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Picasso: the Great War, Experimentation, and Change MARCH 2016

Exploring the fluctuating style of a great artist

 The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, is currently playing host to Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation, and Change. This show brings together some fifty works from major American and European collections – paintings, drawings, and watercolours sit alongside the splendid costumes and sets that Picasso designed for the avant-garde ballet Parade. In an unforgettable blend of art and history, the costumes are presented on mannequins alongside a colour film of the ballet itself – the strangeness and magnificence of the dance infuses every inch of the atmosphere and the viewer is transported back to the world Picasso helped bring to life. 

The Great War, Experimentation, and Change focuses on Picasso’s oeuvre between 1912 and 1924. These years were full of innovation and transformation; the First World War’s frenzy and bloodshed rocked the cultural establishment to its roots, and the interwar period was a time of experimentation as new social orders started to grow from the ashes of tumbledown governments. And, at the heart of it all, was Pablo Picasso. He constantly challenged assumptions, redefining himself and his art in a gorgeous whirlwind of paint and drama. His style oscillated between the different modes, between Cubism and classicism, shattering convention and building it up again. In his own words, he would never repeat ‘the same vision, the same technique, the same formula.’ 

Scala’s fully illustrated catalogue follows the fascinating twists and turns in Picasso’s style. It includes works by his peers and friends in Paris, artists such as Modigliani, Rivera and Braque who were also exploring the challenging themes of a stormy two decades, providing an excellent guide to anyone interested in the history of a remarkable artist. There are thought-provoking essays by Simonetta Fraquelli, Kenneth E. Silver, Elizabeth Cowling, and Dominique H. Vasseur, and catalogue notes by Ann Bremner.  

The exhibition is at the Barnes Foundation from February 21 to May 9, and then travels to the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, where it will appear from June 10 to September 11.

Flying Scotsman's Inaugural Voyage FEBRUARY 2016

The 'World's Most Famous Train' travels from London to York

 The Flying Scotsman has always been one for a glamorous voyage, so it seems fitting that its inaugural trip from London to York was delayed by hordes of overenthusiastic fans. The train was held up for fifteen minutes due to photographers clambering on the tracks, hoping to get a golden shot of the train flying by. 

The engine was retired from service in 1963. A decade-long, £4.2 million refit has cumulated in a scene rich with nostalgia: the sleek green shape billowing smoke through England’s countryside, bridges along the way crowded with more sensible fans who chose to snap photos from a safe distance. Of course, the event did not run smoothly for all: one poor spectator had his view ruined by another train rushing past at precisely the wrong moment. 

The Flying Scotsman’s arrival in York is the start of a series of events to celebrate this truly unique piece of British heritage.  The National Railway Museum has put on a spectacular array of events, from a night of 1920s-themed cocktails to a talk from the curator Andrew Mclean about his upcoming book  The Flying Scotsman: Speed, Style, Service, published by Scala. 

The Flying Scotsman tells the story of the train and its place in British history. It combines engaging text with beautiful images, including much previously unpublished material. Opening it up is to step into the fascinating world of a train that resonates throughout the ages, embodying both technological advance and old-school elegance.

Harry Potter and the Flying Scotsman FEBRUARY 2016

J.K Rowling inspired by the 'World's Most Famous Train'

Andrew McLean, Head Curator of the National Railway Museum in York and the author of one of Scala’s newest titles, The Flying Scotsman: Speed, Style, Service, has discovered a link between ‘The World’s Most Famous Train’ and a character in the world of Harry Potter.

‘It is interesting to note that Doris Crockford is […] the name of a character in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, which are themselves noted for a named express train that departs Kings Cross from a set platform at a set time,’ McLean writes in Speed, Style, Service. The real Doris Crockford’s illustrated book for children, The Flying Scotsman, was first published in 1937 with much success – while the fictional witch Doris Crockford greets Harry Potter on his first visit to the Leaky Cauldron pub in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
The Flying Scotsman, which travelled between Kings Cross Station in London and Edinburgh’s Waverley Station, undoubtedly evokes the Hogwarts Express, which departs from Kings Cross for its journey up to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry in the Scottish Highlands. 
McLean’s research into the history, technology and legacy of The Flying Scotsman is published in The Flying Scotsman: Speed, Style, Service, on general sale in April 2016. The book is a celebration of the train’s eagerly anticipated restoration and return to the tracks this year. It accompanies a ‘Scotsman Season’ of exhibitions and events at the National Railway Museum from February to September.