London dealing scene and has a broad stable of artists on display. Her works by Fedden are particularly attractive and seem to hark back to a world that once was, one that I would quite like to visit. In fast changing times, it does seem that keep a record of who we once were and where we are in the rapidly receding present is worthy and enjoyable exercise.

'Going Home' by Mary Fedden OBE RA

A larger list of artworks can be viewed on Lena Boyle's web site at She will shortly be announcing her summer exhibition as will many other galleries. We will be reporting back on that very soon.


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