Something in the woodshed: odes to our earthly origins – in pictures

By Jade Cuttle

Greek graphic designer Meni Chatzipanagiotou, who has been immersed in nature since she was a child, crafts her scenic illustrations of starry mountainscapes on wood rather than on paper. “The natural colour and smell of the wood brings me closer to nature,” she says. “I enjoy thinking about the wood's structure, how it can be transformed into something else and hold additional purpose and meaning.” At the intersection of science, fantasy and fiction, and made with thin pens to achieve an intricate attention to detail, these woodcut illustrations represent an ode to our earthly origins. “Botanical nature holds harmony and purity. For those who want to listen, I believe that nature has many things to teach us.”

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Source: Something in the woodshed: odes to our earthly origins – in pictures

    

Carmen Herrera: 'Men controlled everything, not just art'

By Simon Hattenstone

The 101-year-old, who sold her first painting aged 89, talks about hanging out with Sartre, Matisse and Picasso, patience – and her next big project

It's noon at Carmen Herrera‘s home in downtown Manhattan. Time for a drink. “Would you like a cup of tea, or a scotch?” she asks. Scotch, please. She smiles. It's the answer she was looking for. We rummage among the boxes – bottle after bottle of the finest single malts – before settling on the super-peaty Lagavulin. We clink glasses.

At 101 years old, Herrera is in her artistic prime. She has been a working artist for the best part of a century, but it wasn't until 2004, at the age of 89, that she sold her first painting. For the past four months, there has been a gorgeous exhibition of her work at New York's Whitney gallery, soon to transfer to the Wexner Center in Ohio. The Cuban-born artist has belatedly been recognised and her pieces are selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Good job, too, she says. It's not cheap getting old.

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Source: Carmen Herrera: ‘Men controlled everything, not just art'

    

George Michael tributes, Obama and the ceasefire in Syria – the 20 photographs of the week

By Jim Powell

Floral tributes outside the home of George Michael, Barack Obama and Shinzo Abe at Pearl Harbor, a fragile ceasefire in Syria – the news of the week captured by the world's best photojournalists

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Source: George Michael tributes, Obama and the ceasefire in Syria – the 20 photographs of the week

    

Alphonse Mucha’s Job: a vision of belle époque Paris

By Skye Sherwin

The Czech painter's 1896 work transcends advertising with its use of neo-classical imagery

Alphonse Mucha's poster for Job cigarette papers is one of the most famous works in design history. Taking its cue from a new kind of female beauty, its modern girl has hair with a life of its own. The tendrils look more like the floating tentacles of a jellyfish.

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Source: Alphonse Mucha’s Job: a vision of belle époque Paris

    

‘I find it extraordinary how casual they are’: meeting Queen Mary in Kew Gardens

By Hannah Booth

Gail Griffiths watches Queen Mary strolling in the park in 1937

This is my mother holding me up as a toddler to get a closer look at Queen Mary, who was strolling through Kew Gardens in London with her lady-in-waiting. I find it extraordinary how casual they are, that there are no barriers or security. I've often wondered whether a press photographer got a tip-off, or just happened to be there. Either way, this picture was published somewhere under the headline: “Down to Kew in lilac time”. My mother, Brenda Landon, and her friend curtsied as she walked past.

Queen Mary was married to George V; she would have experienced her husband's death, followed by the abdication of Edward VIII, the year before. I have little memory of her beyond her wonderful dresses and hats. It looks like two different worlds: the Queen and her lady-in-waiting from one era, and my mother and her friend – slim, with their fashionable dresses and short hair – from another. My mother always looked good.

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Source: ‘I find it extraordinary how casual they are’: meeting Queen Mary in Kew Gardens

    

Jane Austen £5 note found in Christmas card in Scottish Borders

By Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

Thought to be worth tens of thousands of pounds, second of only four notes with micro portrait of novelist is discovered

It is the fiver that could earn you tens of thousands of pounds: one of four Jane Austen £5 notes has been found in a Christmas card in the Scottish Borders.

The ultra-rare notes, engraved with a tiny portrait of the novelist, were released secretly around the UK earlier this month.

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Source: Jane Austen £5 note found in Christmas card in Scottish Borders

    

Homelessness: no laughing matter for Hogarth – nor for us

By Jonathan Jones

Centuries after William Hogarth created probably the first image of homelessness in British art in 1736's Four Times of the Day, the image of people sleeping rough is one that is still all too depressingly familiar

In 1736, an impressario called Jonathan Tyers commissioned William Hogarth to paint four scenes to decorate his pleasure park Vauxhall Gardens, where Londoners, some of them posh and some just wearing posh clothes, listened to music, intrigued and seduced each other in the “dark walks” under the trees. Hogarth had the idea to capture the comedy and sadness, crowds and chaos of life in 18th-century London in four paintings that translate an old artistic theme, Four Times of the Day, from pastoral settings to a city that was fast becoming the first modern metropolis. In 1738, he published a set of prints of these paintings to make them accessible to the ordinary urbanites they portray. Even if you were too poor to buy a print by Hogarth, you could still see his work for free in print-shop windows that served as the street art galleries of their time.

Hogarth's Four Times of the Day portrays the London of nearly 300 years ago as a rollicking carnival of collisions between rich and poor, the respectable and the raunchy, the pious and the outcast. Yet one detail upset me when I noticed it earlier this year.

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Source: Homelessness: no laughing matter for Hogarth – nor for us