The diary: what's on in February

Plan your February with our pick of exhibitions and gallery openings

The thick paint of Frank Auerbach

You don’t see many canvases as thickly layered with paint as those of Frank Auerbach. One of the UK’s most famed contemporary painters, he has lived and worked in the same part of London for 50 years, obsessively capturing its streets and people. Tate Britain’s exhibition is as much a testament to the place in which he lives as well as his work, which is often compared to that of Francis Bacon

Until 13th March. Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG. 020 7887 8888;


Take a walk amid snowdrops  

If you thought all snowdrops looked the same, think again. At Rode Hall a carpet of 70 varieties of snowdrops, the first planted by Sibella Wilbraham in 1833, surrounds the Grade II-listed house. As the flowers begin to emerge this month, it’s an ideal time to take a meander in the Humphry Repton-designed grounds, highlights include a beautiful walled kitchen garden and snowdrops bordering a path down to the lake. Keen gardeners can even buy some of the rarer varieties. The property is the private home of the sixth generation of Wilbrahams so snowdrop time is a rare opportunity to glimpse the park.

30th January to 6th March. Rode Hall, Scholar Green, Cheshire, ST7 3QP. 01270 873237;


Why da Vinci was ahead of his time 

Even 563 years after his birth, Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings look strikingly modern. At the tender age of 20, the artist was employed in the workshop of Florence Cathedral where he developed a fascination for sketching and for trying to improve the designs of cranes and machinery. In the Science Museum’s new exhibition, da Vinci’s sketches, including diving apparatus, weapons and his famed flying machines, are beautifully rendered as 3-D models to give you a sense of quite how eclectic and talented the painter of the Mona Lisa really was. It’s a show that’s sure to draw the crowds.

10th February to 4th September. Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD. 0870 870 4868;


Discover Egyptian treasures

Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum is celebrating its 200th anniversary this month with the opening of the rather Agatha Christie-sounding Death on the Nile exhibition. It features incredibly rare Egyptian treasures that were among the first gifts ever made to the museum, including the remarkably bright-coloured set of coffins of Nes-Amun. These amazingly preserved pages come from a book known as Book of the Dead of Ramose. It was thought to have been created around 1290 BC.

23rd February to 22nd May. Fitzwilliam Museum, Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RB. 01223 332900;


Forgotten finds in Yorkshire

Painter and printmaker Mark Hearld (whose woodcut-style work you might recognise from book covers) has visited the stores of the museums of York to create an exhibition of what he calls ‘unimagined treasures’. The show is inspired by a story called The Lumber Room, read to Mark as a child. The show has museum textiles, antique signs and furniture that is rarely seen on display, as well as works of Mark’s own in response to his finds.

Until late 2016. York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York, YO1 7EW. 01904 687687;



Constable at The Lightbox

Our preoccupation with the weather is at the crux of The Lightbox in Woking’s Constable exhibition (13th February to 8th May), focusing on the painter’s fascination with the way it could change a landscape.

01483 737800;


Imran Qureshi at the Barbican

In his tiny paintings Imran Qureshi reinvigorates artistic traditions of the 16th century Mughal court. See his works at the Barbican from 18th February to 10th July.

020 7638 8891;


Laurie Lee at the Works on Paper Fair

The author best known for writing Cider for Rosie and other classics was also an artist with Bloomsbury-esque appeal. Alongside 50 dealers selling prints, watercolours and paintings, you’ll find a rarely seen selection of Lee’s drawings at the Works on Paper Fair from 11th to 14th February.

01798 215007;

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