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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Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
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Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own