Arts and Entertainment The V&A says it has discovered a previously unknown oil sketch by John Constable tucked beneath the lining of another work

Restorers uncovered the artwork while renovating a major painting

Punch & Judy: 350 years of hard-hitting entertainment

When Samuel Pepys came across a captivated crowd watching the street performance of an anarchic little puppet called Punchinello and his beleaguered wife Joan, the diarist chronicled the event in his diary, dated 9 May 1662.

Back to school, but design for children has never been better

We might think that children today have a more cosseted, less imaginative, increasingly restrictive childhood, and that their school life is going to pot, but it’s not like we don't have good reason. Indeed, if it’s not parents being threatened by social services for letting their children cycle to school alone, or the banning of charity home-baked cake days in Scotland for fear of obesity amongst children, then it’s the worry that A Level and GCSE results are getting better each year - not because children are getting smarter, but because teaching has become less imaginative and more focused on how to pass an exam, rather than on how to think creatively and independently.

Don’t put a price on our national treasures

Cultural institutions are not businesses and should stop selling off Britain’s valuable artworks, says Tiffany Jenkins

V&A hopes to leave the past behind as it plans extension

Six years after the fiasco of its last attempt to build a new wing, the museum is trying again

1:1 Architects Build Small Spaces, V&A, London

We define our lives by the way we regard and respond to the spaces we inhabit. This summer the Victoria & Albert Museum is showing – scattered willy-nilly – seven small, newly commissioned, purpose-built structures by architectural practices from across the world.

Unhappy days are here again

As Britain faces up to a new era of austerity, Paul Barker looks back on photographs he commissioned in an earlier age of recession and protest

What's so bad about boys?

Ursula Hirschkorn is the proud mother of four sons. Yet friends regard her Barbie-free family with pity. No wonder today's males feel undervalued, she argues

Carola Long: 'Satin dresses and beaded bags became the de facto wedding uniform'

I've never actually seen a wedding invite where the dress code stipulates that "ladies" should wear lurid satin dresses from Coast and feathery fascinators (below) resembling a dead pigeon with a blue rinse, but you can't throw a bouquet at a wedding without hitting these looks. Somewhere along the line, together with fussy beaded bags, pashminas, cropped boleros and satin Wag shoes, they became the de facto wedding uniform. However, just because weddings are essentially conventional, it doesn't mean that what we wear to them has to be. This look is about as dated as agreeing to obey.

It's time that museums stopped cramping our style

Fashion exhibitions don't have to be in stuffy glass cases, says Harriet Walker. Clothes can be living, dynamic creations, too

Grace Kelly: Style Icon, V&A, London

The film star's crisp silhouette and little black dresses give way to gaudy Marie Antoinette confections

Scour museum gift shops for divine designs

They may not be the first place you think to look while shopping for the best in contemporary design, but – as these original and quirky pieces show – museum shops are about much more than postcards and erasers

Claude Blair: Authority on arms and armour who campaigned for the Victoria and Albert Museum in a time of crisis

Claude Blair was not only a world authority on arms and armour. He revelled in the subject, and to the end of his life travelled widely in pursuit of new understanding, but he was also a doughty fighter for causes close to his heart.

48 Hours In: Cape Town

With Table Mountain providing a spectacular backdrop, Harriet O'Brien soaks up the culture and glamour of South Africa's coastal gem before it gets swamped by football fever

Ron Arad: Curve your enthusiasm

His designs are both edgy and sophisticated. Caroline Roux looks forward to the unveiling of Ron Arad's Design Museum in Israel and a major retrospective at the Barbican

The Gillrays that were too rude for the Victorians

Cartoons that fell foul of 19th-century censors are put on display
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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