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

Dear Miss, I want to run the V&A. Yours, Roy Strong (18)

Archive reveals remarkable letter that forecast a student's future. Paul Bignell reports

Subtle changes at the V&A make a world of difference

A £31m revamp of 10 of its galleries has done wonders for the V&A, says Michael Glover

Observations: New Renaissance at the V&A

The V&A's new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, which take up a whole wing of the museum, will finally open on 2 December. Featuring the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, the Becket Casket, thought to have contained his relics, and dramatic Italian sculptures by Donatello, as well as Gothic altarpieces and 13th-century French stained glass windows this is the V&A's most extravagant project since the British Galleries opened in 2001. It has cost 30m.

London Independent Photography celebrates the capital's finest snappers

Eye-catching images from both amateur and professional photographers alike are currently being showcased at London Independent Photography’s 21st Annual Exhibition, which opened on Monday, and runs until the 31 October. The work represents the best in show from the LIP’s membership.

Maharaja: The Splendour of India's Royal Courts, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

A taste for luxury was not merely a perk but a duty for Indian kings, patrons of artists and craftsmen

Tom Sutcliffe: How to bring death to life

You wait for years for a good corpse-sniffing description to come along and then two arrive at once. Just one would have startled me, frankly, and did.... when Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs has one of its characters, at the funeral service for a close relative, climb into the coffin in her grief. "I curled in against him", Moore writes, "...panting shallowly, as I hardly dared to breathe, dreading some stench or other. But one had to breathe. His smell at first seemed a chemical one, like the field fertilizer used by the agribiz farms. Field fertilizer! You could not make up stuff like that!" To be frank, Moore lost me when she had the character close the lid and travel with the body in the back of the hearse all the way to the cemetery. You have to make up stuff like that. But there was something piercingly true about that brief fear of the wrong odour, and its sense of the mixed feelings that the body of a loved person can generate. And then, just casually browsing through Kelly Link's collection of stories Pretty Monsters, I came across this – in a story about a young boy whose girlfriend Bethany has died suddenly. Somewhat self-consciously (he thinks of himself as a poet in the making) he makes his last farewells at the funeral parlour: "He bent over and kissed Bethany's forehead, breathing in. She smelled like a new car." So, field fertilizer or new car? I'd like to be able to adjudicate for you – but on the only occasion I've bent over a coffin myself I didn't breathe in, for exactly the same reasons that Moore's character tried not to.

India's royal riches: The maharajas' opulent lifestyle

Rolls-Royces, jewelled swords and couture saris – the V&A's majestic exhibition reveals the opulent lifestyle of the maharajas.

Party Of The Week: V&A reveals the fine art of a good party

Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine turned up on Monday night to look at the wild and wacky designs of the V&A's latest exhibition, Telling Tales. She looked nearly as good as the fantastical Design Art itself, dressed in a gun-metal-grey-layered dress of silk and sequins, with an adder and scrollwork on the front of it, designed by Richard Sorger.

V&A: Strange objects of desire

An eerie exhibition of limited-edition art and design at the V&A owes its inspiration to the worlds of fantasy and fairytales. Charlotte Cripps reports

My Secret Life: Lulu Guinness

The home I grew up in ... was a lovely house in Hampshire, down a lane, next to a church. I didn't spend too much time there as I went to boarding school at the age of nine.

Instant karma: The V&A's Buddhist Gallery

You don't have to share religious belief to appreciate art. The V&A's new gallery is more than a spiritual experience, says Tom Lubbock

Cos&#236; fan tutte, Theatre Royal, Glasgow<br>English Concert/I Fagiolini, Victoria and Albert Museum, London<br>Songs of Wars I Have Seen, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Scottish Opera's take on Mozart's tale of female fickleness (and male foolishness) is sexy and alluring
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