Arts and Entertainment

A renowned sculptor and architect, both from Britain, were among the five artists to receive the prestigious Praemium Imperiale award, dubbed the “Japanese Nobel,” which comes with a cheque for £100,000.

Boyd says: 'My study is a complete shambles of a room with 2,000 stacked books... It's chaotic but I can find anything I need in two minutes'

One Minute With: William Boyd, novelist

Where are you now and what can you see?

The guidebook: Insight Guides’ Select series has four new editions: Marrakech, Paris, Chicago and Shanghai, all bound in patterned linen. £9.99 each. Go to Insightguides.com

Tips and deals of the week: Insight Guides, Milli Millu and Radisson Edwardian

The Guidebook

Insight Guides' Select series has four new editions: Marrakech, Paris, Chicago and Shanghai, all bound in patterned linen. £9.99 each.

Go to Insightguides.com

On top of the world: 'Mappa 1994' by Alighiero Boetti, whose work influenced artists such as Damien Hirst

A shaman and showman who had it all mapped out

Arifa Akbar looks forward to Tate Modern's retrospective of the Italian artist Alighiero Boetti

On top of the world: 'Mappa 1994' by Alighiero Boetti, whose work influenced artists such as Damien Hirst

Alighiero Boetti: An early Damien Hirst who had it all mapped out

Arifa Akbar looks forward to Tate Modern's retrospective of Italian artist Alighiero Boetti

Reasons to be cheerful: David Hockney with 'The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate, East Yorkshire in 2011'

Tom Sutcliffe: Happiness hides the bigger picture

The week in culture

Damien Hirst's 'Myristyl Acetate' from The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011 at the Gagosian Gallery in New York

Still dotty about Damien Hirst

As Damien Hirst's Spot Paintings go on display at 11 Gagosian galleries worldwide, Adrian Hamilton visits the two London shows and finds real pleasure in their playfulness

Philip Hensher: Genius is just a matter of taste

Hockney is a fascinating but quirky artist. Some will think his show is horrible
Nude Woman in a Red Armchair, by Picasso

Heads Up: Picasso & Modern British Art

How the master of Modernism taught the Brits a lesson

The Thames at Low Tide, by Michael Andrews

Sticking to their guns

While others turned to abstraction after 1945, British painters clung to their figurative instincts. It was a polite but powerful art, says Adrian Hamilton

The Thames at Low Tide, by Michael Andrews

Post-war artists who stuck to their guns

While others turned to abstraction after 1945, British painters maintained their figurative instincts. It was a polite but powerful art

Minae Kim, A Structure to Maintain the Correct Distance between Two Pillars, 2010

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London

There may be a future Turner prize recipient in this indifferent show for up-and-coming artists – but it would be the devil's own job to pick them

Famous faces at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition

A raft of famous faces from the Queen’s to Boris Johnson and Michael Sheen’s feature in this year's Royal Society of Portrait Painters annual exhibition.

London Original Print Fair 2011 - in pictures

Etchings by Canaletto, engravings by Hogarth and prints by David Hockney can all be procured at the London Original Print Fair 2011 which opens its doors today.

Celia Birtwell: How soft furnishings differ from fashion

The difference between designing for the home and for fashion is enormous,’ Celia Birtwell told me in an exclusive interview. ‘Fashion moves so fast and is so demanding that there is little time to rest and take stock. 'Home' has longevity.’ Five decades on, textile designer Birtwell is back at the forefront of both the fashion and the interior industries. This autumn, she launches an online shop, and a home collection including readymade curtains, bed linen and a retro oilcloth for John Lewis.

A sucker for succulents: See them through the frost, and you'll have Californian sunshine all year round

My grandma sounded very pleased on the phone earlier; she'd just persuaded my uncle to come round and collect her plants. Not all of them. Just the precious collection of succulent plants that sit in pots on her balcony – they are off to spend the cold spell in his greenhouse. Succulents are desert plants that survive in the wild by filling their leaves with stored water – a reservoir that makes them prone to frost damage when the temperature goes down. Which it does, every so often, in the non-deserts of mid-Oxfordshire.

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Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all