The Frenchman who taught Lowry how to paint matchstick men

The work of Adolphe Valette has been little known, until now, says Jonathan Brown

The Frenchman who taught Lowry how to paint matchstick men

For decades they have hung in the homes of art lovers across northern England, their true value scarcely even guessed at by their owners.

Wind denies town giant heart work on a rope

The residents of Folkestone don't know how close they came to having to live in the shadow of a huge balloon shaped like a human heart, looming over the town centre.

The Wallingers that were just too wacky – even for him

New book reveals the avant-garde artist's works that failed to get off drawing board

Create a work of art that's worth £60,000? There's nothing to it

With its black square surrounding a blank canvas, the British minimalist Bob Law's 1969 work Nothing To Be Afraid Of V, expected to sell this month for £60,000, might seem the ultimate case of artistic daylight robbery. Not according to some art critics, who leapt to Law's defence yesterday.

The comedy of horror

George Condo's unsettling paintings have often been controversial, but two new exhibitions show his work's profundity. By Arifa Akbar

George Condo: The comedy of horror

George Condo's unsettling paintings have often led to accusations of insolence, but two new exhibitions reveal the profundity of his work

Imelda May: 'The 1950s were better in every way, don't you think?'

The experts all told her to ditch the rockabilly music. Now, the singer tells Nick Duerden how she's proved the doubters wrong, why she snubbed the Queen and what the Obamas gave her to keep her sweet

Why painting the Forth Bridge isn't like painting the Forth Bridge any more

When the Forth Bridge opened in Scotland in 1890, its English architects didn't know their pioneering structure would come to stand as a 20th century retelling of the myth of Sisyphus.

Pleasures of the flesh: William Etty's nudes

The lascivious quality of William Etty's nudes has always aroused suspicion. But look beyond the controversy and you'll find skill and warmth, says Adrian Hamilton

Fast forward to the ballet: Degas at the RA

Just how to depict speed and movement became an obsession for artists in the 1870s, says Nina Caplan. For Degas, the answer lay in the intimate world of women and dance

The Last Pre-Raphaelite: Edward Burne-Jones and the Victorian Imagination, By Fiona MacCarthy

Not a lot to like, but plenty to admire

Joan Smith: It's the aristo that was the Bard – or maybe the giant lizard

Poor old William Shakespeare hasn't had much luck in movies. He didn't get his girl in the truly appalling Shakespeare in Love, and now he's about to be accused of not writing his own plays in a new Hollywood film.

Wallonia: A kaleidoscope of sights

Head to Southern Belgium for a huge array of attractions, says Harriet O’Brien
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No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor