February events diary

February may be a short month - but it's a busy one, packed with half-term events and art and ceramic fairs.
Signed “Portrait of Theo Melville” by John Melville
Signed “Portrait of Theo Melville” by John Melville: 20|21 International Art Fair, from 18-21 February

Chinese New Year

London celebrates the Year of the Tiger on Sunday 21 February, with huge dancing puppets, martial arts displays and tongue-tingling food. Get over to Trafalgar Square for the main action, to find marquees, stalls, dragon and lion dances, plus traditional and contemporary music and performance.

There is more firecracking fun in Leicester Square, and the festival spills out onto Gerrard Street, Lisle Street and Chinatown, with impromptu parties, more stalls and "lion" dancing.

The International Art Fair at the RCA

Browse a fine selection of modern and contemporary art (from 1900), from 18 to 21 February. Around 50 exhibitors present big names such as Matisse, Miro and Picasso alongside British favourites such as Blake, Hockney and Frink, and a host of less-familiar, newer artists.

Prices start at "a few hundred pounds." The Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, SW7; 020 8742 1611; www.20-21inartfair.com.

Capriccio beakers from Elke Sada
Capriccio beakers from Elke Sada, £40 each: Ceramic Art London, 26-28 February

Silver in the Study: Scribbling and Passing Time

Once you've had a study, it no longer seems a luxury. It is a domestic haven for reading, hobbies and paperwork, and a necessity for anyone working from home. Here is a show that celebrates the study (from 8 February to 22 May).

For sale is a huge selection of antique and 20th-century silverware, from desk accessories (inkstands, blotters, penholders and even Victorian propelling pencils) to candlesticks and electric silver lamps. Also on offer is all the paraphernalia for after-dinner drinks, and a selection of antique board games. Something a little different for Valentine's Day? The London Silver Vaults, Chancery Lane, WC2; www.thesilvervaults.com.

Ceramic Art London at the RCA

If you collect ceramics, then this is the fair for you (from 26 to 28 February), with 75 leading contemporary ceramic artists selling their work, under the auspices of The Craft Potters Association, Ceramic Review magazine and The Crafts Council. Or - more mundanely - simply pick up a piece to use at home. Or find inspiration for your own work. Royal College of Art Ceramics students are also showing off their new work and there will be talks, demos and films. The Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, SW7; £12 on the door; £9 in advance (plus £2 p&p). Call 020 7439 3377 to book; www.ceramics.org.uk.

Hammer-raised fine silver vessel
Hammer-raised fine silver vessel: Hiroshi Suzuki – Silver Waves

Hiroshi Suzuki - Silver Waves at Goldsmiths' Hall

Poetic curved and rippled vessels by this distinguished Japanese silversmith bring beauty and a touch of Eastern tranquillity to a special exhibition (from 8 February to 6 March, admission free) at the The Goldsmith's Company, Goldsmiths' Hall, Foster Lane, EC1; Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm; www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk; www.whoswhoingoldandsilver.com.
* Hiroshi Suzuki gives an illustrated talk on his work and life on Tuesday 16 February from 6pm to 7pm; admission free, but please book on 020 7606 7010.

Still Life from Flanders, W11

Gossamer fine baskets are among the work from nine accomplished artists coming to West London's Flow Gallery from 11 February to 18 April. Work also includes contemporary glass, silver, ceramics, fashion accessories, and jewellery; 1-5 Needham Road, W11; 020 7243 0782; www.flowgallery.co.uk.

© Stephen Robsonn
Snowdrop spectaculars: the National Trust

Snowdrops at the National Trust

Spring is coming - yes, really - and this month the National Trust has drifts of snowdrops to prove it. Here are just two snowdrop spectaculars...

Stowe Landscape Gardens, Buckinghamshire
Follow a walk that highlights Stowe's best snowdrops on 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and 27-28 February from 10.30am to 4pm; no booking needed; call 01280 822850.

* For more snowdrop venues, plus ideas to charm the kids at half-term, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

More half-term ideas

Museums and galleries do ever more-imaginative events for children at half-term and during the holidays. First, check out your library, and local authority website. Or go for the big ones: try www.vam.ac.uk; www.britishmuseum.org; www.tate.org.uk; www.sciencemuseum.org.uk; www.nhm.ac.uk.

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