Hampstead Blooms Not that you need any excuse to, but Venetia Norris's exhibition, at Fenton House , Hampstead (Map 23), offlower drawings inspired by the National Trust building's ex- quisite gardens, makes a pretty good one, her complex, crisply drawn, arrangements offlowers echoing the handsome Dutch 17th C. paintings elsewhere in the house while, at the same time, remaining unmistakably contem- porary in feeling. I really can't think ofanywhere I'd rather be on a beautiful May morning . . . The Man Who . . . . . . Has been somewhat over- looked as a truly revolutionary figure in the history of 20th C. British cartooning, H.M. Bateman, is finally getting his due reward this spring with two shows that acknowledge his rich and com- plex genius. The first, at the Car- toon Museum (Map 24), is a really major show which, with 120 ofhis original cartoons, reveals Bateman as The Man Who , in the words ofthe late Ronald Searle, became “the great visible master ofhis day.” From the young 21 year old who suddenly “went mad on paper” (his words) and saw that cartoons need no longer re- main simply illustrated jokes but were far more successful when they derived their humour from the dynamics ofthe drawing itself, Bateman became the satirist of social mores from the Edwardian era through to the late 1930s. Though his reputation waned somewhat after the war, his influ- ence remained profound on both sides ofthe Atlantic; in this country, Ralph Steadman and Ronald Searle, and in America, the early ‘New Yorker’ artists have all recognised his genius. That wasn’t the end ofthe H.M. Bateman story however, as a rev- ealing parallel exhibition at Abbot and Holder (Map 24) makes plain. Friendships formed with painters such as George Clausen, Lucien Pissarro and Philip Con- nard at the London Sketch Club, had fostered a desire to paint seriously and, post-war, he made regular painting trips in Europe. In 1964 he really found his land- scape on the islands ofMalta and Gozo and, over the next 6 years, sketched and painted them fu- riously before he died in 1970, walking on the road in Mgarr. Hitherto largely unseen and un- known, research by his grand- daughter, the painter Lucy Willis, has revealed the remarkable, and quite delightful, treasure trove of his paintings and drawings of these islands that make up this show. And, it’s nice to report, the Maltese and Goritzians have so taken him to their hearts they have recently issued a series ofcomm- emorative stamps in his honour. And finally, as a coda to this nicest ofstories, Lucy Willis is also having a show this month of her own Maltese, Goritzian and Syrian townscapes at the Curwen Galleries (Map 24). ANTENNAE 10. GALLERIES MAY 12 May Fest The art fair season is really under- way this month and early next. As well as our picture-spread dedi- cated to some of the galleries and work you will find at the Affor- dable Art Fair in Bristol from 18- 20 May (p26-27 & Map 13), here are two more, both of them, inter- estingly, artist rather than dealer led fairs (a trend?) – the Animal Art Fair (17-20 May, Map 31) and the Untitled Artists’ Fair (1-3 June, Map 21). The first, better known by its acronym TAAF, has moved from its former home in Fulham Palace and brings to- gether 40 of the country’s most distinguished animal artists in the new (for them) and rather bigger and more central environment of the Royal Festival Hall. Now in its third year the fair really seems to be gaining momentum – they are even organising a small sculpture garden on the Riverside Walkway. Lovers of animal art should also note ‘Wildlife Artist of the Year’ (in support of David Shepherd Wild- life Foundation field projects) at the Mall Galleries (Map 30) from 21-26 May. The Untitled Art Fair, still in its same home at Chelsea Old Town Hall, isn’t exactly short of ex- hibitors either, 170 of them to be precise, no less attracted by the prospect (as are the punters of course) of being able to show, and hopefully, sell direct with no middlemen, commissions nor premiums. Both highly recom- mended . . .