Arts and Entertainment East Enders: Whistler’s Wapping, is all about the hectic activity of barges and lighters, as seen from The Angel

American painter James Whilster's Thames depictions are considered ahead of a new exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Art comment: For an eyeful of remarkable art, stick a pin in a map of Britain

Be sure to explore outside the capital too

John Heffernan: 'I came out of Frances Ha completely smitten with Greta Gerwig'

Cultural life: John Heffernan, actor

Theatre & Opera

For richer, for poorer: The Football Match (1949) sold for £5.6m in 2011

Charles Darwent on Lowry and The Painting of Modern Life at Tate Britain: The matchstick men aren’t quite where Lowry left them

L S Lowry turned the working class into a flat-capped mob, always on the move, never getting anywhere

Mather’s refit of the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich

Rick Mather: Architect hailed for his subtle and light-filled renovations of historic buildings

The architect Rick Mather is celebrated for renovations of British museums and galleries that amounted to re-founding them, because with subtlety, refinement and, above all, respect for their traditions and collections, he made historic spaces work as modern institutions. His great imaginative gift was to take a dark or enclosed space and let in light and air.

Portrait of a Lady: the life and passions of Lady Barber, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham

This is one of those good/bad exhibitions – good in so far as it tells us an interesting story about the foundation of an important institute of fine arts in Birmingham eighty years ago within the precincts of the university; bad in so far as a fair number of the works on display here – notably the paintings of Lady Barber herself - are of an indifferent quality. Not the lace and the tapestries though.

'Alençon' 1823

Cotman in Normandy, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

A much-loved British watercolourist paved the way with his daring, continental tendencies

Twombly and Poussin: Every picture tells a story

There are narratives in abstract art just as in figurative painting – and a show on Twombly and Poussin aims to prove it.

A home fit for a genius: Sir John Soane's Museum

The restoration of Sir John Soane's Museum offers an enticing new view of one of the world's most sumptuous architectural treats, says Jay Merrick

Norman Rockwell's America, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London

An artist so lacking in message he makes apple pie and picket fences look loaded

Chart the New Year with a Masterpiece a month

Stuck for interesting ways to welcome in the New Year? Well, to celebrate its bicentenary Dulwich Picture Gallery will unveil a borrowed masterpiece every month until the end of 2011.

Tom Sutcliffe: Coldcocked by received opinion

The week in culture

Norman Rockwell: An artisan, not an artist

A new exhibition of Rockwell's illustrations shows he was a skilled oil painter, but his relentless optimism soon starts to grate, says Adrian Hamilton
Career Services

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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
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
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there